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Artemis Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne, Lady Browne was the mother of Chummy Noakes, despite that she is often cold with her daughter and was against her marrying beneath herself as she would put it, it is only when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer that mater and daughter truly get the chance to bond.

Overview[]

Series 1[]

Lady Browne was the wife of Sir Rex Browne and they spent a lot of their time in India, of which he was knighted for services to the viceroy. She had six sons and a daughter who she sent off to boarding schools. Her daughter Camilla, better known as Chummy trained as a nurse and later a midwife. She and her husband retired to Madeira which she wasn’t all that fond of. Her daughter informs her that she is courting a man in uniform and she expects someone high up in the forces, it is only when she comes to London for her twice a year dress fitting that she finds out that Peter is in fact a police constable. Sister Julienne hosts a tea party where she is rather rude to the people there.

Afterwards she privately tells her daughter she doesn’t approve of her life in poplar, none of it from the crimplene she wears to church to the people she nurses. She makes it clear she’d rather her daughter a spinster missionary helping to “honour the worthy” in the countries of the disbanded British Empire so that at least their friends would comprehend it. This leads to Chummy breaking up her relationship with crimplene even though Peter says he would want to marry her as he has finally found his perfect life partner. She even leads her daughter to the edge of considering becoming a nun but in the end she gets back with Peter and they decide to marry, despite her opposition to the match Lady Browne doesn’t try to stop the wedding and even tries to secure St Margaret’s, Westminster for the service but Chummy decides she would rather have it at the local church and wear a skirt suit instead of a gown, Lady Browne wants it to be white but Chummy informs her she is no longer entitled to wear white.

Series 3[]

Lady Browne returns to London in series 3 and her relationship with her daughter is largely unchanged, cold and formal with her being rude often. In the dinner she tells her daughter that she would be staying in London permanently and she and her husband would go their separate ways with him staying in Madeira, claiming her husband has many interests and she was not one of them. When her daughter notices her watch is gone she says she says she sold it as she needed the money to keep up her affluent lifestyle, she then tells her daughter she was not brought up to pry, she also makes it clear she doesn’t like the fact her daughter named her son after the handyman.

Camila turns her house upside down and hides things her mother would disapprove of. She arrives at the Noakes home and is critical of everything including her grandson and Peter being a hands-on father, the smog of Poplar and most other things. She also doesn’t want her daughter to talk about her lack of funds, as her husband cut her off. Chummy invites her to live with them for a time, during her stay she inquires about their plans for Freddie’s education where Peter disappoints her by telling her that they don’t have the funds for a private education and she snaps at Peter and his inability to provide for her grandson, Chummy intervenes and says they could save money and send him away to live a childhood filled with cold and distant people as she was. She promptly kicks her mother out, as she was about to leave she begins retching and she is taken to hospital where it is revealed she has cancer that spread all through her body.

Despite her condition she discharges herself and goes to a private home called Pinewood Villa paid for by charity. Chummy goes to visit her and brings her some framed photos but she is again rude and dismissive, she says a Baronets widow lives across the landing so the standards were high though there was no pain relief offered. Chummy decides to storm out when she insults the picture of the wedding day. When Peter goes to visit and finds her screaming in pain he decides to take her home.

When she arrives and is seen to by Dr Turner she asks how long she had left, she had weeks though not many, she then decides to name the disease she had (the word cancer was often said in euphemism). She was left to be nursed at her daughters home. Nurse Jenny Lee wanted to take an active role in the case but Sister Julienne asked that she supervise pupil midwives instead. Sister Monica Joan who also had a strained relationship with her late mother offers to help with the case. Lady Browne is then taken upstairs in the house to what would be her deathbed.

Peter and Lady Browne finally forge a friendship, she saying he should call her by her Christian name, Artemis which she never liked and was called Arthur for. Chummy however has difficulty touching her mother, Lady Browne asks for one last manicure which she enjoyed. Chummy thinks it was fuss and nonsense, Lady Browne then asks Chummy is she ever read her the princess and the pea and Chummy says she didn’t. Sister Monica Joan then decides to arrange a manicure and Chummy did it for her, as she did it Lady Browne stroked her head, “you’ve never done that before” Chummy said and Lady Browne replied “oh I have, when you were very, very tiny”.

Her final day came, she went to sleep and her body began shutting down. Before she went Chummy changed out of her uniform into a robe her mother loved, symbolising she was there as her child, not her nurse. Chummy lay down with her and just before she went said “I love you” finally closing the chapter between them. The death was good and left peace in its wake.

Post series[]

The death of Lady Browne prompted Jenny to change careers and working with cancer patients at the Marie Curie hospital. A year on Chummy wants to scatter her mothers ashes but can’t think of where, she decides the best place is the Thames, the ashes are scattered and finally turn the tide towards the future.

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