Recently a friend of mine was telling me about a story she heard on NPR about the Downton Abbey Law. Since Princess Galen prefers to listen to the soundtrack to Frozen non-stop in the car, I hadn’t heard the story, but I listened to it (and so can you) here.
Some of you may know that the British Parliament recently changed British law so that the first-born child, be it boy or girl, can inherit the throne. We haven’t tested this yet, as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a boy, Prince George, but going forward females will be equal to men in terms of inheriting the throne.
I suppose it follows then that British aristocrats would want the same rights. The laws of inheritance in the Regency period I write about are much the same as they are now in England. If one is a the first-born daughter of a duke or an earl or a marquess, or any of the peers, you get neither the land nor the title. It goes to your brother. If you don’t have a brother, it goes to the next closest male relative.
This is why the law is called the Downton Abbey Law. If you watch Downton, you may remember in the first episode that Lord Grantham’s heir and his son are killed on the Titanic. The earl has no sons, only daughters, and so a search for the next male relative begins. It’s a distant third-cousin, a lawyer (shudder—he works for a living), and so the story continues.
I believe the law has a good chance of passing, and I support it. After all, sexism is sexism, even if it’s rooted in history and tradition. The history and tradition are quite lovely and dear to me, as I spend most of my days immersed in them. I’ll be sad to see the laws change, sad to see one more thing from the past turned over, but I am glad to see women given more rights.
What do you think?
Anne won a copy of TRUE SPIES. Congrats, Anne!
This blog originally appeared in January. 2013. I’ve updated it at the end…
RELAX: NO SPOILERS IN THIS BLOG
On Sunday, January 6, season 3 of Downton Abbey premiered in the U.S. Many of you, like me, have been waiting months and months for it to resume. We’ve had to carefully avoid any spoilers from over the pond, where it was already showing, and we had to watch the first and second seasons again in preparation.
Some of you are wondering what all the fuss is about. That’s easy.
1. The Clothes
Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil wear fabulous clothes.
2. The on-again-off-again love affair between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley is riveting and often surprising. It doesn’t hurt that Dan Stevens, who plays our hero, is easy on the eyes.
3. The conflicts dealing with the servants below stairs are just as fascinating as those dealing with the gentry. In fact, sometimes they’re even more interesting. Love, hate, money, scandal, treachery, murder…that’s what makes Downton Abbey so popular.
Are you watching Downton Abbey? If not, why not? If so, what do you like about it? Warn us if you include any spoliers!
It breaks my heart to read that blog. Little did I know what awaited our dear Crawley family. So much tragedy. Guess what? Downton is starting again in September. September? What? Yes, it’s playing in the UK. Want to watch it when the Brits do? I found this information on how to watch Season 3 using Tunnel Bear. It’s only $4.99/month. Here’s the link with the info for Season 3. I’ll be watching Tunnel Bear for season 4.
I’ve lived a lot of my life feeling a bit obscure. You will not think me obscure, dear readers, because you probably know most of the references I make. But the world at-large? Not so much.
Take my car. I have these bumper stickers.
Do you know how many random people have asked me what they mean? A hundred, at least. Do you know how many random people have told me they like them? Three.
Let’s talk about the Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton. The other day I was walking with a mom at summer camp and I mentioned planning a soiree where fascinators were de rigeur in the event Kate delivered while I was at the big Romance Writer’s of America conference. The mom said, “Kate who? Avery’s mom?” Sigh.
And let’s take Downton Abbey. Sometime during the second season I figured everyone had seen it because it was a daily topic of conversation with my tweeps and Facebook friends, and I was chatting about Mary Crawley and Anna and Bates while on a long run with some friends. I heard crickets chirping. At first, I thought they were just trying to catch their breath. Finally, someone said, “What is Downtown Abbey?” Oh, no.
Are you ever excited about things and feel like you have no one but your virtual friends to talk with about them? Tell us! Maybe we can be excited too.
I should have had this blog post set to publish shortly after midnight, but I have to confess I forgot I was even scheduled for today till I woke up with morning. This is so not like me! I can only plead Downton Abbey intoxication.
I rarely get wound up about TV shows. It has to be something truly extraordinary. But shortly after Christmas I accidentally happened on about the last 15 minutes of the final episode of Downton Abbey‘s 2nd season. That was more than enough to convince me that I had to discover who these people were. I guess I waffled on about it quite a bit, because my DH surprised me with Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD. So I’ve been wallowing in the world of Downton Abbey since last Thursday and am now “caught up” with the adventures of the upstairs and downstairs denizens of that great house. Thank heaven I’m between book projects right now or I’d be feeling frightfully guilty–not guilty enough to quit, of course, but guilty in any case.
Allow me to lure you into its web. My DH calls it a post-Edwardian soap opera, and I suppose that’s fair from a masculine point of view. It’s actually a slice of a world gone by, all the glittering wonderful things that are some the reasons I write historical romance. It has a large and sharply drawn cast–16 principals! They are caught up in the stratifications of their society, the exaggerated manners, the social conventions that fascinate me as well. There’s the larger canvas of the quickly changing world of Europe as WWI breaks out. And of course, the gorgeous gowns of the ladies and the house itself, which actually serves as a character in its own right.
I promise to get back to writing now. But before I do, I’d love to chat with you about this latest obsession of mine. If you follow Downton, who’s your favorite character and why? Are there any you’re upset with? Who do you think has had the strongest character growth since the beginning? If you had to sack one of the servants, who would you let go? What’s your favorite Lady Violet (the dowager Countess of Grantham) zinger?
“Nothing succeeds like excess.” ~ Lady Violet
Mia’s newest release is a regency romp called WAKING UP WITH A RAKE! RT BookReviews calls it “deliciously scandalous!” Welcome to Barrowdell, a grand house in the Lake District. It’s the setting for Book 1 in the Royal Rakes series, so you’ll want to discover this sparkling world from the very beginning.
To prevent three royal dukes from marrying their way onto the throne, heroic, selfless agents for the crown will be dispatched…to seduce the dukes’ intended brides. These wickedly debauched rakes will rumple sheets and cause a scandal. But they just might fall into their own trap…
Leave a comment or question to be entered into the drawing from Sourcebooks for a copy of WAKING UP WITH A RAKE. One lucky winner will be randomly chosen. US/Canada only, please.