The Bridgertons: Who Is Lady Whistledown?

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BRIDGERTON (L to R) PHOEBE DYNEVOR as DAPHNE BRIDGERTON and REGÉ-JEAN PAGE as SIMON BASSET in episode 101 of BRIDGERTON Cr. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX © 2020

‘THE BRIDGERTONS’: WHO REALLY IS LADY WHISTLE DOWN?

No, we don’t mean Julie Andrews.

When ‘The Bridgertons’ quietly appeared in our lives with that delightful first camp trailer, comparisons to ‘Gossip Girl’ immediately came to mind thanks to ‘Lady Whistledown’, a scandalmonger who takes great delight in revealing the secrets of the High Society in its bulletin.

Voiced by the incomparable Julie Andrews, Lady Whistledown influences everyone with her words, pulling the strings that drive the series forward. “Every now and then I guide it, turn it, point it in one direction or another,” Andrews told Parade. “I can make or break anyone, it seems if I want to.”

But that’s not entirely true. Yes, Lady Whistledown does all of this and more, but Julie Andrews isn’t playing this character, not really. Yes, she gives voice to the narration, reading every letter Whistledown writes, but the Lady in question is played by someone else, someone who will be very familiar to anyone who watches the show …

Here’s your second spoiler warning! Read on if you love to gossip!

Throughout the first season of ‘The Bridgertons’, everyone talks about Lady Whistledown, to the point that even the characters in the series begin to resent her apparent omniscience.

Then, in the last moments of the end of the first season, Julie Andrews begins to narrate again with the following words:

And yet there is no end in sight for this author, who recently realized a plan to unmask her. My only worthy opponent indeed. Maybe one day I will introduce myself … Although you should know, dear reader, that decision will be entirely up to me. Sincerely, Lady Whistledown.

And at that moment, the woman’s hood lowers and it is revealed that Lady Whistledown is none other than …

This is your latest spoiler warning. Stop here if you don’t want to discover the true identity of Lady Whistledown…

So is. Turns out Penelope Featherington was Lady Whistledown the entire time.

Fans of the Julia Quinn books on which the series is based already knew, of course. This surprise was revealed back in 2002 when Quinn published the fourth book in the series, entitled “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.”

In that story, Colin Bridgerton and readers discover Whistledown’s true identity when they observe Penelope delivering her column. At first, Colin is jealous of her success as a writer, but in the end, their romantic relationship also turns into a writing partnership, one in which Penelope helps Colin edit his books.

Looking back, the first three books contained a lot of clues to Penelope’s secret, and that’s also true of the first ten episodes of the Netflix adaptation. Perhaps the most obvious thing came when Lady Whistledown exposed Marina Thompson’s pregnancy to “save” Colin from marriage to her. In hindsight, it is now clear that Penelope revealed this secret because she is in love with Colin herself.

What’s perhaps peculiar about the Whistledown reveal is that this could have easily gone on longer, just like in the books. Now that we know who Lady Whistledown is, the second season will play out quite differently. Before we were also in the dark, as was Eloise, but now, our new knowledge will reframe the story in the future.

Regardless, however, Penelope’s grip on high society will remain intact until her friends and family finally discover what we already know. And when that happens, Lady Whistledown will become the talk of the town in ways she may not be prepared for.

Towards the end of the first season, Queen Charlotte hires investigators to find Whistledown in an attempt to control what she writes. However, Eloise Bridgerton has also been on the case this entire time, and she is closer than anyone to revealing the true identity of Lady Whistledown.

In the seventh episode, Eloise theorizes that Whistledown could be a merchant, or at the very least, someone with a lot of time on her hands. This leads her to suspect Genevieve Delacroix, and it’s a pretty good assumption. After all, the French merchant listens to all the gossip in town, and that might explain how Whistledown knows so much about what’s going on.

Eventually, Eloise discovers that Lady Whistledown uses a printing press on Lombard Street to publish her newsletter, but she only does so when high society is distracted by big events. Eloise, seeing the perfect opportunity to unmask Whistledown, pays a lackey to drive her there, but he doesn’t arrive in time. And when Eloise shares her suspicions with Colin, her brother admits that he was with Madame Delacroix during the party, which means that she cannot be Lady Whistledown.

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