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Downton Abbey: Lady Violet's Foolproof Guide to Taking Charge

Mar 3 2016 - 6:00pm

Time and time again, Dame Maggie Smith has turned in one solid season after another as our dearest Dowager Countess Lady Violet on Downton Abbey. The strong female characters of the PBS show are multifaceted and flawed, and we see a little of ourselves in each of them. But the strongest and most outspoken of the bunch is clearly Lady Violet [1], Dowager Countess of Grantham, played to perfection by Maggie. And while she's a bit rough around the edges (and her advice is far from politically correct, by today's standards), she says it how it is and doesn't let her age or gender prevent her from getting things done. To commemorate (and mourn) Photo courtesy PBS [2]

Cora Crawley: "Are we to be friends then?"

Lady Violet: "We are allies, which can be a good deal more effective."

Photo courtesy PBS [3]

"Well, give him a date for when Mary's out of mourning. No one wants to kiss a girl in black."

Photo courtesy PBS [4]

Mrs. Crawley: "I'll take that as a compliment."

Lady Violet: "Oh, I must have said it wrong."

Photo courtesy PBS [5]

Sybil Crawley: "No one ever learned anything from a governess except for French, and how to curtsy."

Lady Violet: "What more do you need?"

Photo courtesy PBS [6]

Mary Crawley: "Sybil is entitled to her opinions."

Lady Violet: "No. She isn't until she is married, then her husband will tell her what her opinions are."

Photo courtesy PBS [7]

"What's a weekend?"

Photo courtesy PBS [8]

"Your quarrel is with my daughter, Rosamund, and not with me. So put that in your pipe and smoke it."

Photo courtesy PBS [9]

"We'll just have to take her abroad. In these moments you can normally find an Italian who isn't too picky."

Photo courtesy PBS [10]

"I'm a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose."

Photo courtesy PBS [11]

Lady Violet: "Wasn't there a masked ball in Paris when cholera broke out? Half the guests were dead before they left the ballroom."

Robert Crawley: "Thank you, Mama. That's cheered us up no end."

Photo courtesy PBS [12]

Cora Crawley: "I hate to go behind Robert's back."

Lady Violet: "That is a scruple no successful wife can afford."

Photo courtesy PBS [13]

"Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class."

Photo courtesy PBS [14]

"One can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We'd all be in a state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper."

Photo courtesy PBS [15]

"We can't have him assassinated. I suppose."

Photo courtesy PBS [16]

"Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an HG Wells novel."

Photo courtesy PBS [17]

"Why does every day involve a fight with an American?"

Photo courtesy PBS [18]

Cora Crawley: "I might send [Mary] over to visit my aunt. She could get to know New York."

Lady Violet: "Oh, I don't think things are quite that desperate."

Photo courtesy PBS [19]

"Robert, people like us are never unhappily married."

Photo courtesy PBS [20]

"No one can accuse me of being modern, but even I can see it's no crime to be young."

Photo courtesy PBS [21]

"I am a woman of many parts."

Photo courtesy PBS [22]

"An aristocrat with no servants is as much use to the county as a glass hammer."

Photo courtesy PBS [23]

"If we only had moral thoughts, what would the poor churchmen find to do?"

Photo courtesy PBS [24]

"It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere."

Photo courtesy PBS [25]

"I wonder your halo doesn't grow heavy. It must be like wearing a tiara 'round the clock."

Photo courtesy PBS [26]

"No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house . . . especially somebody they didn't even know."

Photo courtesy PBS [27]

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