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You know, my mother's always telling me, never put anything in writing. And now, thanks to you, I never will again.
—The Duke of Crowborough to Thomas.

Philip Villiers, Duke of Crowborough,[1][2] is a friend of the Crawley family.


Little is known about his life. He is a self-professed student of architecture. He states he needs to marry an heiress even if it means going to America. He spent a summer dalliance with Thomas in London and is likely either gay or bisexual.

Series 1[]

Lady Mary Crawley, who was originally supposed to marry her cousin Patrick Crawley, then heir to Downton, privately held him "in check" for a bigger fish. With his death in 1912, she believed her own prospects had changed for the better. She immediately angled to wed the young and handsome Duke. Carson felt it was an honour for the house to have a Duke visit, and was certain Mary would make an excellent Duchess.

Philip arrived at Downton Abbey, ostensibly to present his condolences, although he did not really know Patrick except "to see Patrick at the odd thing." Sarah O'Brien made new valet John Bates fall after knocking over his cane, right in front of the Duke, the Crawley family and the other servants. Anna helped him back up while the family went inside.

After dinner Philip requests an interview with Robert, presumably to ask for Mary’s hand in marriage. But when he learns that Robert was not intending to challenge the entail on the estate which now made his unknown cousin Matthew his heir, he withdrew his offer without ever in fact making it. He later told then-footman Thomas Barrow that he had to marry an heiress, even it meant he had to go to New York to find one.


The Duke with Thomas.

It was revealed that Thomas had brought the Duke to Downton, with a telegram luring him with the prospect of marrying Mary for the Grantham money. After he had previously visited the Crawleys in London, he and Thomas shared a summer dalliance. Thomas had intended to become Philip's valet after the wedding. When this fails, he attempts to further his own career using blackmail, by threatening Philip with love letters that the Duke had written to him. However, Philip was one step ahead of Thomas, using Mary as a cover to go exploring the servant's wing, he had rummaged through Thomas's room. Thomas, held back by the Duke, could only watch as the incriminating letters went up in the flames after Philip threw them into the fireplace. Robert later told his wife that he was not happy about Mary being pursued by a man who had turned out to be a golddigger. Cora reminded him he had been one himself when he courted her, and they turned out well.

The following morning, Philip left Downton. Bates was about to leave with him, as he had been fired and was being dropped at the train station. Robert stopped the car at the last minute and allowed Bates to stay, stating to Carson that it did not feel right.


  • In the series, he was never referred to by name, only his title has ever been mentioned. In the script for the first season his first name was revealed to be Philip. His surname is confirmed as 'Villiers' in a book about the levels of peerage, shown at the Downton Abbey Exhibtion.
  • Though he never officially stated why he was desperate to marry an heiress, it is most likely he was having financial problems, just like Robert when he married Cora.
  • Thomas expressed his love for him, saying he wanted to be with him, but whether his feelings were genuine or if it was just a means to an end is never stated. Thomas never mentions him afterwards.

Behind the scenes[]


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


  1. His first name is revealed in the Downton Abbey Series 1 Script
  2. His surname is confirmed to be 'Villiers' in a book showing the levels of the peerage, shown at the Downton Abbey Exhibiton.