Robert Crawley
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Biography for
Robert Crawley (Character)
from "Downton Abbey" (2010)

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Robert, Earl of Grantham, has lived an uncomplicated life until now. He is the husband of Cora, father of Mary, Edith and Sybil, and son of Violet. He married his wife Cora, an American heiress, in 1889, largely for her money, and although there is no denying her cash put the estate back on its feet, over time they have grown to love one another deeply. The marriage contract stipulated that her fortune, once invested in the estate, was inseparable from it and would go to the estate's heir. Neither Robert nor his wife anticipated that this clause (demanded by his late father) would cause problems, since they both confidently expected to have a son and heir. The trouble is they didn't. They had three daughters and now the heir is in question.

Robert has had it pretty easy and his relative lack of real-world experience is often revealed in his poor management of the estate, risky financial decisions and bad investments. While he loves his daughters deeply, he longs for a son who would be a proper heir to the estate. He is also fiercely loyal to his staff.

Background: He was born at Downton in 1870, had a privileged education and attended Eton before Christ College, Oxford, where he studied philosophy. He served in the Second Boer War, where his batman was John Bates, who would later become his valet.