While undeniably privileged, Downton Abbey’s Crawley family, and everyone in their household, faced their share of hardship. But they always had their loved ones to help them endure and triumph. It was a long road for each romance, filled with subtle flirtations and often brushing the edge of scandal. Thankfully, in the end, everyone in the family seemingly found their happily ever after.
Everyone ended up with someone, and whatever loose ends were left, particularly in the romance department, were tied up by the end of the Downton Abbey film. So, let’s take a look at all the couples Downton Abbey introduced to audiences, what they went through to be together and how each couple managed to get on with each other– from the struggle of Lady Mary’s relationship with Henry Talbot to the uncertainty between Daisy Mason and Andrew Parker.
MARY CRAWLEY AND HENRY TALBOT
As she said many times throughout the series, Mary Crawley is very particular when it comes to her romantic partners. She had her share of dramatic flings and scandals, but what she desired was someone who could match her, like Matthew Crawley did. For a time, it seemed like no one could replace him, until Mary met Henry Talbot.
There was a lot of doubt in the beginning. Mary struggled to come to terms with Henry’s passion for cars and his status in society. But with the new age and major shift in societal norms, she accepted that she had fallen for him and ceased pushing him away. What followed, was an unusual relationship for Mary, but one that suited both her and Henry almost perfectly.
EDITH CRAWLEY AND BERTIE PELHAM
Lady Edith Crawley entered into a variety of different relationships throughout the course of the series, not all of them welcome by the show’s audience. The most successful by far was her relationship and eventual marriage to Bertie Pelham, who was introduced in the Season 5 Christmas Special. Their relationship began simply enough– over drinks, a bit of assistance and some tea.
The road to their eventual marriage wasn’t entirely smooth, however. Serious doubts were cast when Mary, driven by envy, decided to spill Edith’s secret to Bertie over breakfast– that Marigold was not really her ward, but her daughter by the late Michael Gregson. Though distraught by the deception, Bertie eventually came around and realized that he loved Edith despite it all.
ROSE MACCLARE AND ATTICUS ALDRIDGE
To the delight of the Lady Cora Crawley, Rose MacClare proved herself to be the most progressive out of most of the household members at Downton. It showed in some of her relationships, such as the brief engagement she had to the musician, Jack Ross. Though she was never particularly after marriage, she decided to settle down after meeting Atticus Aldridge.
Atticus was the heir of a Jewish family that came from Russia to escape the pogroms. While others might have judged him for it, he found nothing of that Rose’s company. They fell in love and eventually got married. Rose and Atticus moved to New York, had a child and evidently, found their happily ever after.
TOM BRANSON AND LUCY SMITH
The loss of Lady Sybil Crawley understandably devastated the family and left a wound that never fully healed. Though the family did find support in allowing Tom Branson, the former chauffeur, to remain a part of the Crawley family. It was clear that Tom was never able to let go of Sybil, until years later, when King George V and Queen Mary visit, bringing with them Lucy Smith.
Lucy was the illegitimate daughter of the Queen’s lady in waiting, Maud Bagshaw. She and Tom connected over talk of his old world and new one, something Lucy could seemingly relate to on some level, given her background. Nothing overt ever occurs between the two, but it is assumed that, following the events of Downton Abbey and their dawn-light dance, they at least write to each other, marking Tom’s ability to finally move on.
ISOBEL CRAWLEY AND DICKEY GREY
After Matthew passed, the Lady Isobel Crawley had only her grandson George linking her to the family. And outside her prickly friendship with the Lady Violet Crawley, there were times it was clearly lonely for her. That was, until she met Richard Grey at Mary’s wedding. It was clear from the outset that his children would be a problem, but that wasn’t something they had to deal with until much later.
Eventually, Richard grew tired of his children’s manipulations and declared that he was tired of apologizing for them. With that, Richard and Isobel left to get married and, like so few, seemed to find lasting happiness with each other.
ANNA SMITH AND JOHN BATES
John Bates was the outsider when he first came to Downton Abbey, doubted by others due to his injury and its impact on his ability to serve. The only one who accepted him and showed him kindness was Anna Smith, lady’s maid to Lady Mary Crawley.
The relationship between Anna and her Mr. Bates’ involved fighting through years of heartache, trauma and persecution. They endured, however, holding close to each other and making sure that they stayed true to their vows. An unjust legal system and the threat of imprisonment could never even keep them apart.
CHARLES CARSON AND ELSIE HUGHES
Both Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes served the Crawley house faithfully for years, often butting heads when it came to tradition and the approach of the new age. They were already close, long before either realized there were any romantic feelings involved. Eventually, Carson proposed, to Mrs. Hughes’ shock and delight.
As expected, their feelings for each other and their relationship never got in the way of their duties in the house. They had far too much experience in between them to allow for that. Though they didn’t have to worry about that for long. After they were married, Thomas took Carson’s place as the new butler, though that was partly due to Carson’s oncoming affliction. While Carson came out of what was essentially retirement for the King and Queen’s visit in the Downton Abbey film, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes continued to serve however they could from their cottage.
DAISY ROBINSON AND ANDY PARKER
Daisy Robinson became Daisy Mason after forsaking her own feelings to spare those of William, who died shortly after returning from the war and marrying her. She received the attention of many men throughout the series and did her best to let them down gently. They were generally good men, but it became clear soon enough that she was drawn toward those with more confidence.
Andrew Parker did his best to prove that he could be confident and caring, going so far as to head down to Yew Tree Farm to help Mr. Mason. He could be jealous at times, proving that beyond all doubt in the Downton Abbey film, but in the end, he seemed to make Daisy happy and support her developing political education and actions. They were young, but well suited for one another.