From George Clooney to Maggie Gyllenhaal, Downton Abbey has welcomed a hoard of celebrity royalty through its doors over the years, but now the cast of the ITV drama are busy preparing for a visit from real-life royalty when the Duchess of Cambridge stops by next week.
Although, rather than grace the stately rooms of Highclere Castle, the future queen will head to London’s Ealing Studios next Thursday to watch the filming of a scene taking place in the servants’ quarters.
The Duchess – who is reportedly a fan of the show – will first meet with Lord and Lady Granthan (played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) as she watches production on the upcoming sixth series.
During her time on set, she’ll also meet with creator and writer Julian Fellowes and cast members Dame Maggie Smith (the Dowager Countess), Phyllis Logan (Isobel), Robert James-Collier (Thomas), Lesley Nicol (Mrs Patmore) and Sophie McShera (Daisy), before touring the make-up, costume and set-building departments.
According to Kensington Palace, the royal visit was arranged to “celebrate the success of the award-winning production” which has found worldwide acclaim and won numerous Golden Globe and Emmy Awards during its five series.
There has long been speculation that Downton Abbey’s sixth series will be its last, although the cast and showrunner Julian Fellowes have so far refused to confirm whether the household will close its doors for good when the drama returns this autumn.