The uncle is the absent master of Bly, the governess’s elusive employer, and Miles and Flora’s guardian, having been appointed after his brother, the children’s father, died suddenly. The uncle never appears in the story; the reader’s knowledge of him is supplied via descriptions from the governess and Mrs. Grose. He is described as a wealthy man, a fact made obvious by the grandeur of Bly. In addition to his wealth, the uncle possesses attractive physical features and a charming personality. This combination of charm and wealth establishes within the governess a deep respect and likely a romantic interest—she becomes intensely committed to following his rules and performing her duties without mistake, so as to impress him.

Despite his ability to charm women such as the governess and Mrs. Grose, the uncle is either unable or unwilling to cultivate a relationship with his niece and nephew. Throughout the story, it is repeatedly stated that the uncle wishes to have no communication about the children or the state of Bly. This desire to be left unbothered renders the uncle distant and cold. It suggests that the uncle does not truly care for the children and only supports them out of respect for his late brother. Towards the story’s end, Mrs. Grose takes an ill Flora to seek help from the uncle. It is unclear what becomes of Flora and whether the uncle contributes to her recovery in any way.