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* "Mother" in Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''The Happiest Millionaire'' is related to the type.

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* "Mother" in Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''The Happiest Millionaire'' ''Film/TheHappiestMillionaire'' is related to the type.


* Augusta Longbottom in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series. Minerva [=McGonagall=] would qualify to an extent, if she weren't a teacher and has a [[DeadpanSnarker wicked sense of humour]].

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* Augusta Longbottom and Madame Maxine in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series. Minerva [=McGonagall=] would qualify to an extent, if she weren't a teacher and has a [[DeadpanSnarker wicked sense of humour]].


[[caption-width-right:204:"[[Theatre/AnimalCrackers Why you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen and that's not saying much for you!]]"]]

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[[caption-width-right:204:"[[Theatre/AnimalCrackers Why Why, you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen and that's not saying much for you!]]"]]



The trope is nearly always a [[ComedyTropes Comedy Trope]], associated particularly with the Comedy of Manners; as such, it serves as a useful device for mocking social pretensions, and dates back to the ancient Roman plays of Creator/{{Plautus}} and Terence, where the ''Grande Dame'' appeared as the ''Matrona''. She was not used much in the uninhibited [[TheMiddleAges Middle Ages]], but made a comeback as the humorless, self-important ''dueña'' of the 16th and 17th century Spanish theater (SmallNameBigEgo Doña Rodríguez is the only one character stupid enough in all the novel to believe that Literature/DonQuixote is a real KnightErrant). The prude and bluestocking of the Restoration (such as [[Creator/{{Moliere}} Molière's]] [[Theatre/TheMisanthrope Arsinoé]] and his ''Précieuses ridicules'') and Sentimental comedies (for instance, Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan's ''Theatre/TheRivals'') also have some affinities with the type, insofar as they made pretensions to virtue and culture.

However, it was only with the [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain Victorian]] age that the great era of the ''Grande Dame'' opened. Here, with her [[ErmineCapeEffect fur stole]] and her ancestral [[HighClassGlass lorgnette]] in hand, the ''Grande Dame'' quashed social climbers, sought advantageous marriages for her daughters and repelled impossible matches for her sons, and maintained the natural order of Society with frigid hauteur for a good hundred years and more. In England, she was generally in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debrett%27s Debrett]] and was called "Lady" something if she didn't have some title or other ("Countess" was particularly imposing); in the US, she was one of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Brahmin Brahmins]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_McAllister the Four Hundred]] or the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_families_of_virginia FFV]] and was called "Mrs. Van" Whoozis or Miss Firstname. She will still turn up occasionally, to preside over banquets and to be aghast at the excesses of [[StrawFeminist Feminism]] or the [[TeensAreMonsters Youth movement]] and to wonder why [[YeGoodeOldeDays no young ladies bother to go to the cotillion any more]].

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The trope is nearly always a [[ComedyTropes Comedy Trope]], associated particularly with the Comedy of Manners; as such, it serves as a useful device for mocking social pretensions, pretensions and dates back to the ancient Roman plays of Creator/{{Plautus}} and Terence, where the ''Grande Dame'' appeared as the ''Matrona''. She was not used much in the uninhibited [[TheMiddleAges Middle Ages]], but made a comeback as the humorless, self-important ''dueña'' of the 16th and 17th century 17th-century Spanish theater (SmallNameBigEgo Doña Rodríguez is the only one character stupid enough in all the novel to believe that Literature/DonQuixote is a real KnightErrant). The prude and bluestocking of the Restoration (such as [[Creator/{{Moliere}} Molière's]] [[Theatre/TheMisanthrope Arsinoé]] and his ''Précieuses ridicules'') and Sentimental comedies (for instance, Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan's ''Theatre/TheRivals'') also have some affinities with the type, insofar as they made pretensions to virtue and culture.

However, it was only with the [[UsefulNotes/VictorianBritain Victorian]] age that the great era of the ''Grande Dame'' opened. Here, with her [[ErmineCapeEffect fur stole]] and her ancestral [[HighClassGlass lorgnette]] in hand, the ''Grande Dame'' quashed social climbers, sought advantageous marriages for her daughters and repelled impossible matches for her sons, and maintained the natural order of Society with frigid hauteur for a good hundred years and more. In England, she was generally in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debrett%27s Debrett]] and was called "Lady" something if she didn't have some title or other ("Countess" was particularly imposing); in the US, she was one of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Brahmin Brahmins]] or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_McAllister the Four Hundred]] or the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_families_of_virginia FFV]] and was called "Mrs. Van" Whoozis or Miss Firstname. She will still turn up occasionally, to preside over banquets banquets, and to be aghast at the excesses of [[StrawFeminist Feminism]] or the [[TeensAreMonsters Youth movement]] and to wonder why [[YeGoodeOldeDays no young ladies bother to go to the cotillion any more]].



* A straight example occurs in Meowth’s backstory in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''. Meowth was a stray kitten, taken in by a Persian who was the leader of a group of Meowth street thieves. He fell in love with a Meowth owned by a lady fitting this trope, and learned to speak in an effort to impress her. After learning how to speak, Meowth returned to find his crush dumped on the street after her master lost all her money, and she had been taken in by the Persian who took Meowth in earlier and had fallen in love with him. Meowth’s jealousy at this became the reason he grew to hate Persians so much.

to:

* A straight example occurs in Meowth’s backstory in ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''. Meowth was a stray kitten, taken in by a Persian who was the leader of a group of Meowth street thieves. He fell in love with a Meowth owned by a lady fitting this trope, trope and learned to speak in an effort to impress her. After learning how to speak, Meowth returned to find his crush dumped on the street after her master lost all her money, and she had been taken in by the Persian who took Meowth in earlier and had fallen in love with him. Meowth’s jealousy at this became the reason he grew to hate Persians so much.



* Mrs. Hamilton in ''Film/TheBishopsWife'', a very rich and very haughty widow. Rev. Brougham is hitting her up for funds to build a new cathedral, but Mrs. Hamilton is being difficult, demanding that if it's not built as a gaudy memorial to her late husband, it won't be built at all. The ending reveals that she's really being driven by guilt, because she never loved her husband.

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* Mrs. Hamilton in ''Film/TheBishopsWife'', a very rich and very haughty widow. Rev. Brougham is hitting her up for funds to build a new cathedral, but Mrs. Hamilton is being difficult, demanding that if it's not built as a gaudy memorial to her late husband, it won't be built at all. The ending reveals that she's really being driven by guilt, guilt because she never loved her husband.



* Lady St. Edmund in Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Film/{{Candleshoe}}'' is the sympathetic rich widow version; her butler hides the fact that she is an ImpoverishedPatrician for fear it would break her heart. However she's ObfuscatingStupidity and is actually a grandmotherly type who's enjoying the game.

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* Lady St. Edmund in Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Film/{{Candleshoe}}'' is the sympathetic rich widow version; her butler hides the fact that she is an ImpoverishedPatrician for fear it would break her heart. However However, she's ObfuscatingStupidity and is actually a grandmotherly type who's enjoying the game.



* Augusta Longbottom in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, and Minerva [=McGonagall=] would qualify to an extent, if she weren't a teacher and has a [[DeadpanSnarker wicked sense of humour]].

to:

* Augusta Longbottom in the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, and series. Minerva [=McGonagall=] would qualify to an extent, if she weren't a teacher and has a [[DeadpanSnarker wicked sense of humour]].



** Also Martha Levinson, Cora's mother (played by Creator/ShirleyMacLaine). An American example--specifically, a millionaire dry-goods merchant's widow, with an eye to fashion; the Dowager Countess doesn't care for her one whit. Dame-to-Dame combat ensues.

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** Also Martha Levinson, Cora's mother (played by Creator/ShirleyMacLaine). An American example--specifically, example -- specifically, a millionaire dry-goods merchant's widow, with an eye to fashion; the Dowager Countess doesn't care for her one whit. Dame-to-Dame combat ensues.



* Mrs. Slocombe of ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'' attempted to affect this demeanor, but she almost always backslid to her working class roots in language and attitude when angry or upset.

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* Mrs. Slocombe of ''Series/AreYouBeingServed'' attempted to affect this demeanor, but she almost always backslid to her working class working-class roots in language and attitude when angry or upset.



** There are moments when Sister Monica Joan (who was clearly born to a wealthy family) gives every indication she ''would'' be a Grande Dame were she not a nun in an order that puts GodBeforeDogma--particularly when she complains about food ("And we are faced with ginger nuts ''again''! ''Ginger nuts''!" "I cannot excite myself about a fatless sponge."). Oh, and she is increasingly senile, but that's another matter...

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** There are moments when Sister Monica Joan (who was clearly born to a wealthy family) gives every indication she ''would'' be a Grande Dame were she not a nun in an order that puts GodBeforeDogma--particularly GodBeforeDogma -- particularly when she complains about food ("And we are faced with ginger nuts ''again''! ''Ginger nuts''!" "I cannot excite myself about a fatless sponge."). Oh, and she is increasingly senile, but that's another matter...



* The "Lady Smith" splicers in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' invoke this trope: part Elizabeth Taylor in ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf'', part Creator/KatharineHepburn. There is a remarkable synergy with the horror setting. It is a credit to the voice actress that the trope is palpable even when the splicers can't be seen.

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* The "Lady Smith" splicers in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' invoke this trope: part Elizabeth Taylor Creator/ElizabethTaylor in ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf'', part Creator/KatharineHepburn. There is a remarkable synergy with the horror setting. It is a credit to the voice actress that the trope is palpable even when the splicers can't be seen.



* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma's mother), likes to think of herself as one of these, but as far as Fred is concerned, she's just another [[ObnoxiousInLaws "battle axe" mother-in-law]] that often appears in sitcoms of the time.

to:

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma's mother), mother) likes to think of herself as one of these, but as far as Fred is concerned, she's just another [[ObnoxiousInLaws "battle axe" mother-in-law]] that often appears in sitcoms of the time.



** Margaret had married a millionaire, and was this in real life. She commuted to the studio by air from her mansions in Palm Springs and Paris (back when air travel was for the very rich only).

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** Margaret had married a millionaire, millionaire and was this in real life. She commuted to the studio by air from her mansions in Palm Springs and Paris (back when air travel was for the very rich only).


* The "Lady Smith" splicers in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' invoke this trope: part Elizabeth Taylor in ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf?'', part Creator/KatharineHepburn. There is a remarkable synergy with the horror setting. It is a credit to the voice actress that the trope is palpable even when the splicers can't be seen.

to:

* The "Lady Smith" splicers in ''VideoGame/{{BioShock|1}}'' invoke this trope: part Elizabeth Taylor in ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf?'', ''Theatre/WhosAfraidOfVirginiaWoolf'', part Creator/KatharineHepburn. There is a remarkable synergy with the horror setting. It is a credit to the voice actress that the trope is palpable even when the splicers can't be seen.


* Mrs. Rittenhouse in ''Film/AnimalCrackers'', Mrs. Teasdale in ''Film/DuckSoup'', Mrs. Claypool in ''Film/ANightAtTheOpera'' and other similar roles in various Creator/TheMarxBrothers films were gloriously sustained by Margaret Dumont, who may be considered the TropeCodifier ''and'' the best example of this trope.

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* Mrs. Rittenhouse in ''Film/AnimalCrackers'', ''Theatre/AnimalCrackers'', Mrs. Teasdale in ''Film/DuckSoup'', Mrs. Claypool in ''Film/ANightAtTheOpera'' and other similar roles in various Creator/TheMarxBrothers films were gloriously sustained by Margaret Dumont, who may be considered the TropeCodifier ''and'' the best example of this trope.



* Madame Armfeldt in ''Film/ALittleNightMusic'', Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in ''Film/TheMusicMan'', and most other parts played by Hermione Gingold, including Mrs. Bennet in ''First Impressions'', a musical version of ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice''.

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* Madame Armfeldt in ''Film/ALittleNightMusic'', ''Theatre/ALittleNightMusic'', Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in ''Film/TheMusicMan'', and most other parts played by Hermione Gingold, including Mrs. Bennet in ''First Impressions'', a musical version of ''Literature/PrideAndPrejudice''.


* Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell in ''Series/GameOfThrones''. There are shades of this in the book, but it's Rigg's performance (which has been repeatedly compared to Maggie Smith's aforementioned turn as the Dowager Countess on ''Downton Abbey'') that brings the character definitively into this trope, though she is not humorless.

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* Diana Rigg Creator/DianaRigg as Olenna Tyrell in ''Series/GameOfThrones''. There are shades of this in the book, but it's Rigg's performance (which has been repeatedly compared to Maggie Smith's aforementioned turn as the Dowager Countess on ''Downton Abbey'') that brings the character definitively into this trope, though she is not humorless.


* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma's mother), likes to think of herself as one of these, but as far as Fred is concerned, she's just another [[AnnoyingInLaws "battle axe" mother-in-law]] that often appears in sitcoms of the time.

to:

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma's mother), likes to think of herself as one of these, but as far as Fred is concerned, she's just another [[AnnoyingInLaws [[ObnoxiousInLaws "battle axe" mother-in-law]] that often appears in sitcoms of the time.


The Grande Dame is the stately older woman -- usually of wealth and [[BlueBlood rank]], though often enough only wishing to appear so -- who is very often [[BigBeautifulWoman a large woman of ample physique]], uptight, [[NoSenseOfHumor humorless]], and the [[AcceptableTarget butt of jokes]]. The ''Grande Dame'' is usually a spinster or widow, in which case she is likely to become an OldMaid or an AbhorrentAdmirer; if she ''is'' married, it will usually be to a HenpeckedHusband (very often an UnclePennybags), whom she will drag to operas (where she will also look down on people who wear the wrong style of HighClassGloves) and ballets because MenAreUncultured, though she will more often be a patroness of the arts than ThePrimaDonna herself. She will also quite often have some sort of spoilt and pampered (and very often overweight) child or pet, a Persian or a [[MisterMuffykins Pomeranian]] or a parrot, on whom the rest of her dependents must dance attendance. In most cases, any attempt at frivolity will draw from her either a frigid stare of disapproval or [[CompletelyMissingThePoint sheer, blank incomprehension]]. Nevertheless, she will ''occasionally'' turn out to be a sympathetic character as well -- ''very'' occasionally she will turn out to have a screwball or eccentric streak herself.

to:

The Grande Dame is the stately older woman -- usually of wealth and [[BlueBlood rank]], though often enough only wishing to appear so -- who is very often [[BigBeautifulWoman a large woman of ample physique]], uptight, [[NoSenseOfHumor humorless]], and the [[AcceptableTarget butt of jokes]]. The ''Grande Dame'' is usually a spinster or widow, in which case she is likely to become an OldMaid or an AbhorrentAdmirer; if she ''is'' married, it will usually be to a HenpeckedHusband (very often an UnclePennybags), whom she will drag to operas (where she will also look down on people who wear the wrong style of HighClassGloves) and ballets because MenAreUncultured, though she will more often be a patroness of the arts than ThePrimaDonna herself. She will also quite often have some sort of spoilt and pampered (and very often overweight) child or pet, a Persian or a [[MisterMuffykins Pomeranian]] or a parrot, on whom the rest of her dependents must dance attendance. In most cases, any attempt at frivolity will draw from her either a frigid stare of disapproval or [[CompletelyMissingThePoint sheer, blank incomprehension]].incomprehension. Nevertheless, she will ''occasionally'' turn out to be a sympathetic character as well -- ''very'' occasionally she will turn out to have a screwball or eccentric streak herself.


* [[LastofHerKind Baylene the Brachiosaurus]] from ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}'' appears to act like one of these.
* [[HenpeckedHusband John]]'s wife Killjoy Margaret from ''Disney/Fantasia2000''.
* The Wardrobe from ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' is a subversion: she looks the part but she's very cheerful and even cracks a slightly ribald joke ("Let's see what I've got in my drawers!") during her first meeting with Belle.

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* [[LastofHerKind Baylene the Brachiosaurus]] from ''Disney/{{Dinosaur}}'' ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinosaur}}'' appears to act like one of these.
* [[HenpeckedHusband John]]'s wife Killjoy Margaret from ''Disney/Fantasia2000''.
''WesternAnimation/Fantasia2000''.
* The Wardrobe from ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' ''WesternAnimation/BeautyAndTheBeast'' is a subversion: she looks the part but she's very cheerful and even cracks a slightly ribald joke ("Let's see what I've got in my drawers!") during her first meeting with Belle.


[[caption-width-right:204:"[[Film/DuckSoup Will you marry me? Did your ex leave you any money? Answer the second question first!]]"]]

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[[caption-width-right:204:"[[Film/DuckSoup Will you marry me? Did your ex leave you any money? Answer [[caption-width-right:204:"[[Theatre/AnimalCrackers Why you're one of the second question first!]]"]]
most beautiful women I've ever seen and that's not saying much for you!]]"]]

Added DiffLines:

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma's mother), likes to think of herself as one of these, but as far as Fred is concerned, she's just another [[AnnoyingInLaws "battle axe" mother-in-law]] that often appears in sitcoms of the time.


* One appeared in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'', where she was tasked to assess the performance and good behavior of students in the Acme Looniversity to determine whether or not Yosemite Sam will be promoted to Vice Principle. Babs, Buster, and Plucky try everything they can to mess up the Grande Dame's examinations beneath Yosemite Sam's notice, often leading to AmusingInjuries for the unwitting mustached man. The abuses continue up until they BodySwap her with a potato, breaking her composure and causing Sam to lose the promotion he so desired.

to:

* One appeared in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'', where she was tasked to assess the performance and good behavior of students in the Acme Looniversity to determine whether or not Yosemite Sam will be promoted to Vice Principle.Principal. Babs, Buster, and Plucky try everything they can to mess up the Grande Dame's examinations beneath Yosemite Sam's notice, often leading to AmusingInjuries for the unwitting mustached man. The abuses continue up until they BodySwap her with a potato, breaking her composure and causing Sam to lose the promotion he so desired.


* A straight example occurs in Meowth’s backstory in ''Anime/Pokemon''. Meowth was a stray kitten, taken in by a Persian who was the leader of a group of Meowth street theives. He fell in love with a Meowth owned by a lady fitting this trope, and learned to speak in an effort to impress her. After learning how to speak, Meowth returned to find his crush dumped on the street after her master lost all her money, and she had been taken in by the Persian who took Meowth in earlier and had fallen in love with him. Meowth’s jealousy at this became the reason he grew to hate Persians so much.

to:

* A straight example occurs in Meowth’s backstory in ''Anime/Pokemon''. ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}''. Meowth was a stray kitten, taken in by a Persian who was the leader of a group of Meowth street theives.thieves. He fell in love with a Meowth owned by a lady fitting this trope, and learned to speak in an effort to impress her. After learning how to speak, Meowth returned to find his crush dumped on the street after her master lost all her money, and she had been taken in by the Persian who took Meowth in earlier and had fallen in love with him. Meowth’s jealousy at this became the reason he grew to hate Persians so much.


* Creator/PGWodehouse (very likely under the inspiration of Creator/WSGilbert, whose works he adored) and his collection of "aunts" may well claim to be the literary patron saints of this trope, on which for well over sixty years he rang the changes of every possible variation imaginable, from the lovable Aunt Dahlia in ''Right Ho, Jeeves!'' to the truly horrible Heloïse, Princess von und zu Dwornitzchek, in ''Summer Moonshine'', a RichBitch who is not even funny. Perhaps the most typical is the formidable Lady Constance (she is, of course, the sister of the many-sistered Lord Emsworth in the "Literature/BlandingsCastle" saga), but the most famous is probably [[Literature/JeevesAndWooster Bertie Wooster's]] Aunt Agatha, who "chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth."

to:

* Creator/PGWodehouse (very likely under the inspiration of Creator/WSGilbert, whose works he adored) and his collection of "aunts" may well claim to be the literary patron saints of this trope, on which for well over sixty years he rang the changes of every possible variation imaginable, from the lovable Aunt Dahlia in ''Right Ho, Jeeves!'' to the truly horrible Heloïse, Princess von und zu Dwornitzchek, in ''Summer Moonshine'', a RichBitch who is not even funny. Perhaps the most typical is the formidable Lady Constance (she is, of course, the sister of the many-sistered Lord Emsworth in the "Literature/BlandingsCastle" saga), but the most famous is probably [[Literature/JeevesAndWooster Bertie Wooster's]] Aunt Agatha, who "chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth."" Aunt Julia in the ''Literature/{{Ukridge}}'' stories is an interesting variation in that she doesn't look the part, being a half-sized kitten-like woman, but she more than qualifies mentally.

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