Sixty-three million viewers have devoured the first season of Bridgerton on Netflix, and very few of them have figured out which brother is which or how many children there actually are in the Bridgerton brood. But eagle-eyed viewers and book readers are aware: for most of the season, Bridgerton Baby #6, also known as Francesca, is conspicuously missing. Why is Miss F– not a part of the shenanigans of the season? Where is Francesca Bridgerton?
Simple Answer: In Bath
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We are told that Francesca has left London to spend the season with her Aunt Winnie in Bath. It was common in the era for young ladies who are not out in society to be allowed to spend several months with relatives in other climes. They would get to see other parts of the country, maybe get a watercolor tutor, learn rudimentary side-saddle positions. What else did they have to look forward to? An entire spring and summer of playing “Catch and Toast” with their younger siblings while everyone is at balls and getting felt up at garden parties? Bath, it is.
Practical Answer: Off Screen
Getting Francesca out the way has to have some purpose for the Bridgerton showrunners. Obviously, the season focuses on the events in the first of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novels, The Duke and I, and that is her sister Daphne’s story. With her other sister, Eloise, taking up the spotlight with all the great one-liners and acerbic observations, what would there be left for poor Baby F to do? Well, other than confuse viewers like the Bridgerton boys seem to.
Also, as the seasons progress, (cross those fingers and pray to romance author and savior of democracy, Stacey Abrams, that we get all the seasons), Francesca will age into society and get a romance of her own. Ruby Stokes, who plays Francesca, is young, and perhaps too young to age into a character who will get her own romantic story line. Is it possible that the showrunners wanted the opportunity to re-cast the character with someone older for future stories and seasons? Maybe.
My Answer: Back Stage
In the Bridgerton Cinematic Universe, there are lords and ladies alike running around London and the English countryside, during season one, who will venture into our Bridgerton story to sweep our misses off their feet and knock our gentlemen off their mounts.
We’ve already discussed how a certain Miss Sheffield and her dog, Newton, will enter in season two to see the Viscount Bridgerton eat his own words about love. As each subsequent novel deals with the incoming romance of each Bridgerton sibling, we can safely assume that those love interests are waiting in the wings to enter the show. Some we have met, some we haven’t, and some we already know very well.
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What does this mean for little teenage Francesca Bridgerton? It means there is a story developing behind the scenes that will one day be her love story. Her love is waiting in the wings. Setting up that Francesca is not a resident Bridgerton homebody, but instead one member of the family who enjoys being out of the nest, will inform her future life.
Canon Answer: The Book
The reason I care so much about Francesca’s future, and not, for the moment, Eloise or Benedict or Colin’s, is because Francesca’s book is Just That Good. And here is where I caution slight spoilers for some of the future unfolding of the Bridgerton story.
According to the novels, Frannie is a bit of a mystery in the Bridgerton sphere. She’s less likely to say whatever she thinks, she’s more reserved, more contained, and less free with her feelings.
One of the reasons we see less of Francesca is because by her very nature, Francesca shows less.
If the events of the first season of Bridgerton take place in 1813, it will be a few years before Francesca marries. But it will be closer to ten years before the events of her novel, When He Was Wicked, transpire. And look, I don’t want to be hyperbolic, but HANDS DOWN FRANCESCA’S NOVEL IS THE BEST OF THE BRIDGERTON BOOKS. Whew. I’m glad I got that off my chest.
Francesca Bridgerton has a bit of a different future set out for her than her siblings. She will know some real pain and trauma. But, in about a decade, she will know SOME REAL HOTNESS, because the hero of When He Was Wicked is better than any Duke of Hastings or Bridgerton brother by a Scottish mile.
In other words, somewhere out there, The Merry Rake is raking it up so that he will be WELL-SUITED when he falls SUPER HARD for Francesca Bridgerton.
So, in conclusion, I think we can all agree that Francesca Bridgerton is mostly absent from the events of season one of Bridgerton because she cannot possibly handle all of Daphne’s drama AND all the hotness coming her way. It’s too much for her, and too much for us. Let the poor girl luxuriate in Bath for a season or two. Come 1824, Fran will be BUSY.
Oh, and if you haven’t started reading the Bridgerton novels, I highly recommend it. Join our Bridgerton Book Club as well and watch our discussions on YouTube. Or you can listen on The Cool Table Podcast. We will be reading Benedict’s book soon. But only so we can eventually get to Francesca’s. Check it out and SUBSCRIBE!
Bridgerton is streaming right now on Netflix. But you knew that.
Beth is the proud sponsor of two little women and a huge fan of fandom. She took 3 years of Latin in high school and now speaks fluent pretension, which fully explains her current preference for gay wizard regency novels. She will roll over for a giant book with a map in the front. She takes comic book recommendations every day but Wednesday and TV recommendations never (she knows what's good).