Bridgerton Season 1 Story Recap – The Fake Proposal

Bridgerton Season 1 Introduction

Bridgerton Season 3 is finally returning in May 2024 with a focus on our next favourite couple, Penelope and Colin! But before, that if you need a quick refresher on what went down in the previous seasons, our full story recap of Season 1 and Season 2 has your back!

Bridgerton Season 1 is where it all began. Following a certain global pandemic, Shondaland decided to help us escape reality with a Gossip Girl-esque romance set in the Regency era. Based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels, Season 1 begins with the eldest Bridgerton daughter, Daphne who makes her debut as an eligible maiden in London’s high society.

Daphne and Simon

It is 1813 and right when the social season begins, London is accosted by the gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown who seems to know all that is going on including the most scandalous incidents. But this seems to be the least of Daphne Bridgerton’s worries as she goes from being the best debutante of the season, approved by Queen Charlotte herself, to being harassed by unseemly gentlemen like Berbrooke. With Anthony, her older brother being extra protective, Daphne has a hard time finding a suitor.

That is till Anthony’s rakish friend, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings and Lady Danbury’s prodigy, comes across Daphne punching Berbrooke. With no interest in marriage, Simon offers Daphne a deal. He will pretend to court her so that no one tries to approach him. Meanwhile, with Daphne catching the eye of a gentleman, more suitable men may line up to woo her.

Long story short, Daphne starts to feel some sort of attraction and it doesn’t help that Simon teases and flirts with her. However, he has a dark secret that doesn’t allow him to marry. His cruel father kicked him out when he was a child. As revenge, years later, he promises his dying father that the Hastings line will come to an end as he will never have a child.

His plans are ruined when he finds himself falling for Daphne and in a moment of weakness, they kiss. Of course, the protective Anthony catches them and gives him a choice – marry Daphne to save her reputation or duel with him. But when Daphne realises that a rival debutante, Cressida Cowper has seen them kiss, she points out that the duel will be useless.

Simon lies by omission by making her believe that he cannot have children due to a medical condition. Daphne doesn’t mind and they get married with Queen Charlotte’s blessing. The marriage has a rocky start as Daphne believes Simon doesn’t love her but that changes when he confesses that he does.

They have a raunchy honeymoon phase before Daphne realises that Simon stops himself from climaxing in her so that she won’t get pregnant. But otherwise, he is not impotent as he let her believe. To confirm this theory, she seduces him and doesn’t set him free till the end of the act. His worried reaction is enough proof and she distances herself from him.

They live together to keep up appearances but Daphne is miserable. Finally, Lady Danbury tells her about Simon’s vow to his horrible father. On the day of their first ball in London, Daphne goes to Simon and they patch up. At the end of Bridgerton Season 1, we see that Daphne and Simon have a child.

Anthony and Sienna

Of course, we have several subplots running parallel. While we have the Simon-Daphne drama, there is another couple – Anthony and the opera singer, Siena. While they are having an affair, he breaks up with her to appease his mother. However, he regrets the decision and they have an on-and-off relationship throughout the season.

When he challenges Simon for Daphne’s honour, he hopes to run off with Siena in the aftermath. Later, when he invites her to Simon and Daphne’s ball, she realises that he will never leave high society and she is not meant to be a part of it. She tells him that they should return to their separate worlds and they part ways.

The Featheringtons

The Featheringtons are a family of loud and crass individuals. However, the youngest daughter happens to be the sweet and soft-spoken Penelope who is friends with Eloise Bridgerton while having a crush on Colin Bridgerton. The Featheringtons are also joined by their unwedded cousin, Marina who is pregnant. She reveals that the father is a Sir George Crane who is currently fighting overseas and they love each other.

With Mrs. Featherington trying to get Marina married off, she forges a letter which claims that George is not interested in her. Marina’s prospects are all unsuitable but Colin comes to her aid as they seem to have some history. 

Luck doesn’t seem to be in their favour as this happy news is quickly overshadowed by the fact that Lord Featherington has gambled away all of his fortunes. Lady Featherington and Marina team up to trap Colin and it works as he hopes to marry her quickly. A jealous Penelope tries to sabotage them but Colin is undeterred.

Even after she learns that George’s letter was forged, Marina doesn’t care as she is cruel to Penelope to make her back off. Fortunately, just before Colin and Marina can leave, Lady Whistledown reveals that Marina is pregnant. (Whelp, that honestly should have given us a clue to the columnist’s identity.)

Colin is heartbroken and distances himself which has Marina trying to attempt an abortion. Penelope finds and helps her followed by Sir Phillip Crane’s arrival who reveals that George is dead. George had always planned to marry Marina, and to honour his promise, Phillip proposes to her. She refuses at first but on learning she is still pregnant, she agrees.

Meanwhile, Lord Featherington bets against Simon’s boxer friend, Will Mondrich and tells him to throw the fight so that they can earn good money. Will accepts the deal and after losing the fight, he gets his money. However, Lord Featherington is murdered by the gamblers.

Now that Colin is single, Penelope tries to confess her love to him but he reveals that he is leaving.

Queen Charlotte and Eloise’s Search

With King George’s health deteriorating, his wife, Queen Charlotte oversees all matters of society and state. While she is praised for accurately picking the diamond of the season – Daphne, it soon goes downhill when Anthony chases away her suitors.

Whistledown makes Charlotte a laughing stock by mocking her that her ‘Diamond’ cannot even find herself a suitor. Furious, Charlotte is hellbent on matchmaking Daphne with Prince Friedrich and also exposing the identity of Lady Whistledown.

Meanwhile, curious how Whistledown seems to know everything, Eloise starts her own search and seems to suspect the ton’s modiste, Genevieve. She also seems to bond with her older brother, Benedict as they don’t fit into the roles expected from them. Benedict has his own little sub-plot which has him sleeping with Genevieve after he runs into his artist friend, Henry hooking up with a man.

Charlotte realises that Eloise is also looking for Whistledown and they pair up. But Eloise is earnest in finding the columnist to help clear the Featheringtons’ reputation after Whistledown reveals that Marina is pregnant.

At the end of the season, a frustrated Charlotte has her men corner Lady Whistledown. But with Eloise needing her to clear the Featheringtons’ name, she helps Whistledown escape. She later realises that the columnist is not Genevieve as she has left the country according to Benedict. As for the viewers, it is revealed that Penelope is Lady Whistledown.

Read More: Bridgerton Season 2 Story Recap

What did you think of Bridgerton’s Season 1 story recap? Will you be tuning in for Season 3? Do let us know in the comments below!

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