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The Wit And Wisdom Of Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess

11/03/2015 14:14 | Updated 11 March 2015
ITV

To paraphrase another great wit: rumours of her leaving appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

Which is a relief. Because 'Downton Abbey' without its marvellous matriarch - Dame Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess - would be a duller place indeed.

From quick-witted observations to sharp-tongued ripostes, here are some of the finest, funniest bon mots ever uttered by Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Whether you're dealing with foreigners, friends or whining women, we highly recommend using them when the social occasion arises...

  • 1 'At my age, one must ration one's excitement.'
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  • 2 'No one wants to kiss a girl in black.'
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  • 3 'There's nothing simpler than avoiding people you don't like. Avoiding one's friends, that's the real test.'
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  • 4 'Every woman goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.'
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  • 5 'When I'm with her, I'm reminded of the virtues of the English.'
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  • 6 'It's the job of grandmothers to interfere.'
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  • 7 'Principles are like prayers; noble, of course, but awkward at a party.'
  • 8 'Stop whining and find something to do.'
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  • 9 'I wonder your halo doesn't grow heavy, it must be like wearing a tiara round the clock.'
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  • 10 'A woman of my age can face reality far better than most men.'
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  • 11 'Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.'
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  • 12 'Why does every day involve a fight with an American?
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  • 13 'Men notice nothing.'
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  • 14 'I'm so sorry, I thought you were a waiter.'
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  • 15 'One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We’d all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper.'
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  • 16 'I am a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.'
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  • 17 'What is a weekend?'
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  • 18 'Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class.'

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Behind The Scenes At 'Downton Abbey'
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