Lily James made her acting debut with a guest starring role in few episodes of BBC One's series "Just William" in 2010. She afterwards was best known for her appearances in several London theatre productions. She had among others portrayed the characters of Taylor in "Vernon God Little", Nina in a modern adaptation of "The Seagull", and Desdemona in "Othello", all of which were staged in 2011. Besides, she also guest starred as Poppy in the fourth season of ITV's "Secret Diary of a Call Girl".
The following year, she played the roles of Katrina in "Play House" and Marijka in "Definitely the Bahamas". Also in 2012, James garnered positive reviews and nationwide recognition for her role as Lady Rose MacClare on British period drama "Downtown Abbey". In the same year she began invading Hollywood showbiz, starring in adventure-fantasy film "Wrath of the Titans", coming-of-age drama "Broken", also British drama film "Fast Girls".
By 2014, James has been signed to play the title character in a live-action Disney film version of "Cinderella", slated for 2015 release. She, moreover, also secured a part in horror comedy romance film "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies".
James was born as Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson on April 5, 1989 in Esher, Surrey, England. She began studying acting at Arts Educational School in Tring and continued her education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.