Is Francesca Bridgerton Gay? Who Does She Marry in the Books?

Warning: Major spoilers for Bridgerton Season 3 and the books. In the first part of Bridgerton season 3, it’s quite clear she’s more interested in her piano than finding a husband (relatable, honestly). But her indifference to finding a suitor has got some audiences wondering if Francesca Bridgerton is gay. Not only that, but wondering if her love interest will diverge quite significantly from Julia Quinn’s source material.

Showrunner Jess Brownell has confirmed that there will be queer love stories in the coming season of Netflix’s hit show, telling Refinery29, “I think this is a show about the many ways in which people love. So it only feels right to show all the ways in which people love, including queer love. So we are exploring queer love stories across the next couple of seasons,” she said, adding, “I don’t want to say exactly how that plays out. But it was important to me to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories and tell stories about queer joy as well.” If Francesca Bridgerton is gay, that would confirm a lot of fan theories that have been flooding Reddit and social media.

Is Francesca Bridgerton gay?

Some fans do strongly believe she could be and it appears part two of season three has hinted at that future. In episode eight, Francesca invites Eloise to go with her to Scotland with herself and her new husband, Lord Kilmartin. But a huge twist reveals that Kilmartin’s cousin Michael Stirling—who becomes a love interest for Francesca in the later novels—has been gender-swapped to Michaela.

Francesca Bridgerton's wedding in season 3 part 2

Shortly after the first part of season 3 premiered on Netflix, Twitter and Reddit were full of speculation that this could happen. “did they make francesca gay on bridgerton??? or am i just reading into things? pls tell me if you got the same vibes,” tweeted one viewer. “Francesca Bridgerton is gay u heard it here folks,” wrote another, to which someone else replied: “Literally first episode of the season and i clocked it.”

Theories on Reddit abound, too. In the books, Francesca marries twice. Her first husband, John Stirling, suffers from an implied brain aneurysm and passes away—leaving Francesca as a widow. In a very Bridgerton turn of events, John’s cousin Michael has always possessed strong feelings for Francesca, and after he inherits John’s wealth and estate, he and Francesca fall in love and get married.

Some fans have speculated as to whether the series might “gender-bend” Michael and make the character female. “I want to say Francesca and have them genderbend Michael but this fandom hasn’t been very welcoming to the idea of having any of the siblings be queer,” observed one.

Another agreed, saying: “I feel like they could have the character be played by a woman and still keep all the qualities that made Michael so great and the story would still be just as good. I get that everyone feels differently though.”

That theory isn’t welcome by all fans of the series though. “Honestly anyone but Francesca would work out. In her case, becoming a mother and getting to be pregnant after so long was such a big part of her story,” wrote one. “I’m a huge supporter of LGBT rights, I read LGBT books, and yet I would HATE it if Michael were turned into a woman. It just wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be the same character or the same story. It would be erasure of my favorite book and my favorite male lead in the Bridgerton series,” commented another.

Fans of the book series have praised how Francesca and Michael’s love story is totally different from her siblings. “Francesca is smart, a bit sneaky, and a fun friend. Michael is also a great friend, seductive, and full of self-hate for reasons you’ll understand,” one Redditor wrote.

Another noted the nuances of exploring love after death, “I especially love how Francesca and Michael’s story shows that one doesn’t just have “The One” and if you lose that you’d be grieving and unhappy forever, but instead shows that a person can have multiple great loves in their lifetime and how the love you found again can be just as deep as and does not negate the love that you lost.”

Bridgerton Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

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