Is the Bridgerton Family Real? What We Know About the Inspiration For Netflix’s Newest Hit

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.

Viewers may be curious to know if Bridgerton on Netflix is based on a true story. The series, created by Chris Van Dusen (Scandal) and Shonda Rimes, premiered on Netflix on Thursday, December 25, and viewers have already devoured it over the holidays.

The show is a deep dive into the lavish and competitive world of Regency London society and follows each of the late Viscount Bridgerton’s eight children: Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth. The show is set between 1813 and 1827 in London, as viewers explore the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair and the aristocratic palaces of Park Lane and are taken on a journey through the power struggles and sexy romances of the Regency London High society.

As Rimes’ first show for Netflix after her $150 million deal, Bridgerton is expected to have a ton of eyes on it. And from the looks of it so far, there’s already a passionate fanbase. But is Bridgerton based on a true story? The short answer is no. Bridgerton is based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series. The series has one book for each of the Viscount Bridgerton’s eight children. In an interview with Good Reads, Quinn revealed that the series was originally planned to be a trilogy before she decided to expand it to all eight of the Bridgerton siblings.

"Bridgerton" by Julia Quinn Cover

Image: Courtesy of Avon.

“I didn’t originally set out to write an eight-book series,” she said. “At first it was just going to be a trilogy! But readers really took to the Bridgertons (and to the mysterious Lady Whistledown, whose gossip columns narrated the first four books), and I found myself rather enamored with the family, too.”

As for if the Bridgerton family is real, the siblings (as well as Lady Whistledown and the dukes and lords in the series) are also fictional, according to Quinn. “Thus, rather than someone saying, ‘Mary danced with two other men,’ they can say, ‘Mary danced with the Earl of Whatnot and the Duke of Whosis.’ This means that I frequently have to come up with names,” she told Good Reads about how all of the names in the book are made up.

That said, there are some historical inspirations. For example, Queen Charlotte, who is played by Golda Rosheuvel in Bridgerton, sat on the throne with King George III and is biracial. According to PBS, she was descended from Msargarita de Castro y Sousa, a Black branch of the Portuguese Royal House. Historians also claim that portraits of the royal show her with African features to reflect her ethnicity.

Bridgerton also depicts King George III’s mental illness. According to Royal.UK, King George did suffer from “permanent madness,” which made him unable to rule in the eyes of the public and the royal family. Several of King George’s children are also seen in Bridgerton, though in real life he had 15 kids. King George and Queen Charlotte were also the first to live in Buckingham Palace, which was called Buckingham House when they first moved in, according to Women’s Health.

Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix. The Bridgerton book series by Julia Quinn is available on Amazon

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