Lady Whistledown broke the news at the weekend.
It was the show that caused an upsurge in regency-inspired baby names, countless memes, and dating rumours so wild that the cast themselves had to get involved. Yep, we could only be talking about Bridgerton.
Aptly described as Gossip Girl meets Pride and Prejudice, the Netflix show was all any of us could talk about over the Christmas break – swiftly replacing Emily in Paris as 2020's most binge-worthy Netflix series.
But sadly, Bridgerton fans, we come bearing some bad news. (And you may want to be sitting down in your best regency dress for this.) Because yes, the rumours are true: Regé-Jean Page – AKA the Duke of Hastings – will not be returning for Bridgerton season 2.
The news was broken by none other than Lady Whistledown herself, who wrote on Twitter, 'Dearest Readers, While all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton's quest to find Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings.
'We'll miss Simon's presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer - more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear. Yours Truly, Lady Whistledown.'
As fans of the books will know, the Duke of Hastings was always expected to make an early exit – we just didn't expect it to happen so soon. But the show's leading man Regé-Jean Page did, revealing to Variety that he stepped into the role knowing he would only be around for the first season.
'It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year,' he explained, referring to conversations that he had with the show's producers before starting the role.
He added that he liked the idea of only being in the show for one series, telling the publication, '[I thought] "That’s interesting," because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.'
The British actor, who also appeared in Harry Potter, explained that The Duke and Daphne's story won't continue past the first season – though Daphne will be on hand to offer support to her brother as he looks for love in season two.
'One of the things that is different about this [romance] genre is that the audience knows the arc completes,' he said. 'They come in knowing that, so you can tie people in emotional knots because they have that reassurance that we’re going to come out and we’re going to have the marriage and the baby.'
Naturally, Twitter went wild following the announcement – with everyone from singer Dionne Warwick to Kim Kardashian expressing their disbelief.
"I WILL NOT have it", wrote Warwick, while Kim summed up our thoughts exactly, writing, 'WAIT!!! WHAT???'
If you excuse us, we'll just be bank holiday bingeing season one in memoriam.
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Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.
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