Downton Abbey: 5 Things The Abbey Taught Me About Life

Downtown Abbey Style Manor

To celebrate the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie release…

Over the course of 6 tea-soaked, gossip-filled, love-struck, and Monarch-supporting seasons we peered into the lives of the Crawley family and their estate, Downton Abbey. We watched as people fell in love, endured wars, waded through heartache, and faced unknown futures… 

Through it all, we learned more than a few noteworthy tidbits from the Crawley clan. In celebration of the upcoming release of the Downton movie, I wanted to share the 5 life-lessons I’ve learned from Downton Abbey.

Attitude is Everything

In the world of Downton Abbey, there really is no one quite like Lady Mary. The situations she finds herself in and the rumors she faces are always the talk of the town. 

But, what I learned from her is that there are truly no circumstances you cannot overcome by keeping your chin up and deciding to get through it. Let’s take, for instance, her string of less-than-ideal suitors, before and post Matthew… We all remember the drama that followed. 

Lady Mary inevitably decides to hold her head high and continue to carry on as if nothing ever happened. Lucky for me any scenario I face seems to be much less blush-worthy, but albeit, if Lady Mary can shrug things off than so can I!

Clothes May Not Make the Man (But they sure help!)

Men's suit and dress shirt

Let’s just take a moment and talk about, in my opinion, the best character in the whole series… Tom Branson! 

Guys, there’s just no denying just how lovable he is! 

He started out as the chauffeur and ultimately married into the Crawley family, inevitably winning over everyone with his kind heart and boyish charm. Now we can all remember the turmoil that came from Sybil and Tom’s romance but, in time, we saw how he learned to adjust to his new role in the family. 

Can putting on a tuxedo instantly make everyone love you? No. But, can putting on a tuxedo help you be more confident in unnerving situations? 

How many dinner parties did we have to endure watching Tom being thrown under the proverbial Model-T?? More than I’d like to remember… But something happened over time that made Tom surer of himself. Maybe it started when he put on that tuxedo and decided to give it a shot.

Don’t Underestimate a Woman

I think we can all agree there was no character more powerful than Violet Crawley. The matriarch of the family who, more often than not, got whatever outcome she so desired. 

The opinionated, judgemental and quick-witted Violet used her strengths to persuade any opposing party into total submission. We did, on more than one occasion, see her softer side appeal to other members of the family and the community which helped soften the edges that were Lady Crawley. 

But, what I truly came to admire was her unwillingness to be silenced. She had thoughts and opinions that needed to be heard and she would not be ignored. As women, it sometimes feels like we play in a man’s world, but it’s so important to remind ourselves that our voice matters. I think we could all use a little more of that Lady Crawley umph throughout our days! 

Shortcuts Don’t Work

Thomas Barrow made quite a name for himself over the years at Downton, and not for good reasons. His character truly displayed, repeatedly, things NOT to do to get ahead; manipulation, lying, cheating, stealing and bribing, just to name a few. 

It seemed as if all of Mr. Barrows time at Downton was spent trying to cook up a scheme to help him get ahead. And although he spun his wheels frequently trying to further himself in the house ranks, he never ended up anywhere but back at square one. 

I won’t lie, watching him repeatedly make enemies and sabotage himself was not my favorite part of the series, but we do get a bit of redemption out of him by the end of the show as he stepped into a new roll to replace a retiring Carson. Overall, Thomas truly is the poster child for the saying “On the road to success there are no shortcuts”.

Make memories

Collection of Polaroid Photos.
The business of life is the acquisition of memories. In the end, that’s all there is.
— Charles Carson

I feel like there were probably 100+ different things Carson says throughout the series that were noteworthy, but this single line stuck out to me to be so very important and true. Memories are all we’ll have at the end of this life that are worth anything. Our youth fades, our kids go out on their own and times will inevitably change. But the memories we make now are the things that will bring us joy for the rest of our lives. So lets worry a little less about the small stuff and focus more on the people around us that we love. Let’s go make some memories together. 

FamilySamantha HorningComment