‘Bridgerton’: The Biggest Love Story in Regency Romance Is Not Who Fans Might Think

Bridgerton quickly rose to the most-watched Netflix show of all time in the months following its release on Dec. 25, 2020. Nicola Coughlan, who played Penelope Featherington, revealed what author Julia Quinn said about the main love story. Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), and Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) are not the main love story. Here’s what the author told the actors on set.

Nicola Coughlan sits in a yellow dress as Penelope Featherington in 'Bridgerton'
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington | LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020

Is there going to be another season of ‘Bridgerton’?

Netflix announced a Bridgerton season two on Jan. 21, 2021, less than a month after the first season dropped on the streaming platform. The second season will feature a story about Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), and his search for a wife. Sex Education‘s Simone Ashley will play Anthony’s love interest, Kate Sharma, per Deadline.

“We have a bunch of new characters we are gonna be introducing,” Chris Van Dusen, the creative force behind Bridgerton said on the Today show. “Anthony is going to have a love interest next season, and I think it’s going to be as sweeping and moving and as beautiful as viewers of the first season have come to expect from the show.”‘

“We left him at the end of the first season at a bit of a crossroads, so I’m looking forward to jumping in and discovering how he fares on the marriage market,” the showrunner and creator continued.

But according to the books’ author, neither Simon and Daphne nor Anthony and Kate are the main love story of Bridgerton.

Simon and Daphne aren’t the main ‘love story’ per author Julia Quinn

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While the first season of Bridgerton showcased Daphne searching for a husband, and Simon wanting people to stop pestering him to find a wife, their love story and coming together was a main feature of the storyline.

However, many viewers fell in love with Penelope and Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie), and their friendship was highlighted throughout the show. The two girls try to get to the bottom of Lady Whistledown’s identity, who is the gossip columnist that writes about the latest happenings in their Regency world.

In an essay for The Guardian, Coughlan revealed who the author said Bridgteron‘s main love story really is.

“During filming, we met Julia Quinn, author of the books Bridgerton is based on,” Coughlan wrote. “She explained that, yes, her books were love stories — but that the biggest romance, in a sense, was the friendship between Penelope and Eloise.”

Nicola Coughlan praised ‘Bridgerton’ in a new essay

The actor who played Penelope continued to praise the show and its well-rounded story with diverse characters and complex women.

“It’s gratifying to see audiences connect with Penelope and Eloise, or #Peneloise as the kids are calling us,” she continued. “We have been written as real human beings, not facsimiles of what we think a Regency woman was.”

She praised other “complicated women” such as main characters from Fleabag, I May Destroy You, Broad City, and Euphoria. The actor concluded her essay by looking forward to more complex roles for women in the future.

“The best moments on the sets of Derry Girls and Bridgerton came when the young women were allowed to be unapologetically themselves, never worrying that they might not be appealing,” Coughlan concluded. “I, for one, am excited by all the difficult, brilliant, complex women to come, who have yet to grace our screens. Long may the sisterhood reign over us.”