‘Bridgerton’: Who Is Lady Whistledown?

Golda Rosheuvel Bridgerton Queen Charlotte
Spoiler Alert
Liam Daniel/Netflix

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for all of Season 1 of Bridgerton.]

Dear reader, if you wish to remain in the dark as to Lady Whistledown’s true identity — it’s what she prefers, for now — then turn away now.

Amidst the romance and drama of the first season of the Grey’s Anatomy meets Regency London Shondaland series on Netflix is a mystery that has everyone curious and one (Claudia Jessie’s Eloise Bridgerton) eager to get to the bottom of the person behind the high society scandal sheet. Julie Andrews voices the Bridgerton character, but it’s not until near the end of the finale that we glimpse who’s truly behind it. And Eloise will be quite surprised when she finds out.

Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel, above) tasks Eloise with uncovering Lady Whistledown’s identity — she’s particularly enraged by what she’s reading as the writer details all the happenings of high society in the marriage market — and the young Bridgerton girl thinks she’s figured it out: dressmaker Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale). And upon realizing her brother Benedict (Luke Thompson) is quite taken by the modiste, she sets out to warn her, not once, but twice.

The second time comes after learning Queen Charlotte’s men plan to trap Lady Whistledown at the printing press where she drops off her missives. She intervenes as the writer’s carriage arrives, urging her to go before she is caught. But it’s as Eloise is speaking with Benedict the following day that she realizes it can’t have been Genevieve the night before; the couple attended an informal party together at the time. Then who is Lady Whistledown?

She’s none other than Eloise’s close friend, Penelope Featheringon (Nicola Coughlan). Eloise even keeps her in the loop of her investigation throughout the season! It all fits: Penelope is around to hear the latest about her cousin Marina’s (Ruby Barker) pregnancy and bows out of the finale’s ball early after hearing her friend and unrequited love Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) is leaving to travel. That’s the perfect excuse to allow her to go deliver her latest sheet … and to then exit, as we see as the season wraps up, when Eloise warns her.

“Perhaps I will come forward one day,” Andrews narrates as the audience sees who Lady Whistledown is. “Though you must know, dear reader, that decision shall be left entirely up to me.”

Nicola Coughlan Claudia Jessie Bridgerton Penelope Eloise

(Courtesy of Netflix)

The stage is set for that to happen in a potential second season — if Penelope so chooses to reveal herself. Will Eloise figure out her friend is the one she’s looking for before Penelope confesses? Has Penelope successfully escaped Queen Charlotte’s clutches, or will the search for Lady Whistledown start anew when the next season begins and more members of society are looking to make a match?

What we know for sure is, in the scandal sheet writer’s own words, “With Whistledown still on the loose, next season will be far more interesting.”

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Bridgerton, Season 1, Streaming Now, Netflix