| Edna Braithwaite |
|Residence||Downton Abbey (formerly)|
|Title(s)||manipulative little witch (by Thomas Barrow)|
|Family||Sick Aunt (questionable)|
|Occupation|| General Maid (formerly)
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||MyAnna Buring|
Edna immediately starts asking questions and making comments about Tom and Sybil, such as him being handsome and that Lady Sybil could have done better, to which Mrs Hughes immediately tells her to mind her place. Unlike the other servants she does not show any respect in talking with Tom and refuses to stand up when he enters the servant´s hall. He seems to be taken aback by her behavior, but responds in a polite way to her forwardness. She even skips work to go see him in the Grantham Arms, after hearing that he would be eating lunch there. She makes him feel guilty about having moved up in the world, going so far as to get him to eat downstairs again and suggests that he drive them to the Thirsk Fair, after urging him to come with them. Meanwhile, Mrs. Hughes is watching her suspicously, especially after Tom begins to feel uneasy about moving upstairs.
She later takes his arm at the Thirsk Fair. At one point Edna enters Tom's room whilst he is changing and impulsively kisses him, after he asks her to leave. She later tells Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson that she had made plans to meet Tom, inappropriately using his first name, when they ask her to do a job that clashes with those plans, asking them if she must do what they asked her to do. After hearing this news, both Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes immediately agree that she has to go. Mrs Hughes does not approve of the way Edna has attempted to pursue Tom and says to Tom that he let Edna made him feel ashamed of his new life. Edna doesn't think she has done anything wrong, insisting she is just as good as him and that there was nothing improper. But Mrs Hughes say that, "there are rules to this way of life and, if you don't intend to abide by them, it is not the life for you." Edna leaves soon after being fired. Tom kindly asks Mrs Hughes to give her a decent reference. She does, though she thinks Edna is not cut out to be a housemaid, having told Tom that "the work would no longer satisfy her. I've seen it before. She'd unsettled the other maids."Rose MacClare for lady's maid for Cora Crawley, Sarah O'Brien having unexpectedly left. She holds her interview in Ripon, and lies about why she left Downton a year earlier, claiming it was her own choice to help a sick relative.
Tom Branson, Carson, and Elsie Hughes are upset that she is back, remembering her unorthodox behavior towards Tom. Unfortunately Mrs Hughes has no choice but to hire her, since Edna did not leave Downton with a bad reference. She, Carson, and Branson resolve to keep an eye on her. Carson insists it would break the hearts of the family if they learned why Edna really left, and suggests that perhaps she has moved on from that. Mrs Hughes on the other hand fears Edna's return is, in her words, a ticking bomb.
Tensions rise between her and Anna Bates, which get the latter in trouble: with help from Thomas Barrow she blames Anna for ruining one of Cora's garments, something she herself had done. Cora tells Robert, despite being surprised Anna would make such a mistake. Robert then confronts Anna's husband, insisting she has been unkind to Edna. Aftewards, Edna earns Mr Bates's suspicion, especially after he sees her laughing.
Even though he tried to keep his distance from her at first, Edna approached Tom Branson on his way to a party at Downton and asks if they can still be friends, to which Tom agrees. He later tells her how uncomfortable he feels in the company of the Crawley's old friends, saying he feels like an idiot. Edna comforts him, causing him to later say he thinks she is the only one who had understood him those two days. Edna then approaches him again when she sees him sitting on his own and gives him a large whiskey, saying that she thinks he needs it. When Tom had gone to bed later that night, Edna sneaks up to his room and went into the room when she found he was still awake. It is presumed that they may have slept together, but what really happend remains unknown.
Following that night of the party, Edna immeidately and relentelessly schemes to get Tom to pledge himself to her, citing the possibility that she might now be pregnant. She tries to make it seem like Tom is the one who was guilty, accusing him of casting her aside and not being a man of honor. She also, to his anger, says that if he was good enough for his late wife then she is good enough for him. But later Thomas Barrow finds her singing and she tells him he should be happy he is in good favor with her.
Mrs Hughes, after hearing about the whole thing from Tom, goes through Edna's things and finds a book on how to avoid getting pregnant. Mrs Hughes then summons Edna to her office, with Tom present. Edna believes Tom and Mrs Hughes are going to try to buy her off, but she insists she will accept nothing they can offer because she wants her child, if she is going to have one, to grow up with a father.
But Mrs Hughes tells her there will be no offer because there is no child. When Edna insists no one can know whether or not she is pregnant, Mrs Hughes presents the evidence of Edna's scheme. She asks him if he really thinks Edna would have let herself get pregnant before she was sure she could have him, since she knew how to prevent it, or why else would she have bought that particular book. Furthermore, she insists, once Edna got what she wanted, namely Tom agreeing to marry her, then she would have made sure she got pregnant. Mrs Hughes admits she does not know whom Edna would have selected as a father, but is certain she had a canidate in mind.
Edna is upset that Mrs Hughes has gone through her things. She tries to stand her ground, insisting Mrs Hughes could not prove anything. But Mrs Hughes stands her ground equally, threatening to summon a doctor to examine her if she persits with her lie. Edna says she cannot be forced, to which Mrs Hughes replies she'd lock Edna up and then hold her down and strip her if that is what it took. Finally, Edna says she cannot be stopped from speaking to her ladyship. Mrs Hughes admits that is true, but if Edna wants a reference or another job during her natural lifetime she will remain quiet.
Defeated, Edna leaves right away. Mrs Hughes remarks, "We were mad as hatters to let her back in the house." Edna later runs into Thomas, calling him sly, oily, and smug. Thomas then calls her a "manipulative little witch." She runs off.
The family learns nothing of Edna's reason for leaving, hearing only that it has to do with family reasons.
- Actress MyAnna Buring did not think she would be returning after the Series 3 Christmas Special, but was delighted to.
- She describes Edna as dreaming of a life above her station, about a life of being waited on rather than watiting on others. She also felt Edna fantasized about Tom in sort of a romantic way in the Christmas Special, but not so in Series 4.
- ↑ DailyMail.co.uk, A racy new maid, another shock for Lady Edith and simmering tension between Matthew and Lady Mary. Hold on to your hats as Downton decamps to Scotland By Nicole Lampert, PUBLISHED: 17:31 EST, 21 December 2012 | UPDATED: 17:59 EST, 21 December 2012; excerpt: "New maid Edna takes a shine to Branson but who wouldn't?"