Culture / TV

Who is Francesca Bridgerton? And could she be part of ‘Bridgerton’s’ first queer romance?

Who is Francesca Bridgerton? And could she be part of 'Bridgerton's' first queer romance?

The enigma of Francesca Bridgerton, the sixth sibling in the illustrious Bridgerton clan, with her poised elegance and quiet allure, might finally be revealed to us after last night's Season 3 finale left the internet awash in theories about her character's future plot line. As she navigates love, loss, and the labyrinthine corridors of high society, Francesca's story has finally begun to unfold on screen – and we're equally as captivated by her understated charm.

To prepare you for Season 4 (whenever that might be), we thought we'd deep dive into the character and tell you everything we know so far about Francesca Bridgerton...


Who plays Francesca Bridgerton?


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The role of the sixth Bridgerton sibling was originally played by actress Ruby Stokes, but was recast for season three, with actress Hannah Dodd taking over the role at the beginning of season three.

Dodd is an English model and actress, who you might recognise from her previous roles in Netflix's Enola Holmes 2 or Anatomy of a Scandal. On joining one of TV's biggest shows, Dodd has said it's been "pretty scary to join the show, but everyone’s been really, really supportive".

"Francesca has been preparing for [her debut] … Filming it was absolutely terrifying, because it was quite early on in production," Dodd told Netflix's official media site, Tudum. "There was a little bit of life imitating art there. She was nervous and I was nervous. She was watching people, and I was watching people to learn. We were kind of going through it together."


Why did they change Francesca in Bridgerton?


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Ruby Stokes was unable to commit to future seasons due to scheduling conflicts between Bridgerton and her leading role in Netflix's Lockwood & Co.

Francesca was the first major character on Netflix's hit show to be recast.


Who does she marry?

SPOILER ALERT – but in the final episode of season three (which debuted last night in Australia), Francesca Bridgerton has just married the quiet but kind John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli) and is preparing to move to the Scottish highlands, where her husband has a family castle.


What happened to Francesca's husband?

While we aren't sure just yet what direction the Netflix adaptation will take, in Julia Quinn's novels John Stirling – again, *spoiler alert* – dies unexpectedly of a brain aneurism. It's a pivotal event that significantly impacts her storyline, leading to a poignant journey of love and loss. Later, she finds solace and a second chance at love with Michael Stirling, John's cousin, and the new Earl of Kilmartin.


Is she queer?

In Julia Quinn's novels, Francesca Bridgerton is not portrayed as queer. In the books, she finds her second chance at love with a character named 'Michael Stirling'.

However, in the final episode of Bridgerton season 3, we're introduced to a character named 'Michaela Stirling' (played by actress Masali Baduza). For obvious reasons, the surprise twist has led fans to believe that Netflix is gearing up for the Regency-era-inspired show's first queer romance. Especially since Francesca could not stop stumbling over her words on first meeting Michaela - an occurrence that Lady Bridgerton had previously highlighted as a sign of infatuation.


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