Michelle Dockery has said her final goodbyes to her fiancé John Dineen, having spent her 34th birthday making preparations for his funeral. The Downton Abbey star led hundreds of mourners at a private service on Wednesday, held at the Church of St James in the village of Ballinora, County Cork, close to the farm where John grew up.
According to reports, the actress was also among the close family and friends who attended an emotional wake on Tuesday night. She had earlier spent the day – her birthday – helping his family make the final arrangements for the funeral.
Michelle Dockery and John Dineen pictured together in November 2013
John, 34, tragically passed away on Sunday morning at a hospice near his family home on Sunday morning following a battle with a 'rare form of cancer'. Heartbroken Michelle broke off from a promotional tour in the US to be with him in his final hours, and is said to have "gone to great lengths to support the family as much as possible".
A spokesperson for the actress said: "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."
The couple are thought to have started dating in 2013, after being introduced by Michelle's Downton co-star Allen Leech in 2013. They kept their relationship out of the spotlight, but Michelle spoke briefly about the romance in September 2014, saying: "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland."
The sweet couple had planned to tie the knot
John, who worked as a commercial public relations executive, was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. He had been working in London, but had gone back to Ireland to spend time with his family after the diagnosis, the Irish Independent reported. He is understood to have travelled to Germany for treatment earlier this year, but tragically passed away in Cork's Marymount Hospice on Sunday, with Michelle by his bedside.
A friend told the Daily Mail: "They had a goal of spending one last Christmas together, but in the end he didn't make it. They were planning to marry before he got too ill and never managed to do that because Michelle had a bunch of work commitments she couldn't get out of.
"John was so proud of her and very much encouraged her to keep working, but she feels terrible that they didn't manage to tie the knot in time."