As he welcomed her to the set of Downton Abbey today, creator Julian Fellowes credited the Duchess of Cambridge with helping to put the show on the map. A very pregnant Kate Middleton was visiting Ealing Studios to tour the sets and meet the Downton cast — save for Maggie Smith who had to beg off due to being under the weather. According to local reports, Fellowes said in his opening speech, “You may know that one of the hardest things about
selling a new show or movie or anything is just letting the people know it’s there. And it so happens that just as we were trying to shift Downton in America, you actually made a visit and someone said, had you ever heard of a show called Downton Abbey. And you said you’d heard of it, you’d watched it, you’d enjoyed it. This went into the media like an exocet missile and soon all of America and most of the world knew it and as a result our challenge faded away.”
Royal visits are usually about a half hour long, but the avowed fan spent two hours at Ealing where Downton is shooting its 6th season. She was invited to tour the set and accepted so she could “help celebrate what is one of the most successful products of the UK’s creative industries, and one of Britain’s greatest cultural exports,” aides told the media. Among the things she learned? Mrs Patmore’s portrayer, Lesley Niccol, is not a real cook, and all of the kitchen cabinets are glued shut, except for one.
Downton exec producer Gareth Neame said the Duchess “is a great fan of the show so it was interesting to see her step into the world-renowned sets and see the characters come to life. She was so incredibly gracious to spend time with our actors and those behind the camera who bring the saga of the Crawley family to life.”
Last summer, Kate’s grandmother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, stopped by the Belfast set of HBO‘s Game Of Thrones as part of a three-day Royal trip to Northern Ireland.