Downton Abbey: 10 Saddest Things About Edith Crawley

Edith Crawley's life on Downton Abbey was a spate of bad luck and tragedies, and even her own parents weren't sure she would ever find happiness.

Lady Edith Crawley was the middle Crawley sister in the hit British period drama, Downton Abbey, who started out with what seemed like middling talents, but gradually went on to become one of the strongest characters on the show.

Edith’s life was a spate of bad luck and tragedies, and even her own parents weren’t sure she would ever get the same happiness that Mary and Sybil seemed destined for. From being forever relegated to the shadows, to losing her lover, and giving birth to his posthumous child, Edith always seemed to have happiness just beyond reach. She wasn’t always the most loveable person, but she surely deserved better than the raw deal she was handed most of the time.

10Was Constantly Overlooked In Favour Of The More Gorgeous Older Sister

Edith was quite literally the black sheep of the Crawley sisters, constantly pushed into the background in favor of the more attractive older sister, Mary.

Whether it came to suitors or people in general, Edith always received lukewarm attention if any at all. Even her own family, Robert, Cora, and the Dowager Countess weren’t sure whether she would ever get married, leave Downton and settle down.

9Matthew Didn’t Reciprocate Her Feelings

Edith did have an annoying habit of trying to steal Mary’s thunder. But even if she often did it to get back at her older sister for being obnoxious to her, her efforts more often than not ended in disappointment.

When Mary was toying with Matthew’s affections, Edith decided to draw Matthew’s attention towards herself. This wasn’t just to spite Mary, she did indeed seem to like Matthew. However, the handsome lawyer was too taken by Mary Crawley and didn’t return Edith’s affections.

8Was Left At The Altar By Strallan

Edith became genuinely fond of Sir Anthony Strallan who was one of the few people to have reciprocated her feelings. Sir Strallan was a good sort but he was much older than Edith and neither Lord Grantham nor Violet Crawley were too pleased with Edith tying herself down to him.

Sir Strallan took the last-minute decision to not hurt Edith’s chance at true happiness and a brighter future. But it came too late after the bride-to-be had already reached the altar. Edith thus got left at the altar, which understandably caused her to unravel, even though in the long run, it left her free to marry a Marquess.

7She Never Received Support From Her Family For Her Endeavours

Edith’s own family always seemed to doubt her abilities and wonder whether she would find real happiness. Edith’s initiative to learn how to drive from Tom Branson wasn’t lauded, even though she was the only one of the Crawley sisters to ever have learned this very useful skill. She was also overlooked when the Crawleys turned Downton Abbey into a convalescent home during the First World War, although she managed to leave a lasting impression on the soldiers who appreciated her friendship and sympathy.

Then, when Edith took over Michael Gregson’s newspaper and slowly turned into a woman of substance, all she got from her father and grandmother was sarcasm and skepticism. For all her annoying ways, fans would agree that Edith Crawley deserved better, at least from her own family.

6She Got Taken For A Ride By A Man Pretending To Be Patrick Crawley

During the War, a man with a heavily bandaged face convinced Lady Edith that he was in fact the Crawley sisters’ cousin, Patrick, who had been presumed dead in the sinking of the Titanic.

It turned out later that this was nothing but a disgusting lie; the man concerned, possibly major Gordon, had known the real Patrick and was conning the naive Edith, playing with her affections, to gradually be accepted into the Earl’s family fold. It was a despicable thing to do, and it was difficult not to feel sorry for Edith at the time.

5Her Lover Died Tragically Leaving Her Pregnant

Edith eventually met a London magazine editor Michael Gregson and the two fell in love. Michael was a good, decent gentleman, and even Lord Grantham came to approve of him eventually.

However, as luck would have it, Gregson disappeared in Germany, and after months of agonizing over whether he had simply abandoned her, Edith found out that he had died in what would later be known as the infamous Beer Hall Putsch. What was even worse was that Edith was pregnant with Michael’s child at the time.

4She Had A Hard Time Figuring Out The Right Thing To Do About Marigold

Edith gave birth to little Marigold posthumously. But right from the word go, Edith was thrust into anxiety and dilemma over the right course of action for her child.

For instance, she wasn’t certain she wanted to have the child in the first place, since despite their love, she and Michael hadn’t been married, which meant that the child would be considered a bastard. Then, even after the delivery, she agonized over finding the right situation for Marigold, a situation where neither the little girl nor Edith herself would face society’s ire or be outcast.

3She Had To Leave Marigold With Strangers

Edith finally decided to leave little Marigold with a local farmer, Mr. Drewe, whom she trusted with her beloved daughter. To have to leave a child she loved with complete strangers could not have been easy. As it happened, Edith couldn’t stay away from the child and became a constant presence at the Drewes.

This in turn led to a fair amount of drama as Mrs. Drewe, who had become very close with the little girl, found Edith’s interference unbearable, and even informed Cora of Marigold’s true identity to get back at Edith, much to the latter’s dismay.

2She Almost Got Burnt Alive

Edith Crawley almost got burnt alive once when she accidentally set fire to her own room. She threw a book belonging to Michael out of pure anguish and desperation when the latter had gone missing and wasn’t aware that the book had landed in the fireplace.

The book caught fire and set the whole room alight. Had it not been for that rather polarising character, Thomas Barrow, Edith could have died in the fire that night, or at the very least suffered burns. And she would almost certainly have burnt the house down had swift action not been taken.

1Mary Told Bertie About Marigold Out Of Spite

In the penultimate episode, when fate finally seemed to be looking up at Edith, Mary couldn’t bear to think that the sister she had spent her whole life hating could surpass her and outrank everyone in the family. She thus took it upon herself to make life miserable for Edith just when she was beginning to be happy.

Mary told Bertie Pelham that Marigold was Edith’s illegitimate child, which sent Bertie into a tizzy, and he vanished from Edith’s life as abruptly as he had appeared. Of course, Mary did make things right for Edith afterward, but not before causing her to sink into gloom once more.

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