Character: Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
(played by Dame Maggie Smith)
Lady Grantham (b.1850) is the widow of the late Earl of Grantham and mother to the current Earl and his sister Rosamund. She is a strong matriarchal figure and as the daughter of a baronet and wife and mother to Earls believes particularly strongly in the aristocracy keeping within its own class. She is also keen to see the Abbey, as well as the title, stay within her immediate family. She often quarrels with those she thinks beneath her in class, most notably Isobel Crawley.