April 1912:- The heir to the title of Earl of Grantham, long time inhabitant of Downton Abbey, perishes on the 'Titanic'. Robert, the benevolent current earl, owes his wealth to his American wife Cora but they have only three daughters, who cannot inherit by law, so another heir must be found by marrying off Mary, the eldest girl. The Duke of Crowborough is a possibility but he is a closet gay who only has eyes for Thomas, the handsome but obnoxious footman, and soon departs. Robert's mother, the dowager, and Cora decide that the next best candidate is Matthew Crawley, a distant cousin, but Cora knows that the spirited Mary will not be happy with their choice. Downstairs there is also unrest as Thomas is passed over for promotion to valet in favour of Robert's batman from the Boer War, John Bates, who now limps due to a war wound. Along with Cora's maid Miss O'Brien, Thomas schemes to discredit Bates in the eyes of butler Carson and forces his resignation but Robert intervenes and keeps him on. Thomas vents his anger on second footman William, but he has an ally in the sensible housekeeper Mrs. Hughes.- Written by don @ minifie-1
When the RMS Titanic sinks in April 1912, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, and his wife Lady Cora learn that his cousin and male heir who would have eventually inherited the title perished along with his son. A marriage had been arranged with Robert's daughter Mary and now the family must find a new heir for the family home and fortune. After a young Duke decides Mary is unsuitable - the fact she will not inherit is the main stumbling point - Cora and her mother-in-law the Dowager Countess plot to have Mary marry the new heir, a third cousin named Matthew Crawley. Below stairs a new valet, John Bates arrives. He and the Earl of Grantham served together in the Boer War and the fact that Bates is lame and uses a cane to get about raises more than a few eyebrows. There's also a bit of ill-feeling as first footman Thomas had hoped to be promoted to the valet position. He begins to spread rumors that Bates can't do the job and Carson the butler decides that he just won't do.- Written by garykmcd
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