10 Times the Dowager Countess Proved She Was the Original Queen of Shade


For fives years now, we’ve seen love, heartache, and scandal, both upstairs and downstairs at Downton Abbey. As we head into the series’ final season, let’s take a moment to pay respect to the true star of the show: the Dowager clapback. Here are some of Lady Grantham’s best quotes, confirming that no one is safe from the sass of a Countess.

When Someone Needs to be Taken Down a Notch

“Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” 

Episode 6.1, to Isobel Crawley after arguing about the restructure of a local hospital.

If Someone Questions You

Isobel: “How you hate to be wrong.”
Dowager: “I wouldn’t know, I’m not familiar with the sensation.”

Episode 4.5, when Isobel tells the Dowager she has incorrectly accused a servant of stealing.

When Someone Plays the Martyr

“I wonder your halo doesn’t grow heavy, it must be like wearing a tiara round the clock.”

Episode 4.4, to Isobel after she convinced her into hiring an unemployed young local as an assistant gardener.

When You Want Someone to Tell a White Lie

Dr. Clark: “You want me to lie?”
Dowager: “Lie is so unmusical a word.”

Episode 3.5, when trying to convince Dr. Clarkson of lying to the Lord and Lady of Grantham about being able to save Sybil.

Explaining the Difference Between Class and Crass

“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”


Demonstrating Tough Love

“You are a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.”


When Someone is Underdressed at a Dinner Party

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I thought you were a waiter.”

Episode 3.2 to Robert, dressed in a black tie and white shirt at dinner instead of his formal evening-dress shirt and white tie.

Sage Advice on Staying High Brow

“Don’t be defeatist, dear, it’s very middle class.”

Episode 2.8, to Edith as she is arranging wedding presents for Mary and wonders if she will ever get married or just remain the "maiden aunt."

How to Bid Someone a Proper Goodbye

Sir Richard: “I doubt we’ll meet again.”
Dowager: “Do you promise?”

Episode 2.8, to Richard Carlisle, tabloid publisher and former fiancé of Mary, when he exits their lives for good.

On Giving Compliments

Isobel: “I take that as a compliment.”
Dowager: “I must have said it wrong.”

Episode 1.4, taking a jab at Isobel once again.

On Foreign Policy

“One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We’d all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper.”

Episode 1.3, to Cora on the unfortunate death of Turkish diplomat, Kemal Pamuk, in their home.

For more about Downton Abbey, check out the Downton Abbey Wikia with 690 pages.

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