The movie was released on September 13, 2019 in the UK and on September 20, 2019 in North America.
The film is the continued story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century. The film is set in 1927, when King George V and Queen Mary visit Downton Abbey, causing quite a stir of uneasiness and tension among the Crawleys and Servants alike.
This section contains plot details about the film.
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In July 1927 - specifically between July 20th and 22nd - King George V and Queen Mary themselves announce a visit to Downton Abbey on their way to Harewood House where their daughter, Princess Mary, is having trouble in her marriage to Viscount Lascelles. The news of the arrival comes in the form of a letter, which reads:
My Dear Grantham
As you will know, The King and Queen will be touring your Bailiwick next month and will present a new Guidon to the Yorkshire Hussars on the 21st, in token of the extraordinary service the regiment gave in the Great War.
I have it on command of His Majesty to request that Their Majesties will need to stay over at Downton Abbey, in order to meet this duty, and, as Lord Lieutenant, I trust this will not be a problem. I think it is the first sojourn of this kind at Downton for The King and Queen and I hope it doesn't inconvenience Lady Grantham too terribly.
Our intent is that the party would arrive in the forenoon, have luncheon, attend a parade, return to Downton Abbey for tea and Dine, leaving after breakfast the next day.
In attendance will be his Majesty's Equerry, Major Victor Bruce, and Her Majesty's Lady-in-Waiting, Lady Bagshaw.
Yours very sincerely,
As a normal part of a Royal Visit, the Royal Household Staff come in to take over the duties normally carried out by the Downton Staff, putting the Downton Staff's noses very much out of joint. Part of the issue is that the Royal Household Staff do not make clear what they want from the Downton staff, leaving Thomas Barrow and Mrs Hughes unsure about what needs to be done (for instance, which silver is to be polished). Mary Talbot calls Charles Carson out of retirement to help prepare for the royal visit, once again passing over Thomas Barrow as butler, who does not take his demotion well at all.
Edith and Bertie arrive with Marigold. Henry Talbot is in the US for a racing meet, and Mary telegraphs him to ask him to come back as quickly as possible. Violet talks of Lady Maud Bagshaw, the Queen's lady-in-waiting and Crawley family cousin. Violet feels that since Lady Bagshaw has no heirs, her property should pass to her closest paternal relative--Robert--when she dies, but suspects Maud intends to name someone else instead. Then Violet takes an unexpected trip to London.
The Downton boiler breaks down, leaving the entire house with no hot water. When the plumber arrives, Andy is jealous of the tradesman's easy rapport with Daisy. Mrs Patmore asks Daisy when the plans for her wedding with Andy will begin, and Daisy is not eager to discuss this.
The Downton women go to lunch at Harewood House, where they are welcomed and made to feel at home by Princess Mary. Her children come to play quietly in the room with their nanny, until Viscount Lascelles comes home and orders the children taken back to the nursery. The Princess is visibly upset.
Daisy and Mrs Patmore are stunned when the villagers are incredibly excited by the royal visit. Mr Moseley offers his services for the visit, and Mr Bakewell at the local shop tells of his pride that the King and Queen will be eating food from his establishment. Daisy stops Mrs Patmore telling Mr Bakewell that the Royal party have brought all their own food.
Tom Branson is approached by Major Chetwode, who seems to be investigating Tom's anarchist Irish Republican sympathies. The night before the King and Queen arrive, Tom arranges to meet with the Captain in the village pub. While this is happening, a massive downpour occurs just as the folding chairs arrive for the village green, where the parade by the King and the Hussars will take place the next day. The Earl, Bertie, Mary, Anna and Edith take the chairs to the green and set them up in the rain, as the Earl spots Tom leaving the pub.
Andy, in a fit of envy, sabotages the now-mended boiler. This only frustrates him more, as it means the good-looking plumber must return and mend it again.
The King and Queen arrive, along with their staff, as well as Lady Bagshaw and her maid, Lucy Smith. The Royal Staff completely take over all the Downton Staff's duties for the luncheon for the Royal party. Meanwhile, both Mary and Anna have noticed that a number of small items such as statuettes and silver letter openers have gone missing. Tom Branson has several conversations with Lucy, and finds her fascinating. However, Violet is not happy with the familiarity between Lady Bagshaw and her maid, which is apparent in Maud calling Lucy by her first name instead of her surname.
The King offers Bertie a position as escort to the Prince of Wales on the upcoming African trip. After lunch, Edith tells Bertie that she thinks she might be pregnant, and that if Bertie goes to Africa it will be just after the birth of the child. Bertie promises to try and get out of the trip.
Tom is agitated during lunch, and rushes off as soon as it is over. Mary follows him, fearing that he has sided again with the Irish Republicans, both of them pushing their way through the villagers lining the main street as the Hussars parade down the road. Tom spots Major Chetwode, who ducks into a side alley and towards the courtyard where the King and his attendants are seated on horseback, awaiting the arrival of the Hussars on the village green. As Major Chetwode draws a pistol and is about to shoot the King, Tom knocks him to the ground. Mary, arriving at that moment, kicks the Major's gun away, and the King and his attendants ride off to the parade without noticing the commotion. A group of police arrive, arresting the Major, and Tom and Mary head to the Police Station to make a statement. The parade takes place without any interruptions. Tom explains he thought Chetwode was a royal investigator whom he intended to try and put at ease on his own, but realized he was trying to use him to get to the king.
During the afternoon, Tom speaks with a young lady in the grounds, unaware that she is Princess Mary. She knows who he is, and comments on how unusual his situation is. He replies that it is a matter of working out what is the best for the family, such as keeping Sybbie at Downton because that is her family. The Princess thanks him for his advice.
Edith has ordered a special ball gown for the event at Harewood House the day after the Downton visit, but is horrified when it turns out her dress has been sent to the US, and she has been sent the voluminous gown intended for someone else.
The Downton staff rebel, and meet in the wine cellar to discuss getting the honour of the house back by conducting what is in effect a mutiny. Thomas has befriended Mr Ellis, one of the Royal Household, who rings from the Village and pretends to be the London Comptroller of the Household Staff and demands that the four footmen brought to Downton be returned to London immediately to assist at a function there. The French cook brought in by the King's Butler is given a double dose of sleeping tablets in his tea by Anna, and locked in his room while he sleeps. The Butler is berating the staff when Mrs Patmore "accidentally" spills red sauce on him, and while he is upstairs changing, he is also locked into his room. The Royal Housekeeper is advised to keep away from everything as well.
Thomas decides to take the evening off, and arranges to meet Ellis in York. The rest of the Downton staff manage magnificently. Molesley is overwhelmed by the entire situation, and when the King comments that the food, while delicious, is not what he expected, Moseley blurts out that the Downton staff cooked and served everything. There is an awkward silence until the Queen graciously thanks Moseley and asks that her compliments be given to the cook. Moseley barely manages not to faint as he retreats from the dining room backwards.
Bertie attempts to turn down the position of escort to the Prince of Wales, and tells the King why, but the King says that it will be a good example to young Edward who needs to see how important having a family is.
Anna confronts the Queen's personal seamstress, Miss Lawton, whom she realises has been stealing the items around Downton. The seamstress is then pressured into adjusting Edith's dress, and returning all the stolen goods, before the royal party leaves the next morning.
Thomas is at a pub waiting for Ellis to join him, when another man suggests Thomas might like to come to a private club. Thomas goes with the man to a warehouse that is being used as a gay men's nightclub, with a band and dancing. It is almost too much for Thomas, who could not believe that there were so many men like him. He dances and is enjoying the company when the police raid the establishment and arrest everyone there. However, Ellis uses his credentials from the Royal Household persuades the police to release him, and drives him back to Downton. The pair talk for hours, and Thomas knows he has found a new friend.
Violet is horrified to discover that Lady Bagshaw not only refuses to allow her house and fortune to go to Robert, but has instead named Lucy Smith as her heir. Isobel however, later enters Lady Bagshaw's rooms and asks her if Lucy knows she is her daughter. Lady Bagshaw reveals she had an affair after her husband died, and hid Lucy's birth by going to the US. She regrets not marrying Lucy's father for lack of courage and fear of her father, but in naming her heir feels she "will have taken the first step". Isobel advises Maud to tell Violet the truth.
The Royal Butler, Cook and Housekeeper take breakfast with the Downton staff the next morning, and are warned that if they tell what happened, then it is the Royal Staff who will appear as fools. Andy tells Daisy what he did to the boiler, and Daisy realises that Andy is as passionate and headstrong as herself. She tells Mrs Patmore that she will start arranging the wedding soon. As the Royal staff leave, Ellis asks Thomas to write, and then the two kiss for a moment before they are interrupted (but not seen) by Andy.
Henry Talbot arrives back shortly after the Royal Party leaves, and is greeted passionately by Mary. During the ball at Harewood House, Lady Bagshaw tells Violet the truth at Isobel's instigation. Violet is understanding, and is made aware that Tom and Lucy have agreed to write. Princess Mary tells her husband they will both have to work on the marriage. The King tells Bertie that he has been persuaded by his wife that Bertie should not go on the African tour due to their future child's birth. Mary takes Violet into a side room to ask her why she went to London. Violet confesses she has seen a doctor and that she may not have long to live, but she is certain that Mary will preserve the estate for the family's future generations.
Back at Downton, Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes leave by the front door as a small rebellion.
After over a year of speculation, an untitled film based on Downton Abbey was confirmed on July 13, 2018 by Focus Features. There was first mention of the movie by president of NBC Universal International Studios, Michael Edelstein, on June 21, 2017 at a red carpet event in Singapore called Downton Abbey: The Exhibition. Julian Fellowes confirmed earlier in mid June 2017 he has been working on a script.
On October 2, 2017, the Downton Abbey Facebook account posted a teaser that could be related to a movie announcement, but it turned out to be an announcement for Downton Abbey: The Exhibition in New York City starting November 18, 2017.
At a press event in London on October 3, 2017, Julian Fellowes did not inspire confidence when he said he was "completely out of the loop" on the progress of a film.
At the end of 2017, an interview with Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), suggested the wheels were turning for a movie, since cast members were asked to clear their calendars for some part of 2018 and an updated script was to be distributed. Also, Highclere Castle is scheduled to be closed from May 30 to July 7, 2018 which some are speculating means it has been reserved for filming.
Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, and Hugh Bonneville have all been confirmed to appear in the film. The whole main cast (of characters that are still alive) have now been confirmed to be returning, except for Lily James as Rose Aldridge, as her character has moved to New York. Sue Johnston has also been confirmed to not be returning as Gladys Denker.
Filming finished on November 30, 2018 after fifty days of filming.
- Main article: Downton Abbey (film 2)
A sequel was confirmed to be in the works by actor Jim Carter (Mr. Carson) in September 2020 with shooting to begin sometime in 2021 (barring continuing COVID-19 complications) during an interview on the This Morning (UK ITV program). Julian Fellowes hinted he might start working on the script after finishing work on The Gilded Age, but the remark was not definitive. On April 19 2021, the sequel was given a "Christmas 2021" release date, which was later confirmed to be December 22nd 2021.
Cast & Crew
- Oliver & Zac Barker as George Crawley
- Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley
- Laura Carmichael as Edith Pelham
- Jim Carter as Charles Carson
- Raquel Cassidy as Phyllis Baxter
- Brendan Coyle as John Bates
- Michelle Dockery as Mary Talbot
- Kevin Doyle as Joseph Molesley
- Michael Fox as Andrew Parker
- Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates
- Matthew Goode as Henry Talbot
- Harry Hadden-Paton as Herbert Pelham
- Fifi Hart as Sybbie Branson
- Rob James-Collier as Thomas Barrow
- Allen Leech as Tom Branson
- Phyllis Logan as Elsie Carson
- Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley
- Sophie McShera as Daisy Mason
- Lesley Nicol as Beryl Patmore
- Douglas Reith as Richard Grey
- Eva & Karina Samms as Marigold
- Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley
- Penelope Wilton as Isobel Grey
New Cast Members
- Mark Addy as Mr Bakewell
- Max Brown as Richard Ellis
- Richenda Carey as Mrs Webb
- James Cartwright as Tony Sellick
- Perry Fitzpatrick as Chris Webster
- David Haig as Mr Wilson
- Andrew Havill as Henry Lascelles
- Geraldine James as Queen Mary
- Simon Jones as King George V
- Susan Lynch as Miss Lawton
- Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith
- Stephen Campbell Moore as Major Chetwode
- Kate Phillips as Princess Mary
- Philippe Spall as Monsieur Courbet
- Imelda Staunton as Maud Bagshaw
- Charlie Watson as Albert
- TBA as Johnny Bates
- TBA as Caroline Talbot
- Misc scenes
- Not in any particular order...
- Character posters
- Deadline Hollywood - Abbey’ Movie Sets Fall 2019 Opening by Anthony D'Alessandro September 19, 2018 10:06am
- Edith mentions to Bertie that she will give birth when he leaves in March 1928. Since she is early in her pregnancy this places the film approximately eight months before Bertie leaves in March, which is July of 1927.
- The letter sent to Downton reveals the King and Queen arrived on the 21st; the film begins the day before and finishes the day after with the Ball at Harewood House as Mary mentions the "parade" at Downton was "Yesterday".
- According to Town and Country Mag: This week, Alastair Bruce, who served as the historical advisor on the movie, revealed exactly what was written in the letter. On Twitter, he shared that he had drafted a letter for the film "to meet requirement of [Julian Fellowes's] script." He also called attention to a few specific details in the text. "Note reference to Major Victor Bruce." And he shared that the "Supporting Actor playing him wore my cap star & aiguillettes."'
- Focus Features - Focus Features Announces Production on the Downton Abbey Movie by FOCUS FEATURES 07.13.2018
- APNews.com - NBC says ‘Downton Abbey’ movie production to start in 2018 By ANNABELLE LIANG Jun. 21, 2017
- TheGuardian.com - Julian Fellowes webchat – your questions answered on The Wind in the Willows, Downton Abbey, winning an Oscar – and Nando's Tuesday 13 June 2017 09.17 EDT
- USA Today - 'Downton Abbey' exhibit lets fans go upstairs, downstairs with drama's sets, costumes by Bill Keveney Published 10:00 a.m. ET Oct. 4, 2017; Updated 8:00 a.m. ET Oct. 5, 2017
- Yorkshire Post - 'I am out of the loop over Downton Abbey film announcement' admits Lord Fellowes By Matthew Reeder 08:04 Wednesday 04 October 2017
- Daily Mail UK - Clear your diaries for Downton the movie, stars are told: Mrs Hughes actress Phyllis Logan gives the biggest hint yet of the Abbey news every fan is longing to hear By Patricia Kane Published: 18:49 EST, 30 December 2017; Updated: 19:50 EST, 30 December 2017
- vanityfair.com - It’s Happening: Downton Abbey’s Original Cast Is Reuniting for a Movie Friday 13 July 2018 8.57 EDT
- PEOPLE - Lily James Reveals Why There's 'No Space' for Her in Downton Abbey Movie Dan Wakeford and Natalie Stone July 15, 2018 03:17 PM
- Twitter.com - @DowntonAbbey: 143 unforgettable scenes, 50 wonderful days, 1 glorious film. #DowntonAbbeyFilm. It's a wrap!
- Yahoo Sports - 'Downton Abbey' movie sequel to start shooting next year by Tom Beasley (via Yahoo Movies UK) Sep 24, 2020, 7:54 AM
- Daily Mail UK - Downton Abbey 2 is CONFIRMED: Creator Julian Fellowes reveals he is set to start work on the movie's sequel after wrapping up other projects By Ciara Farmer; Published: 09:44 EST, 21 January 2020, Updated: 10:18 EST, 21 January 2020
- TVLine.com - Downton Abbey 2 Officially a Go: Who's Returning? Who's Joining the Cast? by Rebecca Iannucci; Published: 06:02EST, 19 April 2021.
- Focus Features Twitter: We're thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining! See the film in theaters this Christmas.
- Chicago Sun Times - ‘Downton Abbey 2,’ with original cast, set for December theatrical release by Miriam Di Nunzio; Published: 08:46CDT, 19 April 2021.
- Good Housekeeping - Everything you need to know about the Downton Abbey movie By Megan Sutton 18/02/2019
- Downton By Royal Command: [Michelle Dockery] reveals that we find Mary in a positive place. She’s happily married to racing driver Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode) and is mother to a little girl, Caroline, as well as her son George..." "Downton By Royal Command" Daily Mail Weekend (Aug 24, 2019)
- Entertainment Weekly - All the photos from the Downton Abbey movie so far By Maureen Lee Lenker February 14, 2019 05:01 PM EST
- Misc sources
- These sources need to be attached to particular statements as references...
- Mild spoilers
- Secondary news
- Old news