DOWNTON ABBEY, which this week received 11 Emmy nominations, is a big favourite with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, according to a member of the cast.
Jessica Brown-Findlay, who plays Lady Sybil Crawley in the ITV period drama which will return to screens in September, met the couple at a party in Los Angeles.
She said: “They said they’d watched the show and were excited to see the second series.
“Prince William is very handsome and Kate is a gorgeous girl. They make a perfect couple. They seemed really at ease and so in love.
“I didn’t think when I was watching the wedding at home on TV that I’d get to meet them. I was nervous the whole night, but what an honour! I’ll never forget that.”
Jessica, 21, was one of a group of talented young actors, writers, cinematographers and producers picked by Bafta to go to the US while the Royal visit was going on.
“To be in that room with so many actors whose work I admire was wonderful,” recalled Jessica.
On Thursday, she was back in London to attend a Downton Abbey dinner at the Savoy Hotel. It was held in aid of the international health charity Merlin, championed by actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham in the series.
Lady Sybil is the youngest and most political of Lord Grantham’s three daughters. Revealing some of her adventures in series two, which is set during the First World War, Jessica added: “She’s still got that rebellious streak in her. That doesn’t disappear. But with the weight of the First World War comes a lot more responsibility.
“The biggest change in Sybil is in that young naivety of ‘surely everything could change’. She’s forced through her own will and by circumstance to see and experience the real world outside the house.
“It’s great that my character is developing like that. You don’t often get the chance to do that.”
The first series of Downton Abbey, screened in 2010, was watched by an estimated 13million viewers and sold to 140 countries worldwide, making unknown actress Jessica into an international star.
“I don’t think any of us expected 13million people to watch it, and for that to then reach out across the world; I have to pinch myself.”
Despite her new status, Jessica says life won’t change much after filming for the new series ends soon.
“I’ll go back to auditions and reading things. Hopefully, there’ll be something in the latter part of the year. A film I did that went to the Edinburgh Film Festival is coming out in September-October, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
By Peter Robertson