Francesca Bridgerton’s First Husband: A Deep Dive into Bridgerton Season Three

Francesca Bridgerton’s First Husband: A Deep Dive into Bridgerton Season Three

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Written By Joe Martin

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“Bridgerton,” Netflix’s hit series renowned for its opulent period settings and intricate love stories, is back with a much-anticipated third season. This season introduces new romantic developments for the Bridgerton siblings, including the growing relationship between Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington, as well as Francesca Bridgerton’s burgeoning romance with John Stirling. But who is Francesca Bridgerton’s first husband? Let’s delve into the details.

Who Are the New Romantic Pairings in Season Three?

Season three of “Bridgerton” primarily focuses on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and his evolving relationship with Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan). Fans have long anticipated this storyline, eager to see the culmination of subtle hints and growing tension between these characters from previous seasons.

In parallel, Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), a character who has mostly remained in the background, begins to step into the spotlight. Her story takes a new direction as she forms a connection with John Stirling (Victor Alli). Unlike her siblings, Francesca approaches love and marriage with a pragmatic outlook, understanding her role in society’s matrimonial expectations without the dreamy romanticism seen in other characters.

How Does Francesca’s Love Story Unfold?

Francesca’s romance is distinctively characterized by an understated yet profound connection with John Stirling. Their relationship blossoms through shared silences and meaningful glances, a portrayal that actor Victor Alli describes as a discovery of mutual understanding beyond spoken words. This nuanced depiction of intimacy sets their story apart from the more dramatic courtships typically featured in the series.

The bond between Francesca and John is built on shared experiences and a quiet mutual understanding that often speaks louder than words. This portrayal aligns with Francesca’s practical approach to life, reflecting her internal acceptance of societal norms while subtly challenging them through her actions and feelings.

What Can We Expect from Francesca in Future Seasons?

While Francesca’s romantic journey begins in season three, she doesn’t become a central figure until later in the series. Julia Quinn’s book “When He Was Wicked” hints at deeper and more complex developments for Francesca’s character. Future seasons are expected to explore her challenges and growth, particularly her interactions with her mother, Violet Bridgerton. Both characters are widows, and their unique relationship will likely play a significant role in Francesca’s evolving narrative.

A Glimpse into Francesca’s Journey in Season Three

In the third season of “Bridgerton,” Francesca returns from Bath, where she spent time with her Aunt Winnie, and makes her societal debut. Unlike other debutantes, Francesca shows little interest in suitors or the rituals of courting. Instead, she prefers the company of her pianoforte and the solace it brings.

According to showrunner Jess Brownell, “Francesca doesn’t always say what she’s feeling like the rest of the Bridgertons. So we were always looking for little ways to clue people in on the fact that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. She has a very rich internal world.”

Tragically, John Stirling, Francesca’s first husband, dies two years into their marriage from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, leaving her a widow. This loss profoundly affects Francesca, who is forced to navigate her grief and societal expectations alone.

Francesca’s Life After John Stirling

Following John’s death, Michael Stirling, John’s cousin and the new earl, flees to India, overwhelmed by grief. Upon his return four years later, Francesca, who now desires to remarry and have children, finds herself entangled in a complicated emotional web. Michael, who has secretly harbored feelings for Francesca, realizes he wants to be more than just a friend. Their evolving relationship eventually blossoms into love.

Hannah Dodd, who portrays Francesca, notes that her storyline in season three foreshadows events in “When He Was Wicked,” particularly her close relationship with her mother. “I’ve tried to kind of create that relationship with Violet just because there’s so many similarities going forward,” Dodd explained. “Everything that I kind of did to create Francesca comes from that book.”

The Bridgerton Family Dynamics

The Bridgerton family, with its eight children and widowed viscountess, remains at the heart of the series. Each sibling has a unique story, contributing to the rich tapestry of the show. Here’s a quick guide to the Bridgerton siblings and their roles:

Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey): The eldest, carrying the weight of family responsibilities and societal expectations.
Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson): Struggles to find his own path, exploring his passion for art.
Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton): Charmingly affable, his storyline with Penelope Featherington takes center stage in season three.

Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor): The eldest daughter, whose romance with Simon Basset captured hearts in season one.
Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie):

The rebel of the family, uninterested in courtship games and more focused on societal issues.
Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd): The understated sibling whose pragmatic approach to love and marriage sets her apart.
Gregory Bridgerton (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth Bridgerton (Florence Hunt): The youngest, growing up under the protective wing of their older siblings.


“Bridgerton” season three enriches the series with new romantic arcs and deeper character developments, particularly for Francesca Bridgerton. Her journey from a pragmatic young woman to a widow grappling with loss and new love adds a fresh dimension to the show. As we anticipate future seasons, Francesca’s evolving narrative promises to bring even more depth and complexity to the beloved “Bridgerton” universe.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is Francesca Bridgerton’s first husband?
Francesca Bridgerton’s first husband is John Stirling, introduced in season three of “Bridgerton.” Their relationship is characterized by a deep, unspoken bond.

2. How does John Stirling die in “Bridgerton”?
John Stirling dies from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm two years after marrying Francesca, leaving her a widow.

3. What happens to Francesca after John’s death?
After John’s death, Michael Stirling, John’s cousin, becomes the new earl. He harbors secret feelings for Francesca, which eventually lead to their romantic relationship upon his return from India.

4. Will Francesca’s story continue in future seasons of “Bridgerton”?
Yes, Francesca’s story is expected to continue and develop further in future seasons, particularly exploring her relationship with her mother and her journey to find love again.

5. How does Francesca’s character differ from her siblings in “Bridgerton”?
Francesca is more pragmatic and less romantic than her siblings. She approaches love and marriage with a practical mindset, which sets her apart in the series.

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