RIP Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) — devoted husband of Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) and father of George Crawley, the couple’s son. Matthew died in a tragic car accident in the fall of 1920. Yeah, can we not talk about Downton Abbey’s Season 3 finale? We’re still pretty bitter about that one.
Still, why dwell on the painful memories? We prefer to remember Matthew as he once was: Determined, lovestruck, and intent on leaving the world a better place than he found it.
A middle class everyman with a strong work ethic and unwavering moral convictions, Matthew Crawley couldn’t have felt more out of place at Downton Abbey. When he first arrived to his new home, the young lawyer despised the opulence, wealth and frivolity he found there. But like it or not, Matthew was the heir of Downton, and had to learn to adjust to life as such.
Upon arriving at Downton, Matthew almost instantly developed feelings for his cousin Mary... though her feelings, admittedly, took a bit longer to develop. And before you get too grossed out, Mary’s father is Matthew’s third cousin, once removed. So their relationship isn’t that weird.
During an World War I battlefield explosion, Matthew was paralyzed from the waist down. While many feared the injury was permanent, Matthew eventually gained back full motion. He almost married a young woman from London named Lavinia Swire (Zoe Boyle), but she died tragically in a Spanish flu outbreak.
Matthew and Mary wed in 1920 — at the beginning of Season 3 — and they welcomed their young son in September 1921, the same day Matthew died in his car crash. He was 36 years old.
Mary was introduced in Season 1, Episode 1: "April 1912."