Loving husband, father and head of the family, the Earl of Grantham has to move with the times even if that means changing the face of Downton Abbey more dramatically than ever before. To protect the family and the estate, Robert has some difficult decisions to make as he continues to try and adapt to the pace of twentieth century change.
As an American in English upper class society her outlook is often more liberal than her husband’s and this conflict will reappear in the final series as she refuses to give in to her mother-in-law’s demands. Cora is supportive of both Mary and Edith’s ambitions and relishes her role as grandmother to Sybbie, George and Marigold but as her family need her less and less, she is seeking a purpose.
Crawley family matriarch Violet often give the impression she has been dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century but her refusal to embrace modernity frequently has its roots in her desire to protect her family and the estate. Her sharp tongue is regularly her weapon of choice and her wit and wisdom make her a formidable opponent. She has a softer side and will go to great lengths to ensure the happiness of those she holds dear. Her unlikely companionship with Isobel continues to flourish and will prove very useful.
As the oldest daughter but unable to inherit the estate, Mary’s choice of partner and subsequent provision of an heir was vital to Downton’s future. Tragically husband Mathew was killed on the day the pair became a father to George. Mary has had to fight to establish herself and is now keen to step into Tom’s shoes. Managing to stay one step ahead of scandal, she has had a colourful love life to date and no shortage of suitors but is she ready to settle down again? Or will her priorities lie elsewhere?
Never quite able to live up to older sister Mary, Edith is looking for lasting happiness. Reunited with her daughter, she has embraced motherhood and delights in every aspect of Marigold’s upbringing. Since inheriting Michael Gregson’s publishing company, she has been juggling her parenting with the demands of her magazine in London. Is it time for Edith has to make a decision on which direction to take her life in?
Robert's only sibling and widow of the wealthy Marmaduke Painswick, Rosamund has no children of her own and likes to get involved in the lives of her nieces. It was Rosamund who took a pregnant Edith to Switzerland to conceal her condition and she is much more open-minded than she cares to let on. She and Edith have grown close although her advice can conflicts with Robert and Cora’s leading to clashes.
Mother-in-law of Mary, Isobel overcame her grief over the death of Matthew to play resume a vibrant and active role in the family. Her engagement to Lord Merton is off but the two remain friends despite the meddling of his children. Her relationship with Violet continues to be turbulent but the two work best as allies and we continue to see why.
Carson is the quintessential butler and is consistently loyal the the Crawleys. With his own wedding pending he will find himself caught between the needs of the family and the expectations of his future wife Mrs Hughes. Like Lord Grantham he struggles with change and tries to cling on to the way of life he holds so precious.