Upperclass life in Downton Abbey is nowhere near as idyllic as it seems, and here are 10 of the worst things Mary and Edith did to each other.
Some sisters are the best of friends who always have each other’s backs. Other sisters are less fond of each other, don’t like each other at all, or at least have major issues to work through before they can exist together harmoniously.
Mary and Edith Crawley of Downton Abbey definitely fall into the latter category, with their fair share of spats throughout six seasons of the critically acclaimed historical drama. In fact, the two sisters were downright vicious to each other at some points. Below are the five worst things Mary did to Edith, as well as the five worst things Edith did to Mary.
Mary Insulted Edith’s Fashion Choices
When Matthew snubbed Mary at the Downton flower show (for paying more attention to another suitor in an act of sisterly rivalry), Edith was all too eager to take a jab at her sister. She noted that when Matthew wanted Mary, she didn’t want him, and, now that she was trying to catch his attention, he didn’t want anything to do with her.
At this provocation, Mary responded, “I’ll admit that if I ever wanted to attract a man I’d steer clear of those clothes and that hat.” May we remind Mary that beauty fades, bodies decay, and love is not something you can put down and pick back up like a toy.
Mary Got A Cool New Haircut While Edith Was In Mourning
After Matthew’s tragic death, all the Crawleys rallied around Mary to offer their support, including Edith. The sudden and devastating loss of Downton’s heir, Mary’s husband, and a beloved member of the family deserved the respect and honor of full mourning.
Unfortunately, the family couldn’t do the same for Edith when she received news that her lover, Michael Gregson, had been killed in Germany. In fact, Mary went out and got her hair cut into a sleek bob while Edith was still reeling from the news. Mary’s response when Edith called her out for being disrespectful? That Edith always ruins everything.
Mary Thwarted Edith’s Plans For Marriage (Part 1)
Sir Anthony Strallan was originally invited to dinner at Downton as a potential match for Mary, who was completely uninterested in the old and stuffy landowner. Strallan instead captured Edith’s attention, and the two bonded over their shared intellect and love of driving.
Sir Anthony was on the verge of proposing to Edith when Mary whispered that Edith found him boring, leading Sir Anthony to reconsider. Poor Edith was left alone and confused at the garden party right before her father announced the outbreak of World War I. The worst part is that this is only the first of two times Mary ruined Edith’s shot at marital bliss!
Mary Thwarted Edith’s Plans For Marriage (Part 2)
Shortly before Michael Gregson disappeared, he consummated his relationship with Edith. Marigold was the result of that union, their only daughter and illegitimate child, as the two were not married.
Edith kept Marigold’s true identity under wraps for good reason. Even Cora agreed that Mary would use Marigold’s illegitimacy as a weapon against her sister. Sure enough, Mary eventually figured out Edith’s secret and deployed it at the worst possible moment: when Bertie Pelham proposed to Edith, making her the future Marchioness of Hexham and outranking her entire family. Not one to be shown up, Mary let Bertie know about Marigold and destroyed Edith’s chances of happiness for the second time.
Mary “Stole” Patrick Crawley
When Downton Abbey began, Robert and Cora had arranged for Mary to wed Patrick Crawley. Because of the fee entail that made it impossible for women to inherit, it made sense to set up their eldest daughter with the son of the future heir to keep the estate in the family.
When the Titanic sunk and took Patrick with it, the whole family was devastated—but especially Edith, who had been in love with her sister’s fiance. Mary, on the other hand, could hardly muster a tear and was relieved with Robert left the decision to dress in full mourning up to her. When Edith started crying at Patrick’s funeral, Mary snapped and accused her of making a show. Thankfully, Sybil was there to stick up for her middle sister.
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