| Michael Gregson |
|Died|| 8th-9th November, 1923|
|Residence||Flat, London, England|
|Military career||World War I veteran|
|Family|| Lizzy Gregson (wife)|
Marigold (daughter; by Edith Crawley)
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||Charles Edwards|
Michael Gregson (d. 8th - 9th November, 1923) was an editor and publisher for The Sketch, a society magazine based in London. He was the employer and lover of Lady Edith Crawley, and the father of her daughter, Marigold.
Michael traveled to Germany in order to attain German citizenship to take advantage of their divorce laws so that he could marry Edith. However, he was caught up in the Bierkeller Putsch, and was killed by Hitler's brownshirts. His remains were only found in late 1924.
Michael wrote to Edith at least twice offering to give her her own column in his magazine sometime after a letter of hers promoting women's rights was published in a newspaper. Many in her family approved and encouraged her to accept, except her father, thinking Gregson just wanted to take advantage of her name and position.
An attraction develops between Michael and Edith. He flirts with her, and encourages her to speak her mind and make her own choices, insisting he is delighted to see a woman doing so. But he is already married. Edith is repulsed when she finds out and confronts him, insisting on handing in her resignation. He explains the situation to her: he loved his wife, Lizzy, very much, and that she was a wonderful person, but she has been in an asylum for years and no longer knows him. He professes that it took him a long time to accept she was "gone" and "wouldn't be coming back." He cannot divorce her because she cannot be held responsible for simply being a lunatic; she is neither guilty or innocent. He tells Edith that she cannot imagine how much it cheers him to read her column, and to meet her when they do. He expresses to her his hope that she will stay on, which she does.Before the Crawley family leaves for Scotland in September 1921, Edith learns that Michael is taking a sketching and fishing holiday not far from Duneagle Castle at the same time. Mary immediately becomes suspicous of him. Edith and Michael then meet when he is invited to dinner at Duneagle, after Cora expresses her desire to meet him despite Robert's reservations. When Edith asks him the true reason why he came up to Scotland, he reveals he wants to get to know her family. He professes his love for her, his wish for her to be in his life and for himself to be in hers. He hoped if her family got to know him, it would be easier for them to be on his side. But she tells him she cannot see a happy ending with him, which visibly hurts him.
Matthew invites Michael to accompany him to deer stalking and later fly fishing. Their conversations convince him of Gregson's deep love and honesty towards Edith. Michael, like Matthew, is a veteran of the Great War. Matthew tells Mary about his impression, but this does not sway her opinion of him. Both predict Gregson will propose. However, while fishing with Matthew, Michael reveals the secret of his insane wife and his inability to divorce her, revealing how upset and angry he is that the law cannot let him divorce. Matthew draws the line, finding the prospects of Michael's future liaison with Edith socially unacceptable. He effectively instructs him to put an end to his courtship and say good-bye to his sister-in-law. But when he does, Edith then reveals that it is not their last evening, that she does in fact love him. He seemingly happily consents, and they go dance together.
Michael reunites with Edith at King's Cross for the first time since the family's holiday in Scotland, as she and the rest of her family had been in mourning for Matthew. They spend a great deal of time together in London. They attend parties (at one of which author Virginia Woolf attends), and later have some time alone with one another in Michael's flat. He almost shares his first kiss with her at a party, but they are interrupted. Later they do kiss when they dine at the Criterion. When Mary and Robert discuss Edith's trips to London to see Michael, Mary says of him that he's "not bad-looking, and he's still alive, which puts him two points ahead of most men of our generation", referring to the fact that so many men hers and Edith's age were killed during the war.Michael, determined to find a way to marry Edith, has been doing research since Scotland. He tells her he has learned that in some other countries, including Greece, Portugal, and even Germany, lunacy is grounds for divorce. He decides to change his citizenship to German (which he learns will enable him to divorce Lizzy) in spite of widespread prejudice in Britain against the Germans. When she questions him about how people will respond to his actions, he assures her he does not care what they think, as long as he has her love.
Despite initial reservations that his situation would "frighten" Edith's family, he is also keen to earn her father's approval if he is to have a future with her. She herself is in love with him more than ever and also eager for her family to accept him even more. She cites that her mother likes him, and is certain her father will when he gets to know him. Michael does come to dine at Downton Abbey but Robert makes every attempt to avoid him, feeling his daughter could do better. Eventually, Michael does in fact begin to earn Lord Grantham's respect after saving him (in addition to Lord Gillingham and John Bullock) from a fix by Terence Sampson, to the point where he shakes Michael's hand the following morning. Edith then insists Michael return the IOU for the rest of the money he got from Sampson, which he does for her, but not him.a
Edith visits Michael again when he prepares to leave for Munich in a week in order to finalize his change of citizenship. He mentions a thought at maybe writing a novel while he is there, as he always fancied himself a novelist. But he does not say what his novel would be about. Michael has Edith sign a legal document giving her more control over his own assets while he is away, which includes power of attorney. He has also sent his help home. He and Edith start kissing passionately. They spend the night together.
Unfortunately, once he leaves he does not contact Edith for a long time, and she begins to worry. Cora suspects he is busy. But it becomes apparent no one has heard from Michael, and no one has any idea where he has gone. The last time he was seen was when he went out for a walk at night after checking into his hotel in Munich. He did not return. His firm hires a private detective, but even they cannot find him. Edith's worries only worsen. Cora is certain they would have heard if something terrible had happened. Robert also expresses certainty that Michael is all right. Edith unfortunately becomes even more worried when she learns she is carrying Michael's child. But nevertheless her love for him does not wane.
By the summer of 1923, Michael has still not been found, but Edith has learned that Michael "got into a fight with a gang of toughs" (he took a stand against things they were saying) on his first night in Munich, and goes on to say that they were quite well known and wore brown shirts.b She has given birth to his daughter, who was given up for adoption in Geneva. But Edith, knowing that Michael has given her power of attorney and that she might inherit everything he has if he is confirmed dead, feels she must give something to the child. She also decides to go back and reclaim the child, then have her raised on a farm near Downton by Tim Drewe. Also, according to Sampson, many people have heard about Gregson's disappearance and that it is quite a mystery.
Unbeknownst to everyone, Gregson has died in the Bierkeller Putsch, though most of the Crawleys suspect he is definitely dead.
By 1924, Michael still has not been found. His and Edith's daughter Marigold is being raised by the Drewe family, but Edith is finding it difficult to be away from her. Mrs Hughes discovers a misplaced German primer book among the others with Gregson's signature in the leaf fly. She at first considers giving it to Lady Grantham, but instead brings it directly to Edith, who asks her to leave it in her bedroom. Unfortunately, in her grief one night she throws the book too close to the fireplace, starting a fire upstairs which is put out before any significant damage is done.
Robert later mentions to Cora that in all likelihood Gregson is dead. He even refers to him as Edith's "beloved". After some time, Edith learns that Gregson has indeed died, and has been dead for some time. Michael died in Germany after going there to take advantage of their divorce laws so that he could marry Edith. He was killed by Hitler's brownshirts, a fact that was not ascertained until some time after his death. Edith inherited Gregson's publishing company, a fact which makes Robert remark they loved each other.
When Edith accompanies Rose, Tom, and Mary on a luncheon before Rose's wedding, it is at the Rules, very same restaurant where Edith had her first date with Michael. By this time, Cora has arranged for Edith to raise Marigold at Downton, and Robert figures out Marigold is Edith's daughter when he repeatedly sees a striking resemblance between her and Gregson. But he agrees to keep the secret at Cora's request and believes he will learn to love his granddaughter.
|Appearances and Mentions|
|Series 3||Episode 1||Episode 2||Episode 3||Episode 4||Episode 5||Episode 6||Episode 7|
|Series 4||Episode 1|
|Series 5||Episode 1|
|Episode 3||Episode 4|
|Episode 5||Episode 6|
- "Surely the most important thing is whether or not people have something to say." - to Lord Grantham.
- "I'd become an Eskimo if it meant I could marry you." - to Edith.
Behind the scenes Edit
- The Sketch was a real high society magazine in Great Britain which ran from 1893 until 1959. In the real world, the editor of the magazine was Bruce Ingram (from 1905 to 1946).
- In an interview in March 2014 Edwards said he did not know (at that time) if his character would return, but that Gregson would want to see his and Edith's child if he did.
- a The scene including the return of Sampson's IOU does not appear in the original ITV (UK) broadcast, but is included when broadcast by PBS (US).
- b This is probably a reference to the SA or Sturmabteilung.
- It is possible that Michael had no living relatives to take in Marigold following his death (as was the case with Charlie Parks and his grandparents). However this has not been confirmed.
External Links Edit
- Charles Edwards Twinterview at Storify
- Charles Edwards on Downton Abbey Buzz, His J-Law Moment & Learning From Angela Lansbury in London's Blithe Spirit at Broadway.com
- ↑ The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, Bierkeller Putsch and, in German, as the Hitlerputsch or Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch, was a failed attempt by the Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler with Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund leaders to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, during 8–9 November 1923. According to Robert, Gregson was involved in it and died during the event.
- ↑ Divorce law in England 1857-1937
- ↑ Episode 5.06.