Who Is Woman Whistledown on Bridgerton? Her Identification Revealed
As a Bridgerton fan, you’re either here because you made it to the end of the season one finale, “After the Rain” and have important questions, or you’re a little impatient and need to know the show’s biggest secret – aka Lady Whistledown’s identity – ASAP.
Well, dear reader, whatever your reasoning, we’ll tell you in a moment. So if you’re not looking for one spoilerDo not continue this article. Because Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown is nothing more than …
Penelope Featherington. Yes, the quick-witted and outspoken anonymous gossip columnist (played by Nicola Coughlan and voiced by Julie Andrews) is Eloise’s shy and humble best friend and is also secretly in love with Colin Bridgerton. It is that unrequited infatuation that gave us the biggest clue of their identity at the start of the season – but we’ll come back to that in a moment.
Penelope’s secret was revealed to the audience in the final minutes of the finale when Eloise – desperate to uncover Lady Whistledown – thwarted Queen Charlotte’s attempt to catch her on her way to the printers and reveal her. At that moment, the fifth oldest Bridgerton unwittingly saves her friend. The dramatic reveal comes a little earlier than the books, where readers had to wait two years until the fourth novel, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, to find out about Penelope’s alter ego.
LIAM DANIEL / NETFLIX
“It felt right for the season to end where we end,” showrunner Chris Van Dusen told OprahMag.com. “I think it prepares the future seasons in a really interesting way that I’m looking forward to.”
How on earth did we miss a premonition of what now seems obvious? And how did Penelope become the most trusted gossip in the world? We answer these questions below.
The biggest clue to Lady Whistledown’s identity is in episode 6.
Once you learn that Penelope is Lady Whistledown, you begin to realize that the author always seemed to know the same information that the youngest Featherington was familiar with. But the most obvious? In episode 6 “Swish”, just before Colin and Marina flee, Lady Whistledown reveals to everyone that Marina is hiding a pregnancy and has been around since arriving in London at the beginning of the season.
NICK BRIGGS / NETFLIX
The only people in town who are familiar with this information are their cousins, the Featheringtons. She is also closest to Penelope, who was aware of Marina’s plan to fall in love with Colin with her and have a quick wedding so the baby could be his instead of being conceived out of wedlock for another man. This clearly disappointed Penelope, whom Colin had loved from afar for years. And as she told Marina, she did not “condone” her deception. The only way to save him from being trapped in marriage while maintaining loyalty to her family’s secret? Use whistledown. And the night before her most scandalous edition hit the hands of the bin, Penelope arrived at the Bridgerton Gardens sobbing to be comforted by Eloise.
The column read in part, “Everything is fair in love and war, but some battles leave no winner. Just a broken hearted trail that makes us wonder if the price we pay is ever worth the fight. The ones we do love have the power to inflict the greatest scars … Desperate times can lead to desperate action, but I’d bet many will think their actions are beyond the pale. ”
Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Colin discovers and reveals Lady Whistledown in the books.
It’s important to remember that the only people who know Whistledown’s identity are us, the audience. Nobody in the Bridgerton world is aware of this. In the case of a second season, it will be interesting to see Van Dusen continue the storyline as he has made some changes to his adaptation.
But in the fourth book, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Lady Whistledown is not revealed until 11 years after the newspapers began by Penelope at the age of 17. Interest in debunking the top columnists when Lady Danbury offers £ 1,000 to the person who can spot her. In the midst of the Hooplah, Lady Whistledown publishes her final column to the great disappointment of British society.
Colin, whose relationship with Penelope grows closer by the day (they get married on the books, FYI), believes Eloise is the culprit until he secretly follows Penelope to a church deep in London. Then he watches as she drops a package on the back of a bank. Against Penelope’s will, he reads its contents, where he finds Lady Whistledown’s last column, which served to close the public claim of her archenemy Cressida Twombley that she was Whistledown. Angry, jealous, and impressed with Penelope’s secret, he agrees to keep it to himself.
LIAM DANIEL / NETFLIX
Fast forward a few chapters and Cressida Twombley finds out what Penelope is hiding. And she blackmailed them for £ 10,000 in a truly evil villain way. A disturbed Penelope tells her current husband Colin the terrible development, and he has a master plan to save her: Tell the truth.
At a ball thrown by Daphne, he tells everyone present during a toast:
“You could say my wife has two girl names. Of course you all knew her as Penelope Featherington, just like me. But what you didn’t know, and what I wasn’t smart enough to find out until she told myself, is that she’s also the brilliant, the funny, the breathtaking – Oh, you all know who I’m talking about. I’ll give you my wife! Lady Whistledown! “- Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Cue the applause. The two live happily ever after. Colin publishes a number of his personal travelogues and Penelope withdraws her pseudonym to write a novel based on her life: The Wallflower. They have four children: Agatha, Thomas, Jane and George.
So why did she do it?
LIAM DANIEL / NETFLIX
This is perhaps the biggest question of all as we wonder how and why a 17 year old Penelope Featherington decided to become the source of the hottest tea in Regency London.
Again we look at the books. When Penelope answered that exact question to Colin, he said the column was started accidentally when her father’s attorney discovered random reflections she wrote about a miserable first season as a debutante.
“I wasn’t particularly happy and wrote a pretty scathing account of the party I had been to the night before. And then I did another and another. I didn’t sign them, Lady Whistledown; I just have them written for fun and hid them in my desk. Except for one day I forgot to hide them. “- Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
The lawyer was impressed with the idea of having her words published as a column, and he made all the necessary arrangements with a printer to have them distributed. The money she makes is deposited into a secret account on her behalf. After the first four years, she passed all the money she had earned on to her mother, disguised as money that a great-aunt had left behind. Penelope also stated in the books that she gives money to charity. At the time of Cressida’s blackmail attempt, Penelope knew she had at least £ 8,426 in her name, which today is roughly £ 911,257.74 ($ 1,230,015.70) according to a nifty inflation calculator. Basically, at the beginning of the 19th century, Penelope was a super rich, independent professional woman – and nobody knew it.
And now for one final question: will all of this come to light on the show? Dear reader, we just have to wait and see.
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