Emilie Groome (1950s - 12 March 2016) was the biological mother of Caleb Knight and Ethan Hardy. Cal tracked her down just before Christmas in 2015, and in the following months she made repeat visits to the ED. She died of pneumonia, worsened by Huntington's disease, in March 2016.
Emilie was born in the late 1950s. In 1984, she gave birth to a boy named Steven. (CAS: "High Tide") Two years later she gave birth to another son named Michael. (CAS: "High Tide") She grew up with them until Steven was at least four, and Michael at least two years old. At some point after this, they were taken away from her by social services due to her poor mental health and inability to properly care for them, which left her distraught. They were adopted by another couple, and Steven was named Cal and Michael named Ethan.
In December 2015 after finding out he was adopted after receiving his paternity test for Matilda, Cal went with Charlie to meet his birth mother, Emilie. However, when he arrived he discovered she was suffering from Huntington's disease and that he and Ethan had a fifty percent chance of inheriting it. Although Emilie was keen to connect with Cal, he was less inclined to partly due to her illness and partly down to the fact she gave him and Ethan up when they were young. However, she put it in a different way, saying that she "lost" them. (CAS: "Home for Christmas")
In February 2016, she arrived at the ED with a burn to her hand from a kettle. Cal noticed her and began treating her and realised that she had come to the ED to meet Ethan. Furious, Cal expressed his agression towards her but later regretted this as he found out that she didn't choose to give him and Ethan up, but they were taken away from her because of her mental health, caused by Huntington's. Towards the end of the shift, Cal finally opened up to Ethan about everything whilst with Emilie in a cubicle. (CAS: "Step Right Up")
Towards the end of February, Cal and Emilie had a fall whilst he was at her house helping her. At the ED it was discovered that she had pneumonia and hadn't long to live. She bonded with Ethan, and told Cal she wished to travel back to Conleth Bay, somewhere she had taken them when they were younger. (CAS: "Fatal Error - Part Two") In March, Cal and Ethan were travelling in the ambulance with the paramedics who were taking Emilie somewhere else so she didn't die in hospital. On the way, Cal drove off with Ethan and Emilie and took them to Colneth Bay one last time. Emilie was delighted to later be told that they were both clear of Huntinton's disease. She died whilst sitting with the two of them, and only then did Ethan reveal that his letter was positive for Huntington's. (CAS: "High Tide")
Behind the scenes
Speaking about the role, Carol told the BBC, "I knew very little about Huntington's Disease before I took on the role of Emilie, although I had heard about it through a family friend, so I understood the devastation that it can cause in families. The challenges of playing a character with Huntington's Disease were, firstly, the responsibility of trying to portray it accurately. I wanted to get the truth of the character of Emilie across, quite apart from the HD, so for example, the horror and the damage caused by having the boys taken from her, and the shock, relief and joy at meeting up with them again. I wanted to show how much she loved, and still loves them."
- See also: Character appearances.
Royle first appeared as Emilie in the 2015 series 30 episode "Home for Christmas" and has since appeared in 2016 in the episode "Step Right Up". She made her final appearance in the episode "High Tide".