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Bridgerton Season 3 ending explained! Penelope's reveal, new couples, and upcoming drama

In the Bridgerton Season 3 finale, Lady Whistledown is unmasked, and the season concludes with two romantic weddings.

Bridgerton Season 3 ending explained! Penelope's reveal, new couples, and upcoming drama
Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in a still from Bridgerton Season 3

Last Updated: 05.21 PM, Jun 14, 2024


Another season of Netflix’s and Shondaland’s Bridgerton has come and gone with two touching weddings, Lady Whistledown revealing herself to the public, some festive balls, and a hint of what’s to come for Season 4. There are still four Bridgerton siblings who have yet to secure their love match, as matriarch Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) desires. Season 3's finale already suggests some changes to certain story threads, teasing some anticipated events from the books to come. With many moving parts still in motion at the end of Season 3, it might be difficult to keep track of how everything wraps up. 

Tension around Penelope’s secret

Part 2 of Season 3 builds quite a lot of tension in terms of Penelope’s secret pen name. Eloise (Claudia Jessie) threatens to tell Colin (Luke Newton) that Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is Lady Whistledown as soon as she hears the news of Colin and Penelope’s engagement. Penelope begs her former best friend to hold onto the truth a little bit longer so that Penelope can tell her husband herself.


Colin discovers the truth at the end of Episode 6, and he takes some moments to deal with his emotions, which range from anger to jealousy, as one Cressida Cowper points out. Cressida, prompted by Queen Charlotte’s (Golda Rosheuvel) reward to unmask the scribe, had claimed that she was the gossip columnist, but Penelope couldn’t let her take credit for all the hard work over the years, so Pen published an issue that came out right after Cressida’s fake one, which had some harsh things to say about the Bridgerton family.

In the penultimate episode of Season 3, the pair get married in a big church setting. Penelope hesitates as she walks down the aisle, but after some counsel with his older brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and sister-in-law Kate (Simone Ashley), who is pregnant, Colin nods to her and encourages her to keep going. Kate’s words to “not let one mistake define their marriage” seem to have influenced him, though he sleeps on the couch the night of their wedding.

Their wedding breakfast also presents some challenges as the Queen interrupts, demanding a word with the Bridgertons, whose last name Penelope now shares. The Queen takes the simultaneous pamphlet's publication as a sign that the scribe is Bridgerton because it came out to denounce the lies in Cressida’s column. Colin assumes Penelope will give up the column, but she tearfully tries to explain to him how much it means to her. He can't accept that she will continue in the column and no longer hide behind it. 

Lady Danbury and Violet’s complicated past

Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) approves Violet and her brother Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) to attend court, but she admits in the prequel series Queen Charlotte that she did not request Violet's consent when she slept with Violet's father. Violet did encourage Marcus to sort his affairs with Lady D because they were in conflict over his tattling on her attempt to run away seemingly from her marriage when she was still a child. They have a conversation about what happened, and Lady D forgives her brother.

After she finds out that Penelope is the real Lady Whistledown, Cressida visits Penelope to threaten to spill the tea, and she tells Eloise and Colin the news. Cressida doubles the Queen's price to ten thousand pounds, a sum Penelope already possesses due to her prolonged involvement in publishing the column. Colin attempts to dissuade Cressida from blackmailing Penelope, but she just raises the price she wants in return for not revealing Lady Whistledown’s identity to twenty thousand pounds.

After that, Colin sleeps on the couch, and he and Penelope no longer ride in the same carriage to his house. Then, when he discovers a collection of letters Penelope wrote to him during his travels, he comes to the realisation that Pen and Lady Whistledown are inseparable.

Penelope’s public confession

Penelope decides for herself to come forward as the scribe at her sisters’ ball. She sends letters to both Queen Charlotte and Violet to warn them, and the Queen bursts in on the ball to unmask Penelope, who has asked for the Queen’s mercy. He supports her through the incident, and after she confesses, he tells her how proud he is of her. He confesses that he was envious of her, but now he knows how lucky he is to soak up her light.

In Julia Quinn’s books, Lady Whistledown ceases to print after Penelope comes forward at the end of Romancing Mister Bridgerton. At the end of Season 3, the scribe's future remains unclear, but it doesn't seem to have completely shut down.

At the beginning of the final episode, Lady Danbury tries to talk the Queen down by saying that Lady W is probably a vulnerable player in the ton, and she’s merely trying to stay in the game, not beat the Queen at her own game. After receiving a letter from Lady W, the Queen arrives at the ball. She reveals that the letter contains a request from Lady W, pleading with the Queen to grant her the opportunity to present her case in public.

In the beginning, Pen never thought anyone would take her writing seriously, because no one has ever taken her seriously. Now, she realises that many young women probably feel that way. She asserts that her fascination with them compelled her to write about them, yet doing so restored her power and agency. She warns that writing about them was intoxicating, but she acknowledges that she acted carelessly with that power. She says that she sees now how much courage it takes to live a life out in the open. She also reminds everyone that they are all gossiping, because gossip is information that forms bonds.

She concludes by saying that if the Queen affords her the chance to continue, she aims to wield her quill more responsibly. The Queen then remarks that, despite her apparent humility, she will be closely monitoring her actions. However, the question "What is life without a little gossip?" suggests that Pen can continue to write her gossip column.

Lady Danbury tells Penelope that she suspected her of being behind the scribe. After her big moment at the ball, Lady Danbury tells Penelope that she knows the family well enough to know it wasn't one of them. There's only one person who loves the Bridgertons more than she does. Lady D also tells Pen that she looks forward to her next column.

At the end of the finale, Julie Andrews’ voice turns into Nicola Coughlan’s reading Lady Whistledown’s farewell missive, signed Penelope Bridgerton.

Francesca’s new life in Scotland

Francesca drops the news to Violet that she and John Stirling (Victor Alli) hope to take up residence at his primary estate in Scotland, and Violet reacts gracefully, though she is noticeably sad about her daughter being so far away. Violet rests assured that John is a fine choice for Francesca, who has shown her that the slow approach can work as well and that love doesn’t always have to be a swift feeling of butterflies. They play a duet together after she weds John, which ends in a sweet, if a bit awkward, kiss to seal their union.

Eloise has asked Francesca if she can accompany her to Scotland, and Francesca concedes. At the final ball of the season, John’s cousin Michaela Stirling enters the picture to complete their travel party to Scotland. In her introduction to Michaela, Francesca stumbles over her words. In the books, John's cousin is a man named Michael Stirling, and he ends up marrying Francesca at the end of When He Was Wicked.

The second Bridgerton brother confesses to Tilley that he does not wish to be exclusive with her after she reveals she has started to care for him. He tells her that she has opened his world, saying he does not wish to close it again.

In a poignant moment on a familiar swingset they visited in Seasons 1 and 2, Benedict tells his sister Eloise that the next thing he learns could completely transform him. At the end of the finale, Eloise tells Benedict that she will be back in time for their mother’s masquerade ball, which is where he meets his book love interest Sophie in An Offer From a Gentleman.

Eloise and Penelope’s reconciled friendship

Eloise and Penelope have mended their friendship through the trials and tribulations of Penelope’s unmasking as Lady Whistledown. Eloise begins to come around when she realises she has let “that viper,” Cressida Cowper, endanger her family again as the false Whistledown. She urges Penelope to publish again after the Mondrich’s Ball, where Cressida disseminates a teaser of her full issue. When Colin is slow to accept her identity, Eloise comforts Pen, and they share a long embrace before Eloise heads off to Scotland with Francesca.

Viscount Anthony Bridgerton suggests to his pregnant wife Kate that they journey to India so that their child can learn the Sharma family history and so that he can visit her home town. Kate's revelation that Edwina's new husband not only enjoys reading but also encourages her to venture outdoors prompted this suggestion. Queen Charlotte stated earlier in the series that she had heard of Edwina finding a suitable match abroad.

Following Francesca and Eloise's departure, we see all three Featherington sisters adoring their babies. It turns out that Prudence and Philipa both had daughters, while Penelope gave birth to a son who inherited his father's attractive looks. Penelope and Colin's son will become the new Lord Featherington, and his Bridgerton background will undoubtedly give him power.

Colin reveals that he did publish his travel journal manuscript as a book with Penelope’s help, and Philipa even considers her daughter Philomena’s future as a successful writer with no husband.

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