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.

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley



Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley (Nick Briggs/Carnival Films)

 

Michelle, who turned 34 today, is understood to have spent the couple’s final days together visiting the Marymount Hospice in Co Cork where John was being cared for.

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

“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 for the actress said.

Michelle Dockery and John Dineen in 2014



Michelle Dockery and John Dineen in 2014 (Anthony Devlin/PA)

 

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

Michelle, 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.