The cast breaks down who's who in the Shondaland drama about love, marriage and scandal in 1800s London society.
Adapted from Julia Quinn’s best-selling romance novels by longtime Shonda Rhimes collaborator Chris Van Husen, Bridgerton is an ensemble drama set in 1800s London where one’s place in society matters and scandal must be avoided at all costs. With so many characters to navigate in this sprawling drama, the cast helped ET break down the many family members, friends and royal figures.
More specifically, the Netflix original follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the revered Bridgerton family, as she makes her debut into the Regency era’s competitive marriage market. While hoping to find a match that’s sparked by true love, Daphne must adhere to society’s strictly traditional rules when it comes to meeting potential suitors, who must meet the approval of her eldest brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), who manages the estate following their father’s death.
But not long after Daphne steps out -- and is dubbed the crown jewel of the debutantes by Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) -- does she and others around her become the subject of a scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), who stirs up drama among friends, families and outsiders alike.
Meanwhile, the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page) makes an unexpected return home to London, where he quickly becomes adored by the many mothers, including Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker), looking to marry off the daughters to the most esteemed bachelor available. However, the Duke, who has no interest in settling down, soon finds himself scheming with Daphne as they attempt to navigate the social season together.
See a full rundown of who's who below!
Lady Violet (Ruth Gemmell): Violet is the widowed matriarch of the family who loves and adores her children. “She would defend them to the hilt. She’s never disappointed by her children, she’s only astonished by her children,” Gemmell says. “When you meet her she is adamant about getting her children married off for love to an equal. She wants what she had in her marriage for her children.”
Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor): At the center of it all is Daphne, who makes her debut into society and quickly becomes the crown jewel of all the debutantes. While the adoration brings a number of suitors, none of them are her match. That is until she meets the Duke, and attempts to make a deal with him so they both can master the suiting season.
Eloise (Claudia Jessie): The second oldest daughter, Eloise is less interested in following the traditional rules of society and yearns to make it on her own. “She’s got room to find out what she wants and I don’t think it’s anything that Daphne’s going through,” Jessie says, adding that, “Eloise is the lovable rogue of the family.”
Anthony (Jonathan Bailey): As the eldest son of the family, Anthony has assumed his late father’s title, Viscount, as well as his responsibilities of taking care of the estate. “He’s bearing the weight of heritage and he has the responsibility of making sure that his sisters and brothers get married off and to secure their future,” Bailey says, adding that like Eloise, he’s questioning things, “Like, what it is to be a man and what it is to be able to be there for other people and to make sure that you look after yourself at the same time?” While quick to secure his siblings’ future, he’s less interested in settling down himself.
Benedict (Luke Thompson): Sensitive and endearing, the second eldest son yearns for more than attending the endless round of parties. Instead, he has dreams of becoming an artist.
Colin (Luke Newton): While his older brothers may be less concerned about getting married, Colin takes an interest in at least one of society’s debuts. And sadly for Penelope, who’s madly in love with him, it’s not her.
Francesa, Gregory and Hyacinth (Ruby Stokes, Will Tilston, Florence Hunt): The three youngest Bridgerton children add joy and laughter to their family’s sprawling home.
Lord Featherington (Ben Miller): Despite being the head of the household, this patriarch gets little respect from his family or his friends.
Lady Portia (Polly Walker): Portia is an ambitious matriarch who is determined to make sure each of her daughters marries above their current status and secure a place in society no matter the cost or the feelings of those around her.
Prudence (Bessie Carter): Entering society for a third time in a row, the eldest daughter is considered to be “on the shelf,” making it harder for her or her younger sisters to find appropriate suitors.
Philippa (Harriet Cains): Philippa is the middle Featherington child focused only on one thing: finding herself a husband. (If only it was so easy.)
Penelope (Nicola Coughlan): A fan-favorite from the books, she’s perhaps the most relatable of the bunch. “She’s a very clever girl. She’s really ahead of her time,” Coughlan says, adding that over the course of the show, audiences get to see different sides of the youngest Featherington sister. “Because of her family, she’s very shy and held back. Then when she’s with Eloise, she totally gets to chill out. And then she’s madly in love with Colin.”
Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker): A distant cousin, Marina makes an unexpected arrival to town and finds herself a fresh, young prospect of London society, disrupting Portia’s plans for her own daughters. But she’s harboring a secret that may prove to be her own undoing.
The Duke and Lady Danbury
Duke Simon Basset (Rege-Jean Page): The Duke of Hastings finds himself at the center of intrigue and gossip after making an unexpected return to London just as Daphne and other women of society made their official debut in hopes of finding a suitable husband. But this Duke has zero interest in title, society or marriage.
Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh): Danbury is a straight shooter who is unconcerned with the rules of polite society. “She has lots of money, she’s a widow, she has no children, so in this society, she’s about as free as a woman can get,” Andoh says. “She’s a game player in town.” And while she has no children of her own, she serves as a mother-like figure to the Duke and cares deeply for him.
Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel): While not a character in the books, the real-life royal serves as the tastemaker of London, determining the fate of those trying to make moves in society. “You’ll see her in lots of different outfits, lots of different wigs, and it kind of adds to the creativity of her character,” Rosheuvel says. “She’s quite feisty. She loves a gossip.” And she becomes obsessed with Lady Whistledown’s column.
King George III (James Fleet): The King of Great Britain known as the “mad king” who ruled from 1760 to 1820.
Prince Friedrich (Freddie Stroma): Played by the Harry Potter actor, the Prince is Charlotte’s nephew who has come to London in search of a suitable wife.
Lady Whistledown (Voiced by Julie Andrews): As the gossip girl of London, Whistledown’s mix of social commentary and sharp-tongued observations sends society into a frenzy as they try to discover who is behind the gossip rag. “She writes the most scathing things, but she says it with such a beautiful, loving tone and smile,” Van Dusen says, adding that Andrews “is incredible. She’s a legend and it’s been amazing working with her.”
Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix.