'Almost Royal' Georgie & Poppy Carlton Have a Lot in Common with 'Downton Abbey's Aristocrats
If you've been trying to fill the I Wanna Marry Harry-shaped TV void of a British person tricking Americans into believing their royalty, don't worry, I have the perfect replacement. Just turn to Almost Royal on BBC America. The hilarious spoof show features not-actually-royal, not-actually-siblings George and Poppy Carlton, who are supposedly somewhere in line for the throne. In reality, Georgie and Poppy are British comedians Ed Gamble and Amy Hoggart. In the first episode, Poppy claims that Almost Royal is "going to be a little bit like Downton Abbey." So how many similarities do the Carlton siblings have to Lord Grantham's family? The list is surprisingly long.
Gamble and Hoggart have been touring the US, tricking people into believing they are royalty. They never once break character and it leads to a lot of snobbish, silly fun. The pair are pretty out of touch with reality (very much like the family in Downton Abbey) and are touring America in honor of their late father — who accidentally shot himself in the head. Their father, Sir George Carlton, loved America, so they've come (with his ashes) to the US to "move on and to mingle with the natives," according to Georgie.
"Mingle with the natives" sounds like something Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess would say on Downton Abbey (although she surely wouldn't partake in any mingling).
But Georgie and Poppy insist otherwise.
Georgie: "We're a bit like we're from Downton Abbey, except, except we're not snobs."
Poppy: "No. No we're very down to earth."
So perhaps the Carlton siblings are less like the Dowager and more like her three granddaughters. Like when Lady Sybil became a nurse, Lady Edith worked on a farm, and Lady Mary helped to save the pigs, Georgie and Poppy want to understand the importance of hard work and life outside their estate. So, let's take a look at how these fancy folks stack up on important topics.
In the first episode of Almost Royal, Georgie and Poppy pick out a rental car in Los Angeles. But Georgie needs to learn a thing or two about American driving before they can hit the road.
Lady Edith Crawley on Downton Abbey also knows that learning to drive like commoners gives you a certain independence. So against her father's wishes, she had chauffeur (and future brother-in-law) Tom Branson show her how it's done.
Another way that Georgie and Poppy channel their aristocratic ancestors is their, um, closeness to family. Also while touring in LA, Georgie and Poppy go on a celebrity bike tour. They naively tell their tour guide that they are “friends with benefits.”
Now, we all know (or at least hope) that Georgie and Poppy don't really share in any benefits — and aren't actually related in the first place. But we also know how back in Downton Abbey-times, British nobility didn't shy away from shared bloodlines when it came to marriage and love. For instance, one of our favorite romantic pairings on Downton Abbey was that of Lady Mary and Matthew. And they were cousins.
Georgie and Poppy also understand the importance of being involved in political issues, like Lady Sybil did. In Boston, they attended a meeting with the local chapter of the Tea Party. Now, they did go under the assumption it would be afternoon tea and not a political meeting, but they gave it their best shot.
On Downton Abbey, Lady Sybil was much more involved than the rest of her family in political issues and she wanted women to have the right to vote. By attending these political meetings, she became close to her future husband (and Irish commoner) Tom. Like the Tea Party meeting for Georgie and Poppy, things got intense at the rallies in Downton Abbey too.
Despite all of the goodwill that Georgie and Poppy are working towards in their US tour, there are just some prejudices they can't shake. Like Lord Grantham, Georgie and Poppy have a great deal of disdain for Irish people. In New York City, Poppy told the hipster barista that the Irish were sneaky. Along with their tour of the US, the royal duo is also touring the great land of YouTube. They joined Hannah Hart for a special episode of My Drunk Kitchen and Georgie expressed his offensive views of Irish people there as well.
Lord Grantham had his own prejudices against his daughter's husband Tom. The patriarch and lord of Downton Abbey didn't agree with Tom's politics or religion and he wanted to cutoff Sybil from the family fortune when she ran away with Tom. He finally accepted their relationship, but he was still at odds when it came to what religion Sybil and Tom's daughter would be baptized into. But Tom has become indispensable to Downton and Lord Grantham acknowledges that now.
But the biggest similarity between the Carltons and Crawleys is their soft spot for the Americans. Although the family in Downton Abbey is supremely British, their mother, Cora, is American. The Carltons have no American blood, but their father ingrained a love of this country to them and let's hope it grows as they continue their hilarious tour across the nation.