Caroline Quentin says she 'hopes' for a return to Bridgerton
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Bridgerton is on Netflix and the series is based on the popular Julia Quinn novels. The show has been renewed for a second season, which will steer away from Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page). Experts from Findmypast spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about uncovering the ‘real’ Bridgertons.
Has the real Bridgerton family been discovered?
Fans have been keen to find out whether the Bridgertons were based on a real-life family from Regency London.
Around the same time of the fictional Bridgertons there lived the Bridgeman family – headed by Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Earl of Bradford, who was born in 1762.
Similar to a storyline in ‘To Sir Philip, With Love’, Orlando was not due to inherit as he was the third son.
By 1788 he went in search of a wife and just like in Bridgerton, young debutantes were presented at Queen Charlotte’s birthday ball. Orlando married Lucy Elizabeth Byng at St James Piccadilly in London.
There was plenty of scandal surrounding his family as his son, Honourable Captain Orlando Henry Bridgeman, ended up staying with a Lady Sutton after returning from a tour.
Clues have also been found suggesting there may have been a sisterly bond similar to that of Daphne and Eloise (Claudia Jessie).
Lucy and Charlotte Bridgeman made their society debut in 1846. Born only a year apart, they dressed similarly and were recorded as both wearing a ‘train of blue glace’.
Ellie Overthrow-Jones, from Findmypast, said: “A particular highlight for me was the level of detail available through combining historical records and newspapers – even down to the clothes the Bridgemans wore.
“Regency era newspapers are a goldmine for both family history and general history research.
“It saddened me to find that Orlando’s daughters, Charlotte and Lucy, met such a tragic end. But every story is worth telling.
“That’s the great thing about family history: it doesn’t just help us remember those who make the history books. It allows us to explore the stories of everyday people in vivid detail.
“In many ways, newspapers were the social media of the 19th century. They’re jam-packed with local and society gossip.”
She was keen to explore the matchmaking culture from the Bridgerton era, as it is not so different from the modern-day.
She said: “Their motivations may have been slightly different, marrying for wealth, influence, land or to continue a dynasty, but love matches were not unheard of.
“Finding love is a universal rite of passage and this has been consistent throughout history.
“Most of us desire a little romance and companionship and our ancestors were no different. Personal advertisements date back to the 1690s and our newspapers are full of examples of men and women seeking a partner in life.
“You could say these historical lonely hearts were the Tinder of their day. Perhaps we share more in common with our ancestors than we may realise.
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“The matchmaking and debutante scene was covered extensively by the press of the time and this is not too far removed from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture.
“Just as we love hearing the latest gossip on the love lives of the rich and famous, the press of 200 years ago was meeting the demands of an equally gossip-hungry public.”
Explaining why she developed such a strong interest in the Bridgerton family, she said it stemmed from reading one of Julia Quinn’s novels.
She said: “Well over a year ago now, I picked up a book at a second-hand bookstall. It was a Julia Quinn book.
“I devoured it. Then when lockdown hit, I learned she had an eight-book series about a family called the Bridgertons.
I ordered second-hand copies online. In those first few weeks of lockdown, the Bridgerton books were a refuge.
“I got to wondering if they could have been based on a real family. History is often stranger than fiction, after all.
“When I saw the name Bridgeman I was so excited, and then it became addictive with each piece of their story I uncovered, like a puzzle.
“Online research allows you to play detective and it’s so rewarding. I’m so pleased I’ve been able to tell their story hundreds of years later.
“Perhaps Julia Quinn once saw the name Bridgeman and was so inspired it sparked eight books – who knows?”
Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix now.
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