By Emma Shacklock published
The true identity of Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown is a key mystery throughout season 1 of the new hit series, but there were definitely a few clues viewers might have missed. Netflix’s adaptation of Julia Quinn’s bestselling Bridgerton books provides a wonderful escape into the world of Regency-era London. Bridgerton Season 1 generally focuses on the romance in Julia Quinn’s first Bridgerton book - The Duke and I - between Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings.
But overseeing everything that goes on as the Bridgerton and Featherington families attempt to secure suitable marriages, is anonymous gossip writer Lady Whistledown.
When it comes to secrets and scandals, she seems to know it all. It’s one of the show’s best mysteries. Until, that is, a crucial scene at the end of the series reveals all.
If you have not yet reached the end of the popular period drama or read the book series, then be warned: major spoilers ahead!
But if you have finished watching, these are a few things you might have missed...
So who is Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown?
After teasing the identity of the anonymous gossip columnist Lady Whistledown throughout Bridgerton’s first series, they finally revealed all in the final episode. The true identity of Lady Whistledown is revealed in Julia Quinn’s fourth book in the Bridgerton series, Romancing Mr Bridgerton.
And it’s none other than Penelope Featherington - played wonderfully in the show by Derry Girls’ actor Nicola Coughlan. She is the shy youngest daughter of the Featherington family and Eloise Bridgerton’s best friend. Eloise had been trying to uncover the identity of Lady Whistledown throughout the series.
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How did they reveal Lady Whistledown’s true identity?
In case you missed the vital clue, the final scene of episode 8 shows a hooded figure in a carriage. Julie Andrews - who voices Lady Whistledown - narrates Lady Whistledown’s latest gossip newsletter.
Inside the carriage, the figure then lowers her hood and reveals her true identity. To the shock of unsuspecting viewers, it’s revealed to be Penelope.
Whilst this reveal won’t have come as much of a shock to Bridgerton book readers, for many the news that the rather unassuming Penelope is the gossip writer will have been a genuine surprise.
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Though the book series holds out until Romancing Mister Bridgerton, showrunner Chris Van Dusen reportedly told OprahMag.com: "It felt right for the season to end where we end. I think it sets up future seasons in a really interesting way that I'm excited about."
Romancing Mr Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Penelope Featherington has long harboured feelings for Colin Bridgerton. And after returning to town after being abroad, their once platonic relationship could now turn into something more. When he discovers that Penelope has secrets, however, he must decide if she's really his promise of a happy ever after.
Penelope Featherington spends Bridgerton Season 1 trying to catch the eye of Eloise’s brother, Colin Bridgerton. However eagle-eyed viewers might have suspected she was often conveniently placed to know about key events.
She was one of the very few people who knew about Marina Thompson’s pregnancy - a scandal Lady Whistledown exposes. With an unknowing Colin Bridgerton ready to marry Marina, Penelope certainly had a motive to reveal the truth.
Hopefully a second season will soon be confirmed. Then perhaps viewers will come to learn exactly why Penelope decided to write as Lady Whistledown - and what we might see her do next!
Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.
Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.
In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com.
After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!
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