Downton Abbey: How Old Are the Characters and the Actors Who Play Them?
Time’s a funny thing on Downton Abbey. Sometimes one year seems to stretch for a decade and other times, six months go by in the flash of an eye.
That said, it’s understandable we’ve missed a few birthdays in the show’s four seasons (except yours, Lord Grantham! We just celebrated that one). To try and get up to speed, we did a little sleuthing to see if we couldn’t track down the ages of Downton’s most beloved characters and the ages of those who portray them onscreen (that last part, obviously, made for a much easier endeavor).
Enjoy the fruits of our labor below and remember to address all birthday cards for the Dowager to “Her Most Beautiful On High.”
Born in 1891, Lady Mary was a fresh-faced 20-something when the show began in April 1912. Now, a decade later, she’s older and wiser at age 31. That’s fairly close to the age of the actress who plays her; Michelle Dockery just turned 32 on December 15.
With a birthday just a year after Mary’s, Edith would celebrate her 30th birthday during Season 4. 1922 has already proved to be a big year for her, milestone birthday aside. As for actress Laura Carmichael, she’s equally mysterious about her age with most outlets putting her at either 27 or 28.
It’s a little hard to pin down Branson’s age since he’s a new addition to the Crawley family with a relatively undiscussed childhood spent in Ireland. Born in either 1889 or 1890, he’s likely just a couple years older than Mary at either 32 or 33 and probably five years older than his dearly departed wife, Sybil. Irish actor Allen Leech falls in about that same range; his 33rd birthday is this May.
Despite her youthful good looks and lighthearted spirit, Anna may be one of the oldest members of the Crawley family’s younger set. Her birth year is 1886, making her 36 in the current season and several years older than the 33-year-old actress, Joanne Froggatt, who brings her to life on camera.
The Dowager Countess
The Dowager Countess’ age is so advanced, we can’t actually find it! But with a little extra effort and some simple arithmetic we think we have a pretty good guess.
See, the Dowager’s son Robert married Cora in 1889; the American heiress was a mere 21 years old at the time, probably the same age the Dowager would have been when she made her own match. Working backwards, we figure Violet was in her 40s at the time of her son’s marriage and so well into her 70s in the current series.
That makes sense since acclaimed actress Maggie Smith just celebrated her 79th birthday last month. And here’s to many more happy years ahead for both of you!
Is there a character you’d like to know more about? Tell us in the comments below!