Why Penelope Featherington is the Romantic Lead We All Need

In partnership with Netflix.

ICYM: Season 3 of Bridgerton is officially streaming on Netflix! And while this season will check in with *all* of our favorite members of the ton, most of the juiciest bits will focus on the love story between Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton. (Who doesn’t love a friends-to-lovers trope, am I right?!)

I was lucky enough to have a ~sneak peek~ of the season, and I have to say it’s probably my favorite so far. And not just because it’s definitely a little steamier than the slow burn romance of Anthony and Kate last season (all those longing looks nearly killed me, not gonna lie). While I was watching, I was totally obsessed with how amazing a female lead Penelope Featherington, played perfectly by the immaculate Nicola Coughlan, was throughout the entire season.

When we last left Pen, she was a struggling wallflower who overheard Colin, the man she has been in love with from afar for years, coldly joke with his friends that he would never court her. But this season, Penelope is nobody’s second choice. She goes through a transformation so incredible that I sometimes found myself yelling, “GO GIRL!” at my TV screen.

And while this is a story set in the past, Penelope is an *incredibly* modern romantic heroine. Honestly, I think she’s exactly the type of leading lady we all deserve in the year 2024. So, in honor of the season 3 premiere today, I’m laying out my (spoiler-free!) reasoning why I’m #TeamPen.

She Isn’t Afraid to Go Against The Grain

Allow me to remind you, in case you’ve forgotten: Penelope is Lady Whistledown! A self-sustaining queen! Her own means of production! The fact that Pen was able to make an incredible career for herself out of nothing but her own writing makes her worthy of our praise. Sure, does she sometimes hurt the people closest to her with what she writes? Absolutely. But this season, Pen is set on righting her wrongs, including patching things up with her BFF Eloise.

She Uses Her Circumstances to Her Advantage

Listen, women in Regency-era England (even as dreamed up by queen Shonda Rhimes) didn’t have a whole lot of options when it came to changing their circumstances. But instead of feeling helpless, Penelope uses her circumstances to her advantage. Terrified of living at home forever as a spinster who cares for her mother (who, let’s just say, isn’t the kindest to her youngest daughter), Penelope decides to finally get married. She sets her sights on someone who can get her out from under her mother’s thumb while also giving her enough freedom to continue her career as Lady Whistledown. Pragmatism at its best!

She’s *Done* Letting Anyone Else Define Her

You may have noticed from the teaser clips and promo images that Pen looks a little different this season. After two seasons of allowing her mother to dress her in rather uncomplimentary yellow dresses that she absolutely hates, Penelope decides to take matters into her own hands. Out with the citrus tones, in with the gorgeous, moody greens to compliment her coppery hair. She’s also decided to pull herself off the wall and interact more with the men on the marriage mart. Who doesn’t love a woman who finally steps into her light?

Want to see why else Penelope is our favorite leading lady? Make sure to watch season three of Bridgerton, streaming on May 16, only on Netflix.


Maria Del Russo
Maria Del Russo
Maria Del Russo is the Branded & Affiliate Content Director for Betches. When she isn't at the office, you can usually find her in the kitchen, yelling "That tastes SO freakin' good!" at nobody in particular.