The biggest gossip of the holiday season is arriving via Netflix in the new series, Bridgerton. Based on the Julia Quinn series of romance novels, Bridgerton takes place in a fantasy of England's Regency era. It's a world where debutantes snare handsome, rich husbands and somehow manage to fall in love as well. It's also a world filled with gossip, drama, and scandal, all of which is reported in Lady Whistledown's Society Papers. This Bridgerton cast and character guide will help newcomers to this world keep the giant ensemble cast of characters straight.
Julia Quinn's novels were unique when they first launched in the romance genre, largely because of the interconnected nature of the world she built. You see, Quinn's Bridgerton series involves characters she originally wrote for some of her previous novels — most notably, Lady Danbury. These character crossovers also happen in the Netflix series.
There are several familiar faces among the enormous ensemble of the ton for longtime fans of the novels. But for those who are less familiar with the books, this sudden drop into an entire society can feel a little overwhelming. And that's not counting the titular Bridgerton clan, a family that alone consists of eight siblings. Don't worry — at least it's easy to keep them straight, as their parents had the foresight to name them in alphabetical order, A-H.
Here are the main players to keep track of:
1. Who Plays Daphne In 'Bridgerton'?
The heroine of the first Bridgerton novel, The Duke & I, Daphne is the fourth-born child and oldest daughter of the Bridgerton family. She is played by Phoebe Dynevor (Younger). When the show starts, Daphne has just turned 21 and is making her debut in society in hopes of finding a respectable husband who will set the standard for the rest of the family.
2. Who Plays Anthony In 'Bridgerton'?
The Viscount of the Bridgerton family since age 18, when his father died, Anthony is the star of the second Bridgerton novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me. He is played by Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch). Anthony, 28 and still unmarried, is trying to act like the "man of the family," but he's got a lot to learn.
3. Who Plays Simon Basset In 'Bridgerton'?
Anthony's best friend from school, Simon inherited the Duke of Hastings title when his father passed away. He is played Regé-Jean Page (Roots). When the story starts, he has returned to London on business, only to find his title and single status had made him the Most Eligible Bachelor for 1813 in the eyes of society.
4. Who Plays Eloise In 'Bridgerton'?
The fifth-born Bridgerton child and second daughter, Eloise is the heroine of the fifth Bridgerton novel, To Sir Phillip, With Love. She is played by Claudia Jessie (Vanity Fair). When Bridgerton begins, 17-year-old Eloise is on the cusp of being out in society, but she dreads the whole notion of being forced to marry and have children; instead, she dreams of being an independent woman and a writer.
5. Who Plays Benedict In 'Bridgerton'?
The second-born of the Bridgerton clan, Benedict is the hero of the third Bridgerton novel, An Offer From A Gentleman. He is played by Luke Thompson (Dunkirk). When the Netflix story starts, Benedict, 26, is living the easy life of being the second son, with no responsibilities and no pressure to get married.
6. Who Plays Colin In 'Bridgerton'?
The third-born Bridgerton son, Colin, is the fourth Bridgerton novel hero, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. He is played by Luke Newton (The Lodge). At the age of 22, Colin is younger and more sheltered than his older brothers; he dreams of romance and travel.
7. Who Play The Younger Bridgertons & Mother?
Lady Violet Bridgerton, the family matriarch, not only has five older children but three more school-aged ones. She is played by Ruth Gemmell (Home Fires).
Her three younger children are Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth, with the younger two still underfoot while Francesca is away at school. Francesca is played by Ruby Stokes (Da Vinci's Demons), Gregory by Will Tilston (Goodbye Christopher Robin), and Hyacinth by Florence Hunt (Cursed). They eventually age up and become the leads of the final three Bridgerton novels: When He Was Wicked, It's In His Kiss, and On The Way To The Wedding.
8. Who Plays Penelope Featherington In 'Bridgerton'?
The Featheringtons are the other central family of the Bridgerton Netflix series and live directly across the square from the Bridgertons in London. They are the Bridgerton's polar opposite, scheming, and scandal-prone. Only youngest daughter Penelope, pushed onto the marriage mart early, is a kind soul. Penelope is played by Nicola Coughlan (Derry Girls).
9. Who Plays Marina Thompson In 'Bridgerton'?
Penelope does develop one friend inside the Featherington household: Marina Thompson. Marina is played by Ruby Barker (Wolfblood). Penelope's mother, Portia, has been saddled with this distant cousin to ferry about on the marriage mart this season. But it turns out that, unlike the rest of the Featheringtons, Marina is a breath of fresh air to society, bringing in the suitors right and left.
10. Who Play The Rest of The Featheringtons In 'Bridgerton'?
Lady Portia, the Featherington matriarch, is determined to marry off her daughters. However, her avaricious attitude (and garish taste) make things difficult, and her husband, Lord Featherington, isn't helping matters. Lady Portia is played by Polly Walker (Rome), her husband by Ben Miller (Death In Paradise).
When the story starts, Portia has three unmarried daughters: the aforementioned Penelope, plus her older sisters Prudence and Phillipa. Prudence is played by Bessie Carter (Beecham House) and Phillipa by Harriet Cains (Line of Duty). Both older sisters have already been on the marriage mart for several years and are starting to be considered lost causes when the story begins.
11. Who Plays The Rest of London Society In 'Bridgerton'?
As if the nine members of the Bridgerton clan and the five Featheringtons (plus Marina) weren't enough, the Bridgerton world is littered with smaller roles filling out society's ranks. They include boxers like Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) and Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale), who runs the Modiste.
However, the most omnipresent member of society is Lady Danbury, played by Adjoa Andoh (Doctor Who). She happens to be Simon's self-appointed aunt, which means she has taken an active interest in meddling in his love life.
The other prominent figure towering over society with giant wigs and massive gowns is Queen Charlotte, played by Golda Rosheuvel (Luther).
Beyond them, there are also several families who float in and out of the Bridgerton orbit. Lady Cowper (Joanna Bobin) and her daughter Cressida (Jessica Masden) are competitors on the marriage mart, while Nigel Berbrooke (Jamie Beamish) is a would-be suitor. There's even a Prince, the Queen's nephew, Friederich (Freddie Stroma).
12. Who Plays Lady Whistledown In 'Bridgerton'?
And then there's Lady Whistledown, whose Society Papers launch at the beginning of London's social season and quickly rule everything in the world of gossip. The iconic Julie Andrews performs Lady Whistledown's voiceover a la Kristen Bell in Gossip Girl. As for who Whistledown really is... that's what everyone else wants to know too.
Bridgerton hits Netflix on Dec. 25.