What Downton Abbey Gets Right (and Wrong) About 20th Century England

Everett Collection / Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

For many of us, Downton Abbey has taught us a lot about the ins and outs of the fading aristocracy in early 20th century England. How much of Downton is historically accurate, though, and how much of it is exaggerated for dramatic effect?

Throughout its entire run, Downton employed historical consultants and drew on the family knowledge of series creator Julian Fellowes. Even so, it’s a fictional series, with many minor and major “edits” to make a more dramatically compelling and relatable story. While some of those inaccuracies are minor (think linguistic quirks and slang that wasn’t popular yet), a few major elements of the show and movies are worth revisiting to see if they pass historical muster. So if you’ve ever wondered about how realistic Downton Abbey has been over the years, this is for you!

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