Dame Penelope Wilton says loss of her older sister is ‘absolute worst’ thing about life

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 21 May 2023
Penelope Wilton

Dame Penelope Wilton says the loss of her older sister is the ‘absolute worst’ thing about life

After losing her older sister Rosemary in January 2022, Dame Penelope Wilton says her death is the “absolute worst” thing about life

Dame Penelope Wilton says the loss of her older sister is the “absolute worst” thing about life.

The ‘Downton Abbey’ and After Life’ actress, 76, was left devastated when her older sibling Rosemary died in January last year aged 80, and said her passing still feels raw.

Dame Penelope, famed for playing widowed Isobel Crawley in ‘Downton’ and grieving widow Anne in Ricky Gervais’ ‘After Life’, told The Daily Telegraph when asked to described “the absolute worst” thing about modern life: “The loss of my elder sister Rosemary 18 months ago from the effects of Covid was the worst, because your sibling is in your life the longest of all your family members.

“Her death is still very fresh to me, so these are sad times. She was seven years older than me and had started to fall a lot, so she was not in a good state to catch Covid.

“Although she actually got over the virus, she had to go into hospital because her breathing was not good – and she caught a chest infection there.

“She was a brilliant woman and a wonderful television producer for the BBC’s Arena arts programmes, such as ‘The RKO Story.’”

The twice married mum-of-two added her other hatreds of life included social media.

She said about the “worst” things in the world: “The extremes: no one seems to listen to anybody else. There’s no compromise, even though life is about compromise. Social media is a wonderful thing in some respects, but not when it’s having a malign influence on young people.

“I’m on WhatsApp for the family, but generally it wastes time when I could be doing something else.

“As for mobile phones, people are better about turning them on in the theatre now, but it used to happen a lot – and it was incredibly off-putting when they went off – I would find my voice rising to try to hide the sound.”