Bridgerton season 3: what happens to Francesca, according to the books?

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Bridgerton season three is nearly back on Netflix, and we can’t wait to swoon over this season’s storyline, which focuses on Penelope Featherington and the third eldest Bridgerton son, Colin. However, the show will be checking in with most of the Bridgerton siblings, including Eloise, Benedict and Francesca – who will make her societal debut in season 3. 

Each season is adapted from the novel series by Julia Quinn, with Daphne, Anthony and Colin Bridgerton all having been the focus of each season as they find their happily ever after – but what about Francesca’s? 

WATCH: Bridgerton season 3’s trailer is here

Warning, spoiler alert for the novels! Before the sixth book, When He Was Wicked, Francesca had already married the Earl of Kilmartin, John Stirling, in a love match. However, at the beginning of the novel, it transpires that she is now a widow, and has been for the past four years while grieving the loss of her husband. 

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton

However, her late husband’s cousin, Michael, is one of London’s most infamous bachelors and has always held a torch for Francesca, despite only meeting her for the first time at his cousin’s wedding. The synopsis reads: “After a lifetime of chasing women, of smiling slyly as they chased him, of allowing himself to be caught but never permitting his heart to become engaged, he took one look at Francesca Bridgerton and fell so fast and hard into love it was a wonder he managed to remain standing.” 

Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton.
Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton.

Michael becomes the new Earl of Kilmartin, but goes to stay in India while grieving John, who was also his best friend. Upon deciding that she is ready to remarry and that she wants a baby, and with Michael feeling the pressure to produce an heir, they decide on a pragmatic match – on Francesca’s side, while Michael has been in love with her for years. While we won’t give it all away, no Julia Quinn book would be complete with a happily ever after!

Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton
Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton

Although it has yet to be confirmed that Francesca’s love interests will be in the new season, Nicola Coughlan sparked fan speculation that one of them would be entering the fray after teasing that there was a secret new cast member on the show. Speaking to E! News, she said: “I’ve heard there’s a new man entering into the Ton, as we call it. Into London society.” Who knows?! 

Meanwhile, Sam Phillips has also joined the cast as Lord Debling, the main suitor of Lady Penelope Featherington – and the love rival of Colin. 

Bridgerton will be released in two parts on 16 May and 13 June 2024 

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