Downton Abbey star prepares for Irish fiance’s funeral

Michelle Dockery and John Dineen pictured in the Royal Box on Centre Court at Wimbledon in June 2014
Michelle Dockery and John Dineen pictured in the Royal Box on Centre Court at Wimbledon in June 2014

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery has marked a heartbreaking birthday by making preparations for her fiance’s funeral.

The Golden Globe winning actress was engaged to public relations director John Dineen, who died on Sunday morning in a hospice in Ireland after a long illness.

The 34-year-old, originally from Waterfall near Cork city, had been working with the FTI Consulting firm in London.

Dockery, who turned 34 on Tuesday, is understood to have spent the couple’s final days together visiting the Marymount Hospice in Co Cork where Mr Dineen was being cared for in recent weeks.

In a brief statement the family appealed for privacy as they made the final preparations for a private funeral service in Co Cork on Wednesday.

“The family is very grateful for the support and kindness they have received but would kindly request that they are left to grieve in private,” a spokeswoman said for the actress said.

The couple are thought to have started dating in September 2013 after being introduced by Irish actor Allen Leech, who stars alongside Dockery in the ITV period drama.

Dockery, who played Lady Mary Crawley on the hit TV series, was recently on a promotional tour for Downton Abbey in the US.

The couple guarded their privacy closely with the actress only briefly referencing the love of her life in an interview over a year ago where she said she had a “wonderful man in my life from Ireland”.

Downton Abbey’s last ever episode, a feature-length special, will be broadcast on Christmas Day.