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Vera Bates

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Vera Bates
Biographical information
Died 10./11. November 1918
Marital status Married
Title(s) Mrs Bates
Physical information
Gender Female
Hair colour Black
Family information
Family John Bates (husband)

Mrs Bates (mother-in-law) †
Mr Harlip (cousin)

Loyalty Herself
Behind the scenes
Portrayed by Maria Doyle Kennedy
Mrs Bates: "He felt he'd ruined Vera's life, Miss Smith."
Anna: "Do you agree with him?"
Mrs Bates: "No. I thought she was a nasty piece of work."
— Mrs Bates explaining to Anna why Mr Bates confessed to Vera's crime[src]

Vera Bates (d. 10./11. November 1918) was the estranged wife of John Bates. Mr. Bates does not mention his marriage to Anna until he tells her why they cannot be together.

Having known each other since childhood, they married young and had a very unhappy marriage. In between serving in the Anglo-Boer War and joining the staff at Downton Abbey, John Bates admitted to a silver theft that Vera committed at the barracks and went to prison.

Using her husband's name, she obtains a service post in the household of the Marquess of Flintshire since the Marchioness of Flintshire is Robert's cousin. The Marchioness's lady's maid blithely tells Vera about Mary's liaison with Kemal Pamuk.

Shortly before her mother-in-law's death, Vera arrived at her house. After learning her husband has a larger then expected inheritance after his mother's death, she arrives at Downton Abbey. She asks for large amounts of money, refusing a divorce so he cannot marry fellow servant Anna and blackmails him, threatening to expose Lady Mary's secret. She also wants her husband to give notice and come back to her since she has tried living on her own and does not like it. Bates returns to London with her to live in his mother's home but soon separates after learning that she has been unfaithful to him. Eventually he returns to working as Robert's valet and Anna and they rekindle their romance. O'Brien, always in opposition to Bates, writes to Vera to tell her where he is and about Bates romantic relationship with Anna. Irate and not wanting her husband to be happy with anyone else, she goes to Sir Richard Carlisle and sells him the story of Lady Mary, unaware that Sir Richard is engaged to Lady Mary and has no intention of publishing the story. Furious over of this, she tells the judge in her divorce case that Bates paid her off to consent to it and the judge voids the divorce decree, meaning Vera and John are still legally married. Mr Bates goes to London to confront her and returns to Downton with a large scratch on his face telling Anna that their meeting went terribly. The next day, Vera is found dead from ingesting rat poison. The police are convinced that Bates murdered her and he is convicted and sentenced to death, before the sentence is commuted to one of life in prison.


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

Behind the scenesEdit


Vera had been ingesting Arsenic for a long time before her death: Vera's state of mind being described as "paranoid yet determined" and the "scrubbing of her fingers" both confirm this - Arsenic, over a long period of time, changes the pigmentation of your fingernails. The strongest point to back up the case for Vera having ingested Arsenic for a long time is when Mrs. Bartlett says that Vera was described as "wearing a halo" - Arsenic, after it has had time to get into the lungs, makes the person's breath fluorescent, which is where the halo - made from Vera's breath - would have come from.


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