Character: Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham
(played by Elizabeth McGovern)
Cora Crawley nee Levinson (b.1868) was born an American, the daughter of a millionaire dry goods store owner. Her mother brought her to England as a young girl to participate in the “season” and to meet and hopefully marry an aristocratic husband. She married Robert Crawley despite his mother’s disapproval of her as not being from the nobility. A part of her marriage agreement tied her fortune to whoever inherits the Grantham estate; this causes many difficulties as she only has female children and so several times it looks as though her money will end up going to virtual strangers.