Michelle Dockery the "Downton Abbey" star, led mourners at the funeral of her late fiancé John Dineen yesterday in his home town of Waterfall, Co. Cork.
“I was honored to know John,” she said during her eulogy, “to love him and be loved by him. Whether in his work or his personal life John was extremely loyal. It was clear that when John was in your corner he was there.
"I was honored to know John. To love him and be loved by him. He was my friend, my king, my hero my everything. We celebrate him, we honor him and will miss him."
The tragic funeral took place on the day before what would have been Dineen’s 35th birthday. Dockery, famous for her role as Lady Mary Crawley in "Downton Abbey," spent yesterday, her 34th birthday, mourning with Dineen’s parents on the family’s farm.
The couple had been together since 2013 when they were introduced by Dockery’s Irish "Downton Abbey" co-star, Allen Leech. Dineen, who grew up in Waterfall, Co. Cork, was an executive with the healthcare branch of FTI Consulting, based in London.
Private about her personal life, Dockery’s only comments on their relationship had earlier been, "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland. We were introduced by Allen Leech. That’s all you need to know."
Michelle and John's engagement was reported in February, but the pair did not get the chance to wed, as he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that spread rapidly despite him seeking experimental treatment in Germany.
Dineen spent his final weeks at Marymount Hospice in Cork, where he died on Sunday. Dockery had left the rest of the "Downtown Abbey" cast on their US promotional tour to be with him.
A friend told the MailOnline, "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 on working, but she feels terrible that they didn't manage to tie the knot in time."
On Tuesday night, along with his parents, Maria and Patrick, Michelle is said to have followed John's coffin to the church ahead of his funeral yesterday.
Father Declan Mansfield, who had been supporting John's parents through his final few days, celebrated the funeral mass.
He said the family was "bearing up", adding: "It's a deep loss for them obviously."
In addition to sharing her deep grief and paying tribute to Dineen’s intelligence, caring nature, and great charm, Dockery sang one of his favorite songs, "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein.
The Irish Independent reported that Dockery said she had been uncertain whether to sing the song, but that her late fiancé’s father was "just as persuasive as his son."
You can hear Dockery singing the moving melody in this recording from a few years ago:
Gifts brought to the altar in tribute to Dineen included, according to the Irish Independent, a monkey that was his favorite childhood toy, a Munster rugby jersey, and a tie, in a nod to his passion for his career.
A spokesperson for Michelle 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."