What happened to Lady Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey: A New Era?

As the cast for Downton Abbey 3 was announced, fans will have spotted a name missing from the list. Maggie Smith isn't back. What happened to Lady Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey: A New Era?
Downton Abbey -- Courtesy of BritBox
Downton Abbey -- Courtesy of BritBox /

Lady Violet Crawley was certainly a favorite for many Downton Abbey fans. Those who haven’t watched the movies yet may have been surprised to learn that Maggie Smith isn’t in the cast returning for the series. Well, that’s due to the events in the second movie.

From the beginning, Violet has been that reminder of a time before. She wasn’t too interested in changing her ways, and she brought some brilliant one-liners because of that. At the same time, she was there for her granddaughters, and she made sure they knew how to act as they grew up and married.

Lady Violet reveals her illness in the first Downton Abbey movie

The first movie sets up the death in the second. Lady Violet Crawley reveals to her family that she has an illness that she won’t recover from.

We see her start to succumb to that illness throughout the second movie. It leads to the heartbreaking scene at the end of A New Era, which includes that brilliant one-liner, “Stop that noise. I can’t hear myself die.”

This was an important moment in the second movie. There’s already a passing of the torch at the end of the first. Violet knows she doesn’t have long left, and it’s Mary who needs to take up the role Violet had. Then the second movie gives her some time to say goodbye to everyone. We know that people don’t live forever, and that’s something that makes this death so important. Sometimes, we think people may live forever because they are such strong-willed characters.

There is the bittersweet funeral at the end of A New Era, with the entire house paying their respects. This furthered the reminder that Mary is now stepping into her grandmother’s shoes, and that’s sure to be where we find her in the third movie.

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