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Doesn't it mean anything to you? That we have lost our money, that we have lost our position, that we have lost everything the children have grown up expecting as their right!? And now you want Rose to be an outcast?
—To Hugh expressing distaste of the marriage of her daughter Rose to Atticus Aldridge.[src]

Susan, Marchioness of Flintshirea (formerly "Susan MacClare") is Robert Crawley's first cousin, the maternal niece and goddaughter of Violet Crawley, mother of three children: James, Annabelle, and Rose, and mother-in-law to Annabelle's husband. She was married to Hugh MacClare, who is nicknamed "Shrimpie" within the family and worked as a minister at the Foreign Office. Her maiden name is unknown.



Susan is born to the sister of Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, who stood as godmother to her. Sometime before 1913, Susan visited Downton Abbey.[1]

Season One[]

Violet mentions that Susan has not been to Downton in some time since she forgot the layout of the house when Susan writes to Violet about gossip circulating in London about Mary carrying Kemal Pamuk's corpse the length of Downton Abbey by herself.

Season Two[]

In 1916, Vera Bates used John Bates's name to get a job with Susan. Vera tricked Susan's lady's maid into telling her about Kemal Pamuk dying in Mary Crawley's bed whilst having sex and Anna Smith helping Mary cover it up. Vera later goes to Downton Abbey after her mother-in-law's death, and uses this information to blackmail her estranged husband to come back to London to live with her in his mother's home.

In 1918, Violet inquired as to the health of her niece when she rang Hugh in order to get William moved from the infirmary in Leeds to Downton Abbey.

Season Three[]

In Episode 3.08, Violet states that Susan is her godchild and that she and Hugh could not travel to Scotland - as they intended to - until July 1921 because Hugh's work "keeps him nailed to his desk." So Susan asks Violet to let Rose stay with her for a while. She says it is because Rose hates London, but it is later revealed that Rose has taken up with a married man. When Violet later contacts Susan to tell her that Rose had gone back to London to see him, she makes arrangements for Rose to go to the Scotland early with a stodgy aunt.

By September 1921, the relationship between Hugh and Susan has become frosty due to them "living together too long" and "becoming bored", and the two of them are in a bitter "war of words". Her relationship with Rose has grown extremely bitter, and she continously puts Rose down and criticizes her ways.

She later confides to Cora that she is finding Rose "an education" for her. She tells Cora that Hugh wants Rose to stay at Downton while they are in India. She asks Cora to speak to Rose of her well from time to time, and as for her and Hugh, she remarks "We'll soldier on"..

Series Four[]

Not only has Susan gone to India, but Sarah O'Brien has gone with her. Cora is upset that Susan would steal her lady's maid from her.

Rose later maliciously states that she wants to see her mother's face "crumble" when she tells her that she is in love with Jack Ross, a black man, and plans to marry him. Mary later remarks to Ross that Rose greatly dislikes her mother and feels that she is motivated to marry him primarily to shock her rather than love for him.

The Prince of Wales was later hosted by her and Shrimpie after they arrived in India, which he mentions when Rose is presented before him and his father King George V in 1923.

Series Five[]

As Susan arrives along with her husband Hugh for Rose's wedding, they are on the verge of divorcing due to their many years of being very unhappily married. She disapproves of Rose's fiancé Atticus Aldridge and his parents, as they are Jewish. She tries to prevent the wedding from happening by setting Atticus up with a prostitute during his bachelor/stag party. Her husband immediately finds out about it as he found a cheque written by her. Susan vehemently denies doing it, but her husband threatens to tell Rose if she does not own up, and she relents. Still not feeling defeated, Susan announces she and her husband's plans to divorce, in front of Atticus's family. Lord Sinderby is outraged, as he disapproves of divorce, but his wife Lady Sinderby herself threatens to leave Lord Sinderby if he attempts to stop the marriage between Atticus and Rose. Defeated, Susan watches her daughter get married. Rose is disappointed that her mother announced her divorce plans before the wedding took place. Susan tells Rose that she did it out of love, but Rose rebuffs her, saying that they have different views on what love is.


Susan is neurotic and pugnacious, especially with her daughter. Her husband finds himself unable to tolerate these aspects of her personality and they have a very frosty relationship partly due to this. However, she understands duty and married her husband for that reason. She does at one point show a caring and sympathetic side when talking to Cora about her marriage and Rose.


Hugh MacClare[]

Susan and Hugh married out of a sense of duty rather than love when they were young, but got along well enough since they shared common goals and focuses. After their older children got married the two realized how little they had in common anymore and how far they had grown apart. Hugh and Susan's personalities were always opposites. Hugh is laid back, amiable, and passive, while Susan is driven, critical, and particular. The more passive and free Hugh became, the more controlling and severe Susan became to balance him, which in turn lead him to being even more passive, in a destructive cycle. Eventually, Hugh's laid back and easy going nature lead to the ruin of their finances and loss of their estate, due to his lax attitude towards progress and modernizing. With no funds to update the woefully out of date holdings in significant disrepair, they are forced to sell. This situation has lead the driven Susan to be openly disdainful of her husband, and her controlling tendencies to kick into high gear, tipping from critical into actively contemptuous. The couple have constant, vicious arguments, with Susan resenting Hugh for giving way and indulging their youngest daughter, Rose, and for what she views as foolish weakness of character, while Hugh has never found her that lovable, even in during the best of their marriage, and resents her criticism and disdain as making everyone unhappy on purpose and the situation worse.

The pair separate, and then eventually divorce.

Rose MacClare[]

Susan worries constantly about Rose, telling Cora that sometimes she is thinking about her before she opens her eyes in a morning. Her relationship with Rose has become very strained, with Susan's worry showing itself in almost constant criticism of Rose and how she acts, dresses and talks.

Sarah O'Brien[]

Frustrated with her own lady's maid Wilkins, Susan requests help from O'Brien in shaping her hair to be like Cora's. She immediately begins lavishing O'Brien with attention and praise. They discuss traveling and, in the end, O'Brien leaves Downton and Lady Grantham in the middle of the night without a word beforehand, to be Susan's maid. O'Brien remained in India to serve the new governor's wife after Susan returned to England, likely as Susan could no longer afford a lady's maid due to hers and her ex-husband's loss of wealth.


  • "But you are my mother's sister. You should jolly well be on my side" - Susan to Violet on a walk.
  • "Sometimes I find myself worrying about Rose before I open my eyes" - Susan to Cora after the Ball.


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


  • a A note regarding the character of Rosamund Painswick in the Season 3 Press Pack confirms that Rose is the daughter of Susan, the Lady Flintshire, and by implication indicates Susan's surname as MacClare as well.[2]


  1. Series 1 Episode 6: Violet mentions that Susan must have "forgotten the layout of the house." Susan would not know of the layout of the House unless she had visited at some point before 1913.
  2. SpoilerTV, Downton Abbey - Season 3 - Press Pack, page 4, Posted by b3rt4 at Monday, September 03, 2012; excerpt: "The arrival on the scene of Lady Rose MacClare, the daughter of her cousin, Lady Flintshire, will give her more opportunities to interfere."

es:Susan MacClare