Why Lady Rose MacClare (Lily James) Isn’t in Downton Abbey Film

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Lily James has been on our fashion radar ever since she played the titular character in Cinderella and Lady Rose MacClare in the British historical drama television series Downton Abbey. And, as is befitting, she’s no stranger to looking regal in gowns every time she steps on the red carpet.

But while on a promo tour for her action comedy horror film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Lily proved that she also knows how to have fun with her style.

Lily James wears her hair down as she arrives at Universal Studios for an interview with Mario LopezLily James wears her hair down as she arrives at Universal Studios in Los Angeles for an interview with Mario Lopez on “Extra” on January 25, 2016

In January 2016, the then 26-year-old actress looked chic as she headed to Universal Studios in Los Angeles for an interview with Mario Lopez for “Extra.”

Why did Lily James leave Downton Abbey?

Joining the cast in series three of Downton Abbey, Lily James portrayed Lady Rose Aldridge, the youngest child of Hugh and Susan MacClare. In an interview with Vogue in February 2013, Lily revealed how she got the role.

Before Downton I was doing a couple plays called Play House and Definitely the Bahamas; both by Martin Crimp, at Richmond’s Orange Tree Theatre.

Lily James filming Downton Abbey as Lady Rose AldridgeLily James filming Downton Abbey as Lady Rose Aldridge in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, on March 1, 2013

I was actually going through customs on my way back from holidaying in Cyprus when I got the call that I had the audition for Downton—there was all this drama because I had blonde hair, and I didn’t have time to dye it back to brunette.

Of course, I had just dyed it back to brown when they rang and said I had the part—and they wound up putting me in a blonde wig when we began shooting. Typical!

Her first appearance was in episode eight of season 3, which aired on November 4, 2012, when Lily James was 23-years-old. Her final appearance was in the season finale that aired on December 25, 2015.

Rose Aldridge marries Atticus Aldridge (Matt Barber), the Jewish son of Lord and Lady Sinderby, and moves with him to New York. Her character’s move meant Lily James wasn’t able to appear in the Downton Abbey movie that was released in 2019.

“I’m sadly not, but I’m so excited for it — I’m going to be front row,” James told People in July 2018 when asked if she’d be part of the Downton Abbey movie.

Hugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera, Phyllis Logan, creator Julian Fellowes, and Lily James celebrate the Best Drama Award for Downtown AbbeyHugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera, Phyllis Logan, creator Julian Fellowes, and Lily James celebrate the Best Drama Award for Downtown Abbey at National Television Awards at 02 Arena on January 23, 2013, in London, England

“I spoke to Laura [Carmichael] not long ago and was texting Michelle [Dockery] about Love Island and it’s going to be really exciting. And the whole gang is coming back.”

“My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back,” James explained. “I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie, it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline. There was no space for Rose.”

Lily James arrives at Universal Studios for an interview with Mario LopezLily James arrives at Universal Studios for an interview with Mario Lopez

For her interview with Mario Lopez, Lily wore a French Connection-designed black velvet jumpsuit, which featured a plunging neckline and long sleeves.

Lily James wears a French Connection black jumpsuit for an appearance on "Extra"Lily James wears a French Connection black jumpsuit for an appearance on “Extra”

The actress added some chic contrast to her look with a pair of animal-print pumps and drew further attention to her cleavage by accessorizing with an emerald pendant necklace.

Lily James accessorizes with a pendant necklaceLily James accessorizes with a pendant necklace

To complete the simple but chic look, the “Downton Abbey” star wore her shoulder-length tresses in tousled waves and sported soft, minimal makeup that allowed her natural beauty to shine through.

Lily James waves as she arrives on the set of "Extra" in a French Connection jumpsuitLily James waves as she arrives on the set of “Extra” in a French Connection jumpsuit

Lily James plays with her hair as she arrives on the set of "Extra"Lily James plays with her hair as she arrives on the set of “Extra”

Lily finished her otherwise colorless look with a pair of Charlotte Olympia “Alix” pumps. These spotted calf hair shoes feature about 1.33-inch platforms and 5.75-inch towering block heels.

Lily James's feet in animal-print Charlotte Olympia platformsLily James’s feet in animal-print Charlotte Olympia platforms

Lily James's feet in platform "Alix" pumpsLily James’s feet in platform “Alix” pumps

These Charlotte Olympia pumps are exclusively available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Charlotte Olympia "Alix" Animal Print PumpsCharlotte Olympia “Alix” Animal Print Pumps, $995

Credit: Michael Wright / WENN / Lia Toby
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