Lady Mary is well known for her icy tongue, mean stare and cold exterior – even if her marriage to Matthew mellowed her somewhat in series three – so we were all wondering how motherhood would suit her. Especially when her husband went and died at the wheel of his vintage car just hours after she'd given birth.
Just as we'd suspected, the start of series four sees the newly-widowed Mary struggling to bond with her baby boy. "In the beginning he just reminds her of Matthew every time she looks at him," said Michelle Dockery at the launch of the new series – but while Mary finds it hard to be motherly to her child, the actress who plays her has been struggling herself... to keep her own maternal urges under wraps.
"I found it really hard," Dockery told RadioTimes.com. "At times I’d really want to cuddle them but because she’s Mary, because she’s quite practical, I think that’s the sort of mother that she’d be…"
"I had to resist that really," added Dockery, "because Mary’s not maybe as kind or affectionate as I would be with a baby."
"We don’t work as much with the children as you'd think – and as I would have hoped, because they are just gorgeous – the twins, the little boys, and also Sybie, the little girl who plays Sybil’s daughter. But of course they, Branson and Mary, wouldn’t have spent as much time as you would normally with their child because of the position that they are in."
Will Mary ever find that maternal bond? And, more importantly, will Dockery ever get to properly cuddle those babies?
"She does start to bond with the baby as it goes on," the 31-year-old actress assures us.
Downton Abbey returns to ITV later this month