'Bridgerton' ending explained: what happened at the end of season one?

Need the 'Bridgerton' ending explained? Let's revisit everything that happens in the gripping finale ahead of season two

Bridgerton season 1, Bridgerton ending explained, Phoebe Dynevor, Rege-Jean Page, Nicola Coughlan
(Image credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX )

Now that Bridgerton season 2 has finally arrived on Friday, we need a little recap of that final episode of Bridgerton season one to refresh our memory of where we left off the hit Netflix series. (It has been 455 days since we've had new episodes, so some catch-up is necessary!) 

Whether you, like us, binged all eight episodes in one sitting (no judgment here, babes), are brand-new to the franchise or are entirely impatient and want to find out what happens and who ends up with whom and who is Lady Whistledown before you've gotten to the end, we have the answers to all the key questions.

*Warning: spoilers are very much ahead!* We also have the Bridgerton season 2 ending explained if you're all caught up with the second season!



PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON and RUTH GEMMELL as LADY VIOLET BRIDGERTON in episode 101 of BRIDGERTON

(Image credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

'Bridgerton' ending explained: what happened in the season one finale?

We've said it once, but we'll say it again...there are spoilers ahead. But seriously, it has almost been a year and a half since the show debuted on Netflix so if you haven't watched season one yet, what exactly have you been doing?!

Below you'll find answers to all your burning questions from the first installment of the show, like what happens to Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey)? What happens to the Featheringtons? And the one we ALL were eager to find out: Who is Lady Whistledown?

1. Does Marina Thompson marry?

Marina believes she has terminated her pregnancy, after drinking poisoned tea—but a doctor confirms otherwise.

Meanwhile, Sir Philip Crane, the brother of Marina’s lover, arrives to say George has died in combat. Sir Philip proposes out of duty, and Marina refuses him, but later accepts, heeding Lady Featherington’s advice that she will grow to love him. But is it the last we'll see of Marina?

2. What happens to Daphne and Simon?

Things aren’t looking good for the newlywed Duke and Duchess of Hastings (played by Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor) after arguing over Simon’s refusal to have children (due to a bitter vow he made to his estranged late father). The couple poses uncomfortably for a portrait and agrees to host one last ball together before separating. Cue the tears.

Tension continues as Simon sticks to his promise. However, he agrees to visit the Bridgerton family home, where he charms Daphne’s young siblings. Later, Lady Danbury, Simon’s honorary godmother, criticizes his pride, while Daphne persuades him of her unconditional love in a romantic, rainy scene—and Simon has a change of heart. Daphne and Simon have sex, and Simon doesn’t pull out this time (as he has done before in an attempt to avoid conception). 

BRIDGERTON (L to R) REGÉ-JEAN PAGE as SIMON BASSET and PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON in episode 102 of BRIDGERTON

(Image credit: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020)

3. Does Daphne get pregnant in 'Bridgerton'?

Yes. At the end of the episode, the couple welcomes their first child: a son, who will be the next Duke of Hastings. 

4. What happens to Anthony Bridgerton?

Anthony has been having an on-off illicit romance with opera singer Siena Rosso, which he had previously called off because of her inferior social status. 

He finally resolves to make their relationship public—inviting Siena to the Hastings ball. But when he arrives at her doorstep, she’s with another man: "You need to let me go," she tells him, saying she needs to look out for herself.

Later, Anthony tells Daphne he will begin the search for a suitable wife.

5. What happens to the Featheringtons?

In a wicked twist of fate, the Featherington daughters are left without dowries due to their father’s gambling. However, it looks like their luck is about to change after Lord Featherington wins a sum of money on a rigged boxing match, but then he’s murdered by the men he scammed. Lady Featherington sobs after receiving the news her husband is dead. 

Meanwhile, poor Penelope—who has lost her father—learns Colin Bridgerton, who she is in love with, is traveling abroad. 

BESSIE CARTER as PRUDENCE FEATHERINGTON and HARRIET CAINS as PHILLIPA FEATHERINGTON in episode 106 of BRIDGERTON

(Image credit: NICK BRIGGS/NETFLIX © 2020)

6. Who inherits the Featherington Estate?

In the season finale, Lady Featherington is presented with a piece of paper with the name of the male heir to the family estate written on it.  "Oh, we located him, ma’am. The man who will inherit the Featherington Estate. Only—well—look," her maid tells her as she hands it over. But in true cliffhanger style, we do not learn who it is. All we can assume is that it is not good, judging by Lady Featherington's facial expression. 

7. Is Benedict Bridgerton gay? Will he explore his sexuality? 

The first season saw the second oldest Bridgerton brother, Benedict, introduced to a new social circle of sexually liberated individuals. After walking in on two men having sex, he appears both surprised and attracted to it—though it is unclear whether it is the sexual freedom he desires or whether he wants to explore his own sexuality, especially as he starts sleeping with Madame Delacroix and seems to be enjoying his new party lifestyle. Will he discover more amount his sexuality in the next season? Fans seem to think so—but we'll have to wait to find out.

NICOLA COUGHLAN as PENELOPE FEATHERINGTON and CLAUDIA JESSIE as ELOISE BRIDGERTON in episode 102 of BRIDGERTON

(Image credit: Netflix)

8. Who is Lady Whistledown?

In the final scene of the episode, the identity of Lady Whistledown is finally unveiled and we learn that it is none other than Penelope Featherington—but talk among fans on social media suggests that this didn't come as a shock to many.

Penelope is the youngest and constantly overlooked sister in her family. On top of that, the man she loves (Colin Bridgerton) only has eyes for Marina and sees her as a little sister, so you can imagine her resentment. However, just because we know who it is doesn't mean Lady Whistledown is ready to put down her pen. In fact, her parting words at the end of season one were, “there is no ending in sight for this author", so there's no doubt she has plenty more savagery in store for us. 

Now that you're all caught up, you're ready to watch Bridgerton season 2, which begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, March 25. 

Francesca Specter is a freelance journalist and the author of Alonement: How to be alone and absolutely own it. Based in north London, she's previously worked for Yahoo Lifestyle, Express.co.uk and Healthy magazine, and has written for the Telegraph, Red and Huffington Post.