Credit: © Copyright ITV plc 2013

Every episode of Downton Abbey is like a little crash course in social etiquette. Whether the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) is peering down her nose over some breach of protocol or Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) is laying down the lie downstairs, you can be sure the Crawley family and their beloved staff will be upholding the highest degree of decorum.

So imagine our shock upon hearing of the giant social gaff on the horizon for the Season 4 finale, airing in the States on February 23? We’d already learned there would be a slew of special guests during the episode including Cora’s American family, mother Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) and brother Harold (Paul Giamatti). Next came word the whole gang was headed to Buckingham Palace for a royal affair.

While rubbing elbows with the bluest bloods of them all, however, one member of the family makes a major faux pas. Who must the Dowager disown now? No surprise: It’s one of the Americans.

“I go blundering over to the Prince of Wales thinking I’ll just shake his hand,” Paul tells The Telegraph of his character Harold. Of course, the posh Prince is aghast at the breach of protocol. “He blows me off. Hopefully it’s funny. I do a lot of that in this episode.”

Although the episode synopsis teases “a scandal that threatens to engulf the monarchy” we doubt Harold’s brashness is to blame. A more likely contender: the fit Violet throws upon hearing of the shame wrought by those bloody Yanks.

Want all the scoop on the Season 4 finale? We can totally help out with that but watch out, spoilers!

Source: The Telegraph

Elisabeth Kramer is an Assistant Editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident Downton Abbey expert. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!