Overlooked Edith makes a run for feminist-icon status
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Jilted by suitors, insulted by her older sibling, pitied by her parents: there’s a reason Lady Edith, Downton Abbey’s middle sister to end all middle sisters, has a reputation as a sad sack.
But as the show’s fourth season, set in 1922, kicks off for U.S. viewers, things have started to change for Edith–and not just because one sister is dead and the other’s a widow. She’s the latest fictional fighter in the history of women’s rights, an ur–career woman and the precursor to Mad Men’s Peggy Olson and Masters of Sex’s Virginia Johnson.
“She would have been the most conventional of the three girls,” says Laura Carmichael, the actress who portrays Lady Edith, “but those opportunities weren’t there for her.