The Featherington family drinks champagne in Bridgerton
(Netflix)

Here’s How Penelope’s Father’s Fate Matches Up With the ‘Bridgerton’ Books

As the Bridgerton story continues, it can be difficult to keep all of the players straight. Now that we’re deep into the story of Colin and Penelope in season 3, we can’t help but wonder what ever happened to Pen’s father, the original Lord Featherington?

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In order to answer this query, we must go back all the way to the pandemic year 2020, a place we seldom wish to go. Bridgerton season 1 was a bright spot that year, and if you’re like us, you might have binge-watched all of the episodes so fast you may not recall every nitty-gritty detail. Yes, we remember that Penelope (Nicola Coughlin) and her sisters, Prudence (Bessie Carter) and Philippa (Harriet Cains), had a father, but by the end of the first season, he was no more.

What happened to Lord Featherington?

Spoilers for season 1 and book 1, The Duke and I, of the Bridgerton series below.

Lord Archibald Featherington (Ben Miller) was the husband of Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker). He was a side character in the series, leaving the husband-finding and child rearing to his wife as he pursued his main passion, gambling. At the end of season 1, Lord Featherington was so deeply in debt that he risked losing everything. He’d gambled away his daughters’ dowries and couldn’t even pay for his daughters’ new dresses. The horror!

Featherington placed a bet against boxer Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) and lost, and men named Reggie and Tom gave him two days to settle his debt. Desperate, Lord Featherington went to Will and asked him to throw the next fight against a boxer called The Beast. Will refused, saying his honor was not for sale, but Lord Featherington insisted that he mull it over and made grandiose offers to share the winnings. The next day, the lord placed a huge bet against Will, including betting the deed to the family home. The Beast won, and Lord Featherington was elated to be back on top.

Unfortunately, his jubilance was short-lived. While celebrating at the brothel later, Lord Featherington was led into a room where he thought a sex worker awaited … but it turned out to be Reggie and Tom. They were looking to collect, and collect they did. The Featherington patriarch died off-screen, and Lady Featherington was later informed of his death.

Is that what happens in the book?

In Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I, Lord Featherington is already dead before the book begins. Cousin Jack (Rubert Young), Baron Featherington, enters the story in book 1, whereas the character does not make an appearance in the TV series until season 2. Since the money trouble storyline was invented for the television series and is not in the book, it makes sense to add his death to kick off Portia’s desperate effort to marry off her daughters and produce a Featherington heir as quickly as possible.


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Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.