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Violet Crawley: "The dear Duchess of Truro is full of your praises, Sir Philip. Then, of course, you know that."
Sir Philip Tapsell: "She had quite a time when she was first married, but I said to her, "Never fear, Duchess, I'll get a baby out of you one way or another.""
Violet Crawley: "And so you did."
Sir Philip Tapsell: "Three boys. And as a result, a secure dynasty, I'm glad to say."
— An exchange between the Dowager Countess of Grantham, and Sir Philip, over dinner in 1920.[src]

Sir Philip Tapsell was a famous Harley Street obstetrician who had been granted a knighthood. According to the Countess of Grantham, he "delivered many lords and royal highnesses". Sir Philip delivered the Duchess of Truro's (an acquaintance of Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham) three sons, earning him much praise.

In the summer of 1920, as Lady Sybil Branson was around nine months pregnant, her father, the Earl of Grantham, thought it best that Sybil's child would be delivered by Sir Philip Tapsell, as Dr. Clarkson was known to have made medical mistakes in the family in the recent past (he had misdiagnosed Matthew Crawley's spinal injuries sustained during the Great War, and missed the warning signs of Lavinia Swire's case of Spanish flu). Dr. Clarkson, however, was included in Sir Philip's deliberations by insistence of the Countess.

Matthew spoke to Sir Philip about his fears that his injuries might have limited his fertility even though he had recovered.  When he said he was anxious to start his family after being married for some months, Sir Philip noted his use of the word "anxious" - anxiety was always an enemy to pregnancy, he stated, and advised Matthew not to rush it. Violet states that she couldn't "care less" about Sir Philip Tapsell's feelings.

Dr. Clarkson diagnosed (and correctly so) that Lady Sybil was toxaemic, with a danger of eclampsia. He ended up, however, being ignored by both Sir Philip and the Earl, who believed that taking her to the village hospital to receive a Caesarean section would be far too much of a risk to Sybil and the baby.

However, sometime after giving birth to a daughter Sybil started to suffer from severe seizures and spasms. Sir Philip immediately became grave and hesitated to give an answer as to what was happening. When Dr. Clarkson confirmed it was eclampsia, Robert berated Sir Philip, saying he had been so sure. All Sir Philip could say was that it was "unpredictable." Robert nevertheless begged him not to agree with Dr. Clarkson that there was nothing to be done.

Unfortunately, Lady Sybil died. Cora blamed her husband and Sir Philip for her daughter's death. Dr. Clarkson later remarked that Sir Philip ignored the evidence in an "unhelpful" and "arrogant" manner.


Appearances and Mentions
Series 3 Episode 1 Episode 2 Episode 3 Episode 4 Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7 Episode 8 Christmas Special