| Laurence Grey |
Cavenham Park, Yorkshire (formerly)
The Honourable Laurence Grey
|Family|| Lord Merton (father)|
Ada Grey, Lady Merton (mother) †
Tim Grey (younger brother)
|Loyalty|| Grey family|
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||Charlie Anson|
The Honourable Laurence "Larry" Grey is the elder son of Lord Merton.
Little is known of Larry's early life, but his father says that he and his younger brother, Tim, take after their mother "in every possible way" - suggesting he was very close to his mother.
Larry knew the Crawley sisters since he was young, his father being godfather to the eldest, Mary. He also was once keen on the youngest Crawley sister, Sybil, though Sybil said she did not think she was as keen on him and she really couldn't remember.
Larry is also the heir to his father and will, on his death, become the next Baron Merton. His father mentions to Isobel Crawley in 1922 that Larry works in banking.
Larry and his family are invited for a dinner at Downton Abbey, as his father is godfather to Lady Mary Crawley, who is going to be married to her cousin and father's heir Matthew.
Larry is very jealous of Sybil's marriage to Tom Branson, and is rude when talking to him. He says he is surprised to be meeting Tom, as he thought that Sybil, having married him, would never come back to Downton. He drugs Tom's drink just before dinner which makes Tom appear intoxicated, voicing his views on Irish repression and making everyone, including Sybil, upset. Larry alone is amused; when Mary notices this, he tells her that he is enjoying a "vivid display of Irish character".
Fortunately, Sir Anthony Strallan saw what Larry had done. Larry at first denied knowing what Strallan meant when he accused him of causing Tom's behavior, but, after Strallan openly accused him of drugging Tom's drink and Edith said it was "a beastly thing to do", Grey as good as confessed by telling Edith that she "could always take a joke". Mary called his words "a bully's defense" and revealed the truth to everyone at the table.1
Larry felt no remorse for what he had done, and could not understand why everyone else was getting "hot under the collar" because Tom, in his opinion, was "only a grubbly little chauffeur chap" (not one of society's uppercrust like the rest of them). At this, his father, Matthew, and Lord Grantham stood in anger, his father shouting, "Be silent this instant sir!" Lord Merton then apologizes to Tom for Larry's actions, and hopes that he will have recovered in time for the wedding. At this point, Matthew, in a show of support, announces that he intends to make Tom his best man.
Tom is forgiven by the Crawleys, who know his behavior was not his fault. Cora announces to everyone that Tom was the victim of a cruel prank, therefore not responsible for his words, and she expects everyone to kindly forget. The Dowager says that to forgive was one thing, but forgetting was unlikely.2
Larry returns to Downton, along with his brother, when his father becomes engaged to Isobel Crawley. Many members of the Crawley family (particularly Mary and Violet) remark on his previous visit beforehand and what he did to Tom. Molesley also mentions to Miss Baxter and Mr Mason that Carson said there was trouble the last time Larry came to Downton. The family express hope that Larry will not cause trouble again. Lord Merton and they decide they will try not to make any reference to the earlier meeting.
Although Larry initially wishes his father and Isobel the best of happiness, he shows his true feelings when he expresses his belief that Isobel will fail as one of the leaders of the county when she "fills" his mother's shoes because she has "neither birth nor fortune". He believes the "wide disparity" in Isobel's and his father's backgrounds will lead to a failure in their marriage, having expressed a similar view in the possible marriage of Rose MacClare and Atticus Aldridge because of their different religious beliefs.
When Robert reminds Larry that Isobel's son was his heir, Larry says "What does that prove? Everyone has distant cousins who are fairly odd." His father asks him to leave the dining room, furious that once again he has to make excuses for Larry's rudeness at Lord Grantham's table. But rather than leave, Larry further insults the Crawley family for what he calls their "eccentric" choices for in-laws (saying "you already boast a chauffeur and soon you can claim a Jew"). Tom then angrily stands up and tells Larry to get out, calling him a bastard. Calmly Larry leaves and waits in the car for the rest of the evening.
Later that year, while the majority of the family is at Brancaster Castle, Larry writes Isobel a letter informing her his feelings towards her and her potential marriage to his father remain unchanged (as his father had asked him and his brother to reconsider their feelings). When his father sees the letter, he tells Isobel that he resents Larry's treatment of her, and that his relationship with his elder son will never be good again.
- Larry's remark to Edith about taking a joke and Mary's response could possibly be that he used to play nasty practical jokes on her when they were children.
- Whether Violet is referring to Tom or Larry about forgiving and forgetting is unknown, but given that she and Isobel forgive Tom the following day and assure him he was not to blame, it is most likely she was referring to Larry.
- As it has now been established that his father's rank is Baron, his official style is The Honourable Laurence Grey.
- Cora mentions in Episode 5.07 that Lord Merton's sons came to Downton from London, so it is possible that this is where Larry lives. However this has not been confirmed.
Behind the Scenes Edit
- Alastair Bruce describes Larry as "frightfully pompous and obviously insecure in many ways."
|Appearances and Mentions|
|Series 3||Episode 1|
|Episode 2||Episode 3||Episode 4||Episode 5||Episode 6||Episode 7||Episode 8||Christmas Special|
|Series 4||Episode 1||Episode 2||Episode 3||Episode 4||Episode 5||Episode 6||Episode 7||Episode 8|
|Series 5||Episode 1|
|Episode 2||Episode 3||Episode 4||Episode 5||Episode 6||Episode 7|