‘Bridgerton’ is a Netflix Original series that focuses on the romantic pursuits of London’s aristocracy in the Regency Era. At the center of the story is the eponymous Bridgerton family – eight siblings – all named alphabetically. The first season of ‘Bridgerton’ revolves around Daphne Bridgerton’s quest for true love as she makes her debut into London’s beau monde and angles for suitors among the eligible gentlemen of the ton. Soon, Daphne’s popularity in the marriage mart takes a nosedive (mainly because of her over-protective big brother).
Luckily, the Duke of Hastings steps in as her Knight in shining armor and formulates a plan that will work to both their advantages. If Daphne and Simon, the Duke, pretend to have an interest in each other, it will make Simon unavailable in the eyes of the other matchmaking matriarchs of the ton. Simultaneously, Daphne will attract the attention of other gentlemen (who apparently will get envious if they see her being courted by a duke). But their sham courtship ends up bringing them closer to each other and eventually sees them married after their growing attraction leads to a forbidden kiss.
The show follows Daphne’s romance and subsequent marriage to the Duke, who is harboring pain from a dark past and believes himself to be incapable of love. The story is initially airy and constitutes nothing more than frivolous escapism but takes a dark turn when Daphne’s ignorance in matters of sex leads to a falling out with the Duke. They eventually get their happy ending, but the series had us wondering: is ‘Bridgerton’ based on a true story? Let’s find out.
Is Bridgerton Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Bridgerton’ is not based on a true story. The show is based on Julia Quinn’s eponymous historical fiction romance novels that follow the romantic exploits of all the Bridgerton siblings. Each book in the series tells the fictitious love story of a different Bridgerton. Season 1 of Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’ is based on the book ‘The Duke and I,’ which is the first novel in the series. So no, the story of ‘Bridgerton’ is not rooted in reality.
Having said that, it is important to note that the setting in which the story of ‘Bridgerton’ takes place is mostly inspired by real history. The Bridgertons (and the neighboring Featheringtons) are shown to reside in Grosvenor Square, Mayfield, London. This is a very real place that exists to date. Of course, the place looks very different today than it did in the 19th century (when the show is set). However, the most prominent people of England’s aristocracy had London addresses in Grosvenor Square, widely considered the most stylish part of the city back then.
The show also features the character of Queen Charlotte. She is shown to be a woman of color in ‘Bridgerton.’ In real life, Queen Charlotte may have been a biracial monarch with African ancestry, but it is not an established fact though many historians do believe it to be so. The Queen herself is a real historical figure who was the wife of King George III, who famously lost himself to insanity in his old age (as is also shown in ‘Bridgerton’). You can read in more detail about Queen Charlotte, King George III, and the Prince Regent (who took over as the head of the monarchy while his father was alive) here.
Apparently, “scandal sheets” (like Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers in ‘Bridgerton’) were also quite the rage in Regency-era England. The English aristocracy and nobility thrived on gossip, and it only took a kiss or even a wayward glance to cause a stir in society. An unchaperoned foray into a garden with a man was, in fact, enough to get a lady (and her family) ostracized from polite society. The society held some pretty regressive views on women, who were considered property more than people. But all in all, the historical setting makes for a thrilling fantasy show that promises to become a favorite guilty pleasure.
Read More: Where Is Bridgerton Filmed?