Lady Marjorie Bellamy

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Lady Marjorie with Captain Hammond, 1906

The Lady Marjorie Helen Sybil Bellamy (nee Talbot-Carey; 6 May 1860 or 12 July 1864 – 15 April 1912) was a fictional character in the ITV drama Upstairs, Downstairs. She was portrayed by Rachel Gurney.

Early life[edit]

Lady Marjorie was born on 6 May 1860, or according to another episode 12 July 1864, at Southwold, Wiltshire in the home of her wealthy parents, Walter Talbot-Carey, 12th Earl of Southwold and Mabel, the Countess of Southwold. The Earl was a major influence in the Conservative Party. She had one brother, Hugo, Viscount Ashby, who later became 13th Earl of Southwold. As well as this, she had a paternal aunt and uncle and cousin, who succeeded Hugo as Earl of Southwold.

Despite parental objections, she ended up marrying the younger son of a country parson, Richard Bellamy in 1880 and they lived rent free in a grand Victorian townhouse which Lady Marjorie's father the Earl of Southwold owned the lease, 165, Eaton Place in London's fashionable Belgravia. They had two children, James (born 1881) and Elizabeth (born 1887). Shortly before their marriage, Richard had become a Conservative MP with the help of her father.

Marriage and children[edit]

Lady Marjorie was portrayed as elegant and having something of the hauteur of women of her age and class but also as basically kind. She maintained social and class distinctions at all times and, unlike her upright husband, is less concerned about absolute moral values than appearances.

In the summer of 1906, she had an affair with a much younger man, Charles Victor Hammond, a Captain in the Khyber Rifles and a friend of her son. After the affair had been going on for some time (presumed secret but never was), he asked her to run off with him but she refused as she realised her duty to her family. Her lover was later, by then a Major, killed during a battle in India in 1909. He was awarded the Victoria Cross. In a later episode, a man (Mr.Dooley) who had been Hammond's military batman (personal attendant) showed up with a packet of love letters she had written to him. Rebuffed at the front door of 165 Eaton Place by Mr. Hudson (the butler) as an "unwashed Irish vagrant", he went around to the mews to make himself agreeable to Thomas the chauffeur. In a sting attempt by the chauffeur, who was given the letters for the purpose of negotiating with Lady Marjorie, monies were extorted from both Bellamys, each unknown to the other, with the convoluted result that ended with Mr. Dooley in jail (on an unrelated charge) and all monies restored to the individuals—with Thomas receiving a gratuity from each of the Bellamys. She was always having trouble with her two children. Elizabeth was a wild child and flirted with socialism, and she married in 1908 a man who failed to consummate their marriage (the story line all but confirms his homosexuality though Lawrence had no problem sleeping with Evelyn Larkin, Elizabeth's bohemian/radical friend), and she had an affair with his publisher at the behest of her husband. As a result, Elizabeth became pregnant and delivered a daughter, Lucy Elizabeth, her marriage was ended, and her husband dispatched to the continent "with a modest pension" from the Bellamys "to keep him happy" (and quiet) about the sordid affair. In 1908, James, who was always her favourite, had an affair with the housemaid Sarah and she ended up expecting. James was sent to India. Sarah was shipped off to Southwold, but returned to Eaton Place in May 1909 on her own and unhappy, saying "No one said anything to me one day to the next!" Sarah was in labour while the King was dining upstairs, and the baby boy was still-born.

Death[edit]

On 15 April 1912 Lady Marjorie and her lady's maid, Miss Roberts, along with Lady Marjorie's brother the new Lord Southwold and his new wife (a widow, Marion Worsely, mother of Georgina by her previous marriage) were passengers on the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. They were both presumed dead, but Roberts survived and later informed the family that Lady Marjorie had at first refused to go out on deck as it was too cold. When ordered to by the ship's crew, Lady Marjorie and Roberts found on deck a little girl crying she had lost her mother. Lady Marjorie pressed her jewel case into Roberts' hands, her last words being "Keep this safe for me, Roberts."; she then took the little girl's hand, saying she would help her find her mother. This was the last time Roberts saw her Ladyship. Roberts was forcibly placed into a lifeboat before Lady Marjorie returned, and even though there was hardly anyone aboard the lifeboat the crew refused to return to the ship for fear of being sucked down as the Titanic sank. The next day Roberts was rescued along with the other survivors, but was in a state of shock so no one knew her identity, with the result that both were listed as dead. Later when she came to in a New York City hospital she realised who she was and subsequently made her way back to London.

Accuracy of dates[edit]

The episode "A Family Gathering" has the Bellamys celebrating Lady Marjorie's birthday on the same day as The King died, 6 May. In the episode "Desirous of Change", her birthday is, however, said to be 12 July. However the 12 July date is from a book and most likely a typical error common in most books about families. Since the Bellamys celebrate the 6 May onscreen it is more likely to be her birthday.

James in novelisations is said to be 23 in 1904 at his entrance in "Board Wages". In 1912 when he first met Hazel, Lady Prudence remarks to Richard that James is 30 now and that his other friends are married. Actually in 1912 James would have been 31 but he may have not had a birthday yet or Lady Prudence felt herself accurate enough to round off his age to 30. However, as a lifelong friend of Lady Marjorie she should have known James' exact age.

Elizabeth's birth of 1887 is more consistent in the series. She comes back from schooling in Germany as a 17-year-old in 1905 (she possibly has a late year birthday). Later when Elizabeth becomes involved with Julius Karekin, Richard is heard to say that "...Elizabeth is 23 now!" which would have been late 1909 or early 1910. Once again Richard should have known the exact age of his own daughter.