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Robert Crawley
Earl of Grantham
Viscount Downton
111
Biographical information
Born 1866 (age 59)
Marital status Married to Cora Crawley née Levinson, Countess of Grantham
Residence Downton, Yorkshire
Title(s) Earl of Grantham
Viscount Downton (before 1890)
Lord Grantham
His Lordship
Your Lordship
My Lord
Milord
Papa
Robert
Darling (by Mary)
Darling Papa (by Mary)
My darling (by Cora)
My dear (by Violet)
Cousin Robert
Our local milord (by Sarah Bunting)
Donk (by Sybbie, George, and Marigold)
Military career Lord Lieutenant
Colonel of the North Riding Volunteers
Physical information
Gender Male
Height 6'2" (1,88 m)
Hair colour Brown (greying)
Eye colour Blue
Family information
Immediate Cora Crawley (wife)
Mary Talbot (daughter)
Edith Pelham (daughter)
Sybil Branson (daughter) †
Violet Crawley (mother)
Patrick Crawley (father) †
Rosamund Painswick (sister)
Extended
Marmaduke Painswick (brother-in-law) †
Isidore Levinson (father-in-law) †
Martha Levinson (mother-in-law)
Harold Levinson (brother-in-law)
James Crawley (paternal first cousin) †
Patrick Crawley (paternal first cousin once removed) †
Reginald Crawley (paternal third cousin) †
Matthew Crawley (paternal third cousin once removed/son-in-law) †
Isobel Grey (paternal third cousin-in-law once removed by Isobel's first marriage)
Tom Branson (son-in-law)
Henry Talbot (son-in-law)
Herbert Pelham (son-in-law)
Sybbie Branson (granddaughter)
George Crawley (grandson)
Marigold (granddaughter)
Susan MacClare (maternal first cousin)
Hugh MacClare (maternal first cousin-in-law)
Rose Aldridge (maternal first cousin once removed)
Atticus Aldridge (maternal first cousin-in-law once removed)
Victoria Rachel Cora Aldridge (maternal first cousin twice removed)
Roberta (aunt; maternal or paternal)
Affiliation
Loyalty Downton Abbey
Crawley family
Charles Carson
John Bates
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Hugh Bonneville
"If we don't respect the past, we'll find it harder to build a future."
—Robert Crawley[src]

Robert Crawley, the 7th Earl of Grantham and the Viscount Downton; simply addressed as Lord Grantham, (b.1866[1]) is the patriarch of the Crawley family and the co-owner of Downton Abbey (along with his eldest daughter). He is the son of the 6th Earl of Grantham and Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham and the brother of Lady Rosamund Painswick. He also fought in the South African Wars with John Bates .

He married American heiress Cora Levinson in 1890 in order to save the estate with her money, but eventually fell fully in love with her. They have three daughters together: MaryEdith and Sybil Crawley and had a son lost in a miscarriage. Due the fact of having no son alive, his heir was successively his cousins James CrawleyPatrick Crawley, and Matthew Crawley. The latter became his son-in-law via Mary. These three heirs died, making his only grandson and Mary and Matthew's only child, George Crawley, his current heir presumptive. 

Biography Edit


Personality Edit

Although he loves his daughters very much, Robert has always longed for a son, and he almost had one until Cora's shock fourth pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.  Robert does not shun progress as he allows telephones and electricity to be installed at Downton and, after initial dismay and anger, gives his blessing to his daughter Sybil's marriage to family chauffeur Tom Branson. In Tom's own words, Robert is a good man and a decent employer. He is compassionate, friendly, intelligent, honourable and reasonable. When the middle class lawyer Matthew and his mother Isobel arrive at Downton, the family are initially wary of them and reluctant to welcome them into the family, simply because they are middle class and not aristocrats. Robert is the only one who does welcome them regardless of their class, and he becomes good friends with Isobel and a surrogate father to Matthew. He is very enthusiastic about the idea of Mary marrying Matthew, and can't understand when they fall out with each other at the end of series one. He dislikes Sir Richard Carlisle because of his rude and selfish behavior and also because of his nature to threaten people if they do not do his bidding,and is pleased when Mary decides to end her engagement with him. Robert also forgives Mary when he learns of her indiscretion with Kemal Pamuk, telling her that she is "not the only Crawley to have made a mistake", just as he later forgives Edith after learning she had a child out of wedlock, assuring her he still loves her and that he needs her forgiveness as much as she needs his.

He is very protective of his family and servants, and in many cases treats the servants almost like family members. He is loyal, going to great lengths to retain the slightly disabled John Bates as his valet. He is respectful to Mr Lang, who serves as his valet during WWI, although he is suffering from shellshock. When William Mason, a footman, is given a white feather for cowardice by some women from the Order of the White Feather during WWI, Robert angrily throws them out of his house. When William is called up to fight, Robert does his best to keep him out of danger by getting him appointed as Matthew's batman. He also pays for Mrs Patmore's eye surgery when she starts to go blind. When Thomas, then his valet, is caught kissing Jimmy, the new footman, and is subsequently pressured to leave Downton, Robert asserts his authority over the staff politics and promotes him to underbutler. In addition, after footman Alfred reports Thomas's "indecent assault" to the police and they come round to investigate, Robert convinces Alfred to recant his story, thus protecting Thomas from an almost certain prison sentence and public disgrace.

Robert does realize that the time he lives in is changing. He tells Martha Levinson rather despondently that sometimes he feels like a wild creature whose habitat is slowly being destroyed. Even so, he clings onto tradition tightly, such as supporting Tim Drewe in maintaining his family farm when his father's rent hasn't been paid, noting how they have been there for many generations. He does however have a stubborn streak, as shown in his reluctance to try to move on following the war, to not trust investments when his own produced devastating results, and his opposition to his elder granddaughter being baptized Catholic (even after Mary reveals Sybil had no objection to Tom's wish). He barely acknowledges Michael Gregson when the latter begins courting Edith, utterly convinced Gregson is not good enough for her despite barely knowing him. This belief stems from his opposition to Edith accepting Gregson's offer of a column in his magazine. Robert's stubbornness also shows in his refusal to accept money from others when he has lost it. This was shown when Matthew decided to accept Reggie Swire's inheritance and give it to Robert to save Downton, and again after Michael Gregson regained money Robert, Lord Gillingham, and John Bullock lost while gambling with Terence Sampson. He insists in both cases he cannot accept their offers, acting out of humility and pride. However he is capable of overcomng his stubbornness and change his opinions: he stops fighting Tom's wish for Sybbie's baptism, and he comes to respect Gregson more, admitting in 1924 he believes he was an honorable man.

He is deeply hurt when the rest of his family support Tom and Matthew's plan to buy farmland and create an income for Downton, rather than invest money. He does however see sense eventually, relenting in all these matters. After learning Hugh MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire was to lose Duneagle Castle due to his own financial troubles, he realized how lucky he was and was glad for Matthew's plans. Nevertheless, Robert does not like sharing power. When a letter written by Matthew reveals his intention for Mary to inherit everything of his, including his share of the estate, he tries to fight it because, as his mother scolds him for it, he would rather the letter not stand as a will. He tries to hide and shelter Mary during her mourning rather than bring her back to the world, and is upset when the letter does stand as a will and Mary immediately begins taking a role in managing Downton and conflicting with his own ideas.

Relationships Edit

Family Edit

Robert Crawley is deeply in love, and close, with his American wife, Cora Crawley. He is also close with his mother, Violet Crawley, and his sister, Lady Rosamund. Robert loves his three daughters deeply and only wants what is best for them. He develops a surrogate father relationship with Matthew, and though initially uncomfortable with having Tom as his son-in-law, has grown very fond of him by 1924 to the point where Tom has become like a son to him. Robert deeply loves his grandchildren too - he cannot bear the thought of losing Sybbie when Tom decides to go to America, wishes to keep Downton secure for George (who is his heir upon Matthew's death), and when learning of Marigold's existence comes to love her too, willing to overlook her illegitimacy and do what he can for her for her father's sake as well as Edith's.

Staff Edit

Robert treats all of his staff members with dignity, especially Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Bates and Anna.

Quotes Edit

  • "Every mountain is 'unclimbable' until someone climbs it. So every ship is 'unsinkable' until it sinks." - after getting the news that the Titanic sank
  • "I have given my life to Downton, I was born here and I hope to die here. I claim no career beyond the future of this house and the estate. It is my third parent and fourth child. Do I care about it? Yes, I do care!"  - to Violet
  • "My dear fellow, we all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished." - to Carson after learning that Carson appeared on stage in the past
  • "There is no such thing as a marriage between two intelligent people that does not sometimes have to negotiate thin ice." - to his valet Mr Bates
  • "Family duty comes in many forms."
  • "If you're turning American on me, I'll go downstairs." - to Cora in her bedroom
  • "I don't want my daughter to be married to a man who threatens her with ruin, I want a good man for you, a brave man."- to his daughter Mary about why he does not want her to be married to Sir Richard.
  • "You are my darling daughter and I love you hard as it is for an Englishman to say the words."
  • "Alright, let's give it a go and see what the future brings." - to Matthew, accepting his plans for Downton's future
  • "They do say there's a wild man inside all of us." - to Violet at the Ghillies ball, when Mr Molesley turns wild
  • "If you knew how many times I've imagined this scene." - talking happily to his wife Cora after coming back from America to help her brother
  • "Molesley, you look very latin all of a sudden, do you have Italian blood?"- to Molesley when he realises that his hair is different.
  • " I suppose they loved each other"- referring to Edith inheriting Gregson's publishing company after his death.
  • "I realised what it is about Marigold that keeps catching my eye, She reminds me of Michael Gregson. Just tell me if I'm wrong". to Cora about his guess that Marigold is Edith's daughter.
  • "I keep forgetting that she's gone, I used to look at things in the paper which made her laugh or when I tell her her favourite rose is in bloom". to Mary after Sybil's death
  • "I wonder how Edith is getting along, she has quite a London life these days"- to Mary about Edith being in London.
  • "Oh I think we have to show a little more backbone than that. Mrs. Patmore has been loyal to this house, and now this house must be loyal to her. She had made a large investment in her future, we can't let it fall away to nothing." - Season 6 Episode 8 - referring and talking with Mr. Carson and Mrs. Patmore in reference to her "bru-haha" scandal with the bed and breakfast.

NotesEdit

  • Despite Violet stating in Episode 6.05 that Robert's "late Papa" was the "Sixth Earl", however Sybil's grave refers to Robert as the Fifth Earl in Episode 6.08 and also when Bertie was talking to Edith about marriage, he says the "7th Marquess of Hexham weds the daughter of the 5th Earl of Grantham, what could be more suitable?" (this might imply that Robert is the 5th earl).

Appearances Edit

Appearances and Mentions
Series 1 Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Series 2 Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Episode 8
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Christmas Special
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Series 3 Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Episode 8
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Christmas Special
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Series 4 Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Episode 8
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Christmas Special
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Series 5 Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Episode 8
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Christmas Special
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Series 6 Episode 1
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Episode 2
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Episode 3
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Episode 4
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Episode 5
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Episode 6
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Episode 7
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Episode 8
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Christmas Special
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Notes Edit

  • In The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era by Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis, Julian Fellowes relates that Robert Crawley was based on the personality of his late father. He describes his father as, "a deeply moral man, possibly cleverer than Robert, who was always determined to do right, but without ever questioning the structure of his own social universe".
  •  Robert was known as "Viscount Downton" when he was a child and young man; and only gained the title of Earl of Grantham when his father died. [The oldest (or only) son of an Earl is entitled "Viscount" while their father is alive.] If he had married Cora while his father was still alive, she would have been Viscountess Downton. After Robert's father died, he became Earl of Grantham, so Cora became a Countess (wife of an earl) on her marriage, and his mother, Violet (who had been the Countess when her husband was alive) became the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Their daughters were all entitled "Lady" at birth because their father was an Earl when they were born. If they had been born when he was a Viscount, their titles would have been "Honourable." They would not become "Lady" until their father became Earl.

FYI: When Diana's mother married Johnny Spencer, he was Viscount Althorp, and Frances (nee Roche) became Viscountess Althorp. Diana was an "Honourable," as the child of a Viscount. Later, after her parents divorced, and the 6th Earl Spencer died, Viscount Althorp (Johnny Spencer) became the 7th Earl Spencer, and Diana moved up from "Honourable" to become "Lady Diana." (As her sisters became Lady Sarah and Lady Jane, all up from "Honorable," and their "Honorable" brother Charles, became Viscount Althorp (inheriting his father's previous title.) Johnny Spencer's second wife became Raine, Countess Spencer because he was already an Earl when he married her. The rules are almost set in stone; but there are many variables; depending on how the title was originally granted.

ReferencesEdit

  1. In Downton Abbey: Series 2 Scripts (Official): Page 7 Robert is described as "someone of fifty" indicating, as the first episode is set in 1916, that he was born in 1866.
  2. Susan is Robert and Rosamund's cousin and her mother, Violet's sister, is their aunt; Edith mentions in Season 2 that "Papa discovered an aunt in the 1860s who married a Gordon", so they have another aunt too. We know this aunt cannot be Susan's mother, as Robert would not have had to "discover" her, as he would have known of her existence, even if she died in childbirth, by Susan's existence.
  3. Even though the Downton Abbey Season 1 Press Pack says that Robert and Cora married in 1889, Episode 5.01 shows the couple celebrating their 34th wedding anniversary in 1924.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Episode 5.08 - see this image

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