Downton Abbey, the popular and critically acclaimed period drama that ran for six seasons, returned in late 2019 on the big screen. Among the returning characters was Mary Crawley, the eldest daughter and de facto agent of the estate. Mary was a controversial character, inspiring admiration and hatred in almost equal measure.
Love or hate her, Mary is sure to be back in the sequel movie that is currently in the works. It may be a while yet before we see what lies ahead for the Crawley family and their servants, but in the meantime, there are always memes. Here are ten that encapsulate Mary in all her haughty glory.
10Not Like Other Girls
Mary was extremely vain, especially in the early seasons. She was the great beauty of the family and expected to marry someone higher-ranking and wealthy. That never happened, of course, as both of Mary’s husbands were notable for their lower social status.
Mary could be insensitive or downright mean to women who did not share her good looks. She made fun of her sister’s fashion choices and arguably “stole” three men over the course of the show: Patrick Crawley from Edith, Matthew Crawley from Lavinia Swire, and Tony Gillingham from Mabel-Lane Fox.
Tony Gillingham was Mary’s childhood friend who first appeared on the show in season 4. Despite being engaged to another woman, he proclaimed his love for Mary and convinced her to join him for a romantic getaway at a swanky London hotel.
Soon after, Mary decided that she wasn’t so interested in becoming the next Viscountess Gillingham and made it her mission to get Tony back together with his ex-fiancee Mabel Lane-Fox.
8Your Older Sister Is Amazing!
Mary and Edith Crawley did not get along, period. They eventually made amends, but for most of Downton Abbey, they feuded over men, status, and eventually careers.
Mary’s cutting remarks kept Edith in her place for many years, but it was Edith who eventually got the last laugh. She married a wealthy and higher-ranking Marquess while Mary had to make do with the local auto shop dealer.
7Lady Mary Wonka
One example of Mary making Edith’s life hell coincided with her season 5 makeover. When Edith received the news that her lover was dead, she became very distraught. Meanwhile, Mary was feeling frumpy and got her hair cut into an angled bob that seemed familiar somehow…
Mary debuted the haircut while the family was comforting Edith, who was understandably upset that her sister was the furthest thing from being in mourning. Instead of apologizing, Mary told her that she always ruined everything.
6This Is Halloween
In the very first episode of Downton Abbey, Mary states “I hate black.” Three seasons later, and it’s the only color she would wear after Matthew’s fatal car accident.
Mourning rituals had already become laxer in the Edwardian era, and by the beginning of the 1920s, they started to fade altogether. This puts Mary’s grief in 1921 into perspective; she grieved Matthew for a very long time. But without this morbid context, the scenes of Mary in her black mourning attire could amusingly pass as an advertisement for Halloween.
Time for some knitting humor. Even someone who didn’t know the first thing about knitting could tell from this meme that 20 rows is a lot of work to undo and that the process would be frustrating enough to contemplate staring out the window in despair.
Isn’t this the feeling you get after realizing you’ve made a terrible mistake putting together Ikea furniture three steps ago? Everyone knows this feeling.
4Color Of My Soul
Mary has been described as cold and careful (Richard Carlisle), a scheming b*tch (Edith), and a lady without a heart (herself). Even though she hates black, it’s a color she’s worn many times, and which became part of her signature color palette that also included navy and ruby red.
The primary colors in Mary’s wardrobe reflected her forceful personality and strong opinions that she expressed in sarcastic comments directed at Edith and others she didn’t like (or whose opinions she found disagreeable).
3Making The B*Tchy Comment
Because Mary had such strong opinions, she often rubbed people the wrong way or stepped on toes. This didn’t seem to bother her, however. She took responsibility for her behavior and always made amends when she was in the wrong.
Mary’s sharp tongue and epic eye rolls belied a softer heart that she showed to approximately three people. As she used to tell Matthew, one must pay no attention to the things she says.
2Life Is Hard
Mary once said that her life made her angry. “Women like me don’t have a life. We choose clothes, and pay calls, and work for charity, and do the season. But, really, we’re stuck in a waiting room until we marry.” Things definitely worked out for her as she now runs the estate alongside Tom Branson.
Women indeed faced many injustices in the early 20th century, but Mary’s life at the Abbey, with its candlelit dinners and 24-hour service, didn’t seem so bad. It’s definitely one of the better places to be during that time period.
1She’s Mary Crawley
… and you are not. One thing is for sure, Mary is a memorable leading lady whose divisiveness makes her the center of attention among fans and haters alike.
Most people are such insipid bores that she would rather stand on the roof than be in the same room with them. Why wouldn’t she be the center of attention?