| Anna May Bates (née Smith) |
|Title(s)|| Mrs. Bates |
Miss Smith (previously)
|Family|| John Bates (husband) |
Mrs. Bates (mother-in-law) †
|Occupation|| Ladies Maid|
Head Housemaid (formerly)
|Loyalty|| John Bates |
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||Joanne Froggatt|
Anna May Bates (née Smith) (b. 1886) was head housemaid at Downton Abbey and is currently lady's maid to Lady Mary Crawley. She is one of the highest-ranking of the female servants in Downton, other than Mrs. Hughes and Miss O'Brien. She was worried that she has missed out on her chance at marriage, however she later married John Bates. She is sweet, kind, and always respectful. Anna is popular both downstairs and upstairs; the servants have a lot of respect for her and she's not afraid of standing up to people like O'Brien.
Anna has a good relationship with the Crawley Family, who respect her, and also has a good relationship with the Crawley sisters Lady Mary, Lady Edith and Lady Sybil, especially with Lady Mary Crawley; for whom she keeps a very large secret: Lady Mary had woken Anna up to tell her that she had a one-night stand with Mr Kemal Pamuk and that she had discovered that Mr Pamuk was dead in her (Lady Mary's) bed. Later on that night she, Lady Mary and Cora Crawley move Mr Pamuk's body back to his own room, to be found the next day. Also, Anna informs Lady Mary that John Bates' first wife Vera Bates has threatened that she will go to the newspapers about the Lady Mary and Mr Pamuk story. Lady Mary went to Sir Richard Carlisle for help. He was able to stop the story being published to save and protect her, the Crawley family, and Anna from ruin. In Episode 8, Anna spoke to Lady Mary about her secret plans to get married to John Bates. Lady Mary told her she will cover for her and she instructed housemaid Jane Moorsum to decorate one of bedrooms for a wedding gift; only she and Jane knew they were married during that time. Anna was truly supported by the Crawley family, fellow co-workers and Lady Mary when her husband was arrested and on trial for murder; Lady Mary supported and stayed with Anna for throughout Bates's trial and its outcome. Anna became aware of and kept quiet before it was announced to the whole Crawley family that Lady Sybil and the Crawley's family chauffeur, Tom Branson are in a romantic relationship. Anna and Lady Mary discover that they're on their away to Gretna Green to get married. She, Lady Mary, and Lady Edith went after the couple. Anna spotted the Crawley's car which was park on the road where Lady Sybil and Branson were staying. Lady Sybil returned back to Downton with them, when she was leaving she told Tom Branson that she will stay true to him.
One night, Anna, and Ladies Mary and Edith, learned from Lady Sybil that Branson has new job and she and Tom were announcing their relationship to the Crawley family. Anna told her it was a very big thing to give up her whole world. After Sybil and Tom's announcement the next day, Anna in the Servants Hall at Downton, saw Mr Branson arriving and politely spoke to him. Daisy briefly over hears Anna and Tom talking. He informs his former co-workers that he and Lady Sybil are getting married, much to their shock and Mr Carson's dismay.
Anna has a special relationship with John Bates. When he first arrived, Anna and Bates became good friends. However, their friendship gradually blossomed into romance, and she later admitted that she loved him. Mr Bates returned her feelings, though he felt uneasy about entering a relationship with her, as he holds his own secrets. When Bates almost loses his position, he tells Anna to "go to sleep and dream of a better man" but she refused. To prove Bates's innocence, Anna goes with Mrs. Patmore to London, where she visits Mr Bates's mother, learning the truth about his prison sentence and thus saving his position. At the beginning of the second series, Mr Bates arrives back at Downton (having being in London after his mother died) and he doesn't waste time before informing her that there is a possibility of a divorce ahead. He asks Anna to marry him. She immediately accepts, and they begin to discuss their future. But when his wife Vera Bates turns up and forces Mr Bates to resign, he is also forced to leave Anna, breaking not only her heart but her dreams. Eventually she learns through Lady Mary (who found out through Sir Richard Carlisle) that Mr Bates has been working in a pub nearby. She visits him and he tells her that that he can now prove that Vera Bates has not been faithful to him. He says he will divorce Vera and come back to Downton very soon, offering Vera more money than the papers will give her. When he returns to Downton as Lord Grantham's valet again by request, she was delighted. By the end of the war, Anna and John discover that his wife Vera Bates was found dead. They got married in secret but they planned to tell everyone after Lavinia Swire's funeral, as only Lady Mary Crawley and housemaid Jane Moorsum knew. After attending Miss Swire's funeral, Anna, as well as Bates, Mrs Hughes and Mr. Carson discover that two officers were waiting for Mr Bates, and saw him being arrested for the murder of Vera Bates. Anna and Mr Bates both declare their feelings for each other before he is taken away by the officers.
Anna is supported by the Crawley family and co-workers while he is in prison, and she visits him and attends his trial, alongside Lady Mary Crawley, Robert Crawley, Isobel Crawley and Matthew Crawley and lawyer George Murray. The prosecution calls Mrs. Hughes, Miss O'Brien, and Lord Grantham as witnesses, to bring up conversations they had with Mr. Bates, or discussions they overheard. The jury found him guilty and sentenced to hang by death, though later on his sentance was commuted to life imprisonment. Anna, the lawyers, Robert and the rest of the Crawley family are still planning to appeal the verdict and to get Bates out of prison.
In 1920, Anna receives constant letters from her husband in prison, which are described as the "highlight of her week." Towards the end of the series, she is promoted to Mary's lady's maid. Mary remarks that she still calls her Anna, since she "can't very well call her Bates" after Edith remarks she misses Anna and mentions a new maid, further indicating how much the sisters respect her. Anna's determination to free her husband finally pays off. After much searching, she meets Vera's friend Audrey and finds evidence that clears the charges against her husband. She is there when he is released, and they greet one another lovingly. They move into a small cottage together, and start painting. It is done by the time O'Brien pays them a visit. She insists Thomas must go and cannot understand why her husband helps him. In the end, she asks Bates what it was that helped convince O'Brien to stop trying to ruin Thomas, and is told of "her ladyship's soap."
When she goes to Scotland she comforts Lady Rose MacClare and takes a picnic with her husband. She calls herself racy when her husband says so, then asks her what she is up to. She insists nothing. They both laugh happily. It is revealed Rose is teaching her how to dance, which she reveals to have done well. Mary and Bates are amazed at Anna's dancing, and agree that she is marvelous.
- "I'd rather work to get you free than dine with the king at Buckingham Palace." - to her husband.
- "What I see is a good man my lady. They're not like buses. There won't be another one in ten minutes' time." - to Mary about Matthew.
Behind the scenes Edit
- Anna is played by actress Joanne Froggatt in the Downton Abbey television series.
- Anna's full name, before marriage, is mentioned as "Anna May Smith". After she's married, her name changed to "Anna May Bates."