bad love triangle is bad in Bridgerton

Counting Down the 13 Best ‘Bridgerton’ Characters Ahead of Season Three

Bridgerton women >>>>>>> everyone else

If you’re anything like me, then chances are Netflix’s Shondaland-produced adaptation of Julia Quinn’s very fortunate series of regency romances is all you can think about these days, as we all count down the days to the release of Bridgerton season three.

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To make it through this final month of waiting before we can all dive back into the world of the London ton, I have of course embarked on a rewatch of the two Bridgerton seasons we already have—plus Queen Charlotte’s spin-off, of course. And maybe spent some time re-reading a worn copy of Romancing Mister Bridgerton just to feel some Polin feelings.

During this wait, I have also had plenty of time to compile my ultimate ranking of the thirteen best Bridgerton characters, based on both my personal taste and their objective role and arc within the story.

Spoilers ahead up to the end of Bridgerton season 2, as well as for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story!

13. King George III

King George III doesn’t appear very often during the main Bridgerton timeline—this particular period of time is called the Regency, after all, which implies an absent King and a Regent that rules in his stead. But he was the male protagonist of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (where he was played by Corey Mylchreest) and boy oh boy, was a leading man he was.

Corey Mylchreest as King George III in Queen Charlotte
This is the same King that’s singing “You’ll Be Back” in Hamilton, just so you know (Netflix)

Torn between the very deep love he feels for his new bride Charlotte and the belief that he needs to hide his mental illness from her for her sake, George is the tormented romantic hero we all love to see. Add to that an evergreen poet’s shit and a beautiful love confession and you have the perfect Shondaland recipe to make people everywhere swoon after King George III of all people. The only reason he’s at the bottom of this list is that we haven’t had as much time with him as other characters, and also the fact that he would still lose to his wife in a love confession competition.

12. Simon Bassett

Simon Bassett is the Bridgerton Duke, the one that had everyone sit up straighter on their couches and say “Wait a minute, maybe this period drama really is something”. Even though Regé-Jean Page appeared only during the show’s first season and didn’t return for the following ones, his impact can’t be overstated.

Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings, Simon Bassett, in Bridgerton
His impact really can’t be understated (Netflix)

Simon is exactly what we want from our period drama love interests—then again, so are all the Bridgerton leading men because Shonda Rhimes knows her public very well. Charming and very aware of it, for starters—honestly, that ice cream spoon scene probably has a body count—but he also has a complicated past that leads him to being absolutely adamant about never wanting to fall in love. A declaration that is of course thwarted very quickly. 

11. Eloise Bridgerton

The second-eldest Bridgerton daughter (played by Claudia Jessie) is the anti-conformist character every period drama needs. Sure, Bridgerton has never been too concerned with accurate historical portrayals—that’s not what we’re looking for in it, after all—but Eloise is still very different from most of the other ladies in the show. She’s different from Penelope, different from Kate, and especially different from her older sister Daphne.

eloise bridgerton is kind of an asshole
I too hate social occasions and parading around ballrooms, so I can very much relate to Eloise (Netflix)

The contrast is what makes Eloise such an entertaining character to witness. I do find her very immature at times—definitely sheltered by the fact that she’s a Bridgerton and so very well-liked among the other families of the ton—and that can sometimes be annoying, but overall she’s a character that I enjoy seeing grow even through her mistakes.

10. Marina Thompson

Marina Thompson, played by Ruby Barker, is a fascinating character who was immediately misunderstood and disliked the second she appeared on screen during the first season of Bridgeton. Sure, her whole scheme of trying to trap Colin into marriage so that she wouldn’t give birth to an illegitimate child was questionable, and as a Penelope girlie first and foremost I did not exactly like the harsh words with which Marina explains to her the reality of life, but that’s also what makes her character overall so fascinating.

Marina Thompson, played by Ruby Barker in Bridgerton
Honestly, I really liked her and I’m really sad to know what her ending looks like in the books (Netflix)

Marina is probably one of the most realistic characters we have ever seen in Bridgerton. She’s not sheltered like the Bridgertons or the Featheringtons. She has lived in the real world outside of the ton and is in many ways more decisive and headstrong than all the other young ladies—she sticks with the choices she made and is levelheaded when she deals with the consequences. Overall, I think she deserves a lot more credit than what is usually given to characters like her who “get in the way of a popular ship.”

9. Genevieve Delacroix

Kathryn Drysdale plays Mademoiselle Genevieve Delacroix, the modiste to which every young lady of the ton goes to order dazzling new gowns to wear to every social appointment of the current season. Sure, Mademoiselle Delacroix is a secondary character that doesn’t appear all too often throughout the various Bridgerton episodes, but she’s still a very refreshing addition to a cast that’s made up mostly of high society people and has little space left for someone who is not a member of the ton.

Kathryn Drysdale playing Mademoiselle Genevieve Delacroix on Bridgerton
The fake accent? The gossiping? The teaming up with Penelope? Icon (Netflix)

I knew that Mademoiselle Delacroix had earned a place on my list when we discovered that her French accent is all a ruse she puts up to sound more à la mode to her clients. We love a woman who owns her own business and does all she can to make sure it flourishes—including faking accents and gossiping like her life depends on it!

8. Edwina Sharma

The Sharma sisters were the new introduction to the cast of season 2, and they sure brought a good amount of pathos and drama with them. Charithra Chandran plays the youngest of the duo, Edwina, who arrives in London hoping to secure an advantageous marriage after having prepared for it all her life—and gets entangled in Viscount Bridgerton’s quest to find a bride she doesn’t love as well as the completely unhinged attraction he has for her older sister.

Charithra Chandran as Miss Edwina Sharma in the second season of Bridgerton
Edwina, sweetheart, we’re going to get you a prince sometime soon don’t worry (Netflix)

Edwina is quieter and softer-spoken than Kate, more reserved and dreamy. But that doesn’t mean she’s someone who can just be trodden upon, proving to herself and her family and all of us in the audience that strength can actually take on many forms. I loved watching her journey through season 2 and I hope we get to see her finding her own happy ending someday.

7. Benedict Bridgerton

Luke Thompson’s Benedict Bridgerton, secondborn of the clan, has so far been a somewhat marginal presence in the story—clearly waiting for his own season to shine in all his Bridgerton-typical goofiness and silliness. And yet I’ve always found him so incredibly charming that I’m fearing for when he will be the one to be subjected to the Leading Man Glow Up his brothers went through.

Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Bridgerton
Imagine being the hottest brother and knowing it (Netflix)

Benedict, like Eloise, is kind of an outlier in his family. Free from the responsibilities of being the current Viscount, his main struggle so far has been finding his way and his calling—which he found in art—and helping his siblings get out of trouble—what with being the second in a duel and other similar shenanigans. And honestly, we love to see it. Don’t worry babe, your turn to hold the collective Bridgerton Brothers Braincell will come soon enough.

6. Violet Bridgerton

Played by Ruth Gemmell, Lady Violet Bridgerton is the Dowager Viscountess and the matriarch of the family, forever struggling to keep her children from causing too much scandal. Then again, she’s also very keen on all of them marrying for love—since love was the driving force of her marriage to her beloved Edmund, whose untimely death left her devastated and whom she still remembers longingly even to the present time of the story. 

Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
I know this lady is dealing with an ungodly amount of stress because of all of her progeny (Netflix)

I always love seeing Violet on screen and witnessing the way she does her best to raise her children—even though she should really step up on those sex ed classes, let’s just say that—and I also thought that her whole storyline during Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story was such an important addition that is often overlooked when it comes to “mother” characters in period dramas. Here’s to hoping her garden does bloom sometime soon. 

5. Anthony Bridgerton

Anthony Bridgerton, played by the honestly incredible Jonathan Bailey, is the eldest of the Bridgerton brood and the current Viscount—a position into which he stepped much earlier than anticipated after the tragic death of his father Edmund. And as a consequence of that, Anthony is plagued by the usual “eldest sibling starter pack”—anxious, controlling, stubborn, parent to his younger siblings, incredibly unhinged, and with a colossal amount of trauma he is hellbent on ignoring.

anthony and Bridgerton's small look at trauma
And this is the Viscount at the head of one of the ton’s most prominent families? (Netflix)

And that’s why seeing him fall head over heels in love with Kate Sharma and proceed to try and deny that for the better part of season 2 is incredible content. I loved every second of it. Those two really are made for each other and I hope we get to see more of their married life together once season 3 is released.

4. Queen Charlotte

Queen Charlotte, played by Golda Rosheuvel in Bridgerton and by India Amarteifio in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is the shining center of the ton’s social life. She declares Diamonds, arranges weddings, meddles in everyone’s quests for husbands, and religiously reads Lady Whistledown—clearly torn between despising her and admiring her. 

Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton with a doggo
An incredible style icon throughout the decades (Netflix)

Her own spin-off added depth to the character, introducing us to her younger self and her struggle to adapt to her new life as Queen of the United Kingdom—and of course, to her loving and still complicated relationship with her husband George, whom Charlotte continues to love deeply even as an adult. The final scene of the spin-off, with both the young and older versions of the couple hiding under the bed, really tugged at everyone’s heartstrings. Plus, Charlotte wins hands down the title of “best declaration of love in this entire narrative universe”—nothing has been as romantic as “I will stand with you between the Heavens and the Earth, I will tell you where you are”.

3. Lady Danbury

Lady Danbury, played by Adjoa Andoh, is nothing short of iconic—and that’s because every good period drama needs an older, very rich woman who has no other obligations but meddling in the love lives of her younger relatives and acquaintances. With her no-nonsense attitude and perfect understanding of how the ton works, Lady Danbury is always a force to be reckoned with—and one that lent a considerable helping hand to the two Bridgerton marriages we’ve seen so far on the show.

Lady Danbury on Netflix's Bridgerton.
Throwing parties and organising marriages, honestly what a life (Netflix)

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story introduced us to Lady Danbury’s younger version too, played by Arsema Thomas. We follow her as she becomes close friends with the new Queen and deals with her husband, whom she really can’t stand—so much so that when he dies she decides never to remarry, enjoying the freedom that only being a rich widow can give her.

2. Kate Sharma

Kathani “Kate” Sharma, played by Simone Ashley, is really one of the best characters in the whole story—I simply couldn’t get enough of her during season 2 and would have liked hundreds and thousands more scenes with her. Single-mindedly focused on securing her younger sister’s future while ignoring her own desires and also shouldering the responsibility of her entire family after her father’s passing—like every eldest daughter seems doomed to do—all it takes her is a ride through the park in the morning and a bit of witty banter to have Anthony Bridgerton at his most unhinged. Honestly, what a legend.

Kate Sharma played by Simone Ashley
This man was straight up sniffing the air after her. Who is doing it like her? (Netflix)

Her character arc throughout season 2, two, is more than simply denying her very obvious attraction to Anthony. It’s one of letting go of self-imposed obligations, learning how to live for herself, and going after what she wants rather than having her life plan be providing for her sister and then disappear forever. Once again, a lesson that all eldest daughters everywhere should learn.

1. Penelope Featherington

The one and only Lady Whistledown, Penelope Featherington (played by Nicola Coughlan) couldn’t be anywhere else but at the top of this list. I am very much a Penelope stan first and a human second, and I find her to be such a compelling character with all her qualities but also—and maybe especially—with all her faults. That’s because Penelope is very smart, sure, someone who would do anything for her friends, but that’s not all that she is.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton season 3
I know I say this a lot but she really is everything to me (Netflix)

Unlike many “funny fat friend” characters, Penelope is petty and vengeful and she has the intellect to act out on those traits—hence the creation of the Lady Whistledown gossip sheet, with which she has undoubtedly dealt some significant damage. I find her so authentic and so refreshing—even though the trope upon which her own love story is based really is not the best it could be. But that’s okay, Penelope, as long as you like Colin then I guess I’ll like him too!

(featured image: Netflix)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.