Is Eloise from Bridgerton actually a lesbian? Here’s why fans think she might be

Picture shows Cressida and Eloise at the theatre sitting in a balcony box

Smash-hit Netflix period drama Bridgerton returned for its third season yesterday (16 May), and it’s got tongues wagging all over the internet, not least because people think that Eloise might be a lesbian.

Eloise Bridgerton is the fifth Bridgerton child, and the family’s second daughter. Apart from a brief fling with printer’s assistant Theo, she’s never shown much interest in men or marriage, leaving some people to suspect she might actually be a lesbian. Or at the very least, they hope she is.

Bridgerton has been criticised for its lack of LGBTQ+ representation to date, although the drama’s new showrunner Jess Brownell recently revealed that a queer love story is coming our way.

“This is a show about love in its many forms and it’s only right for us to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories,” she said. “I want to see more queer joy on my screens and that was definitely a priority for me when I stepped into the showrunner role.”

Could this queer love story actually involve Eloise Bridgerton? Let’s take a look at the “evidence”.

She’s not a fan of traditional gender roles

As early as episode two of season one, Eloise shares her disdain about the way women are treated in society, saying: “Having a nice face and hair is not an accomplishment! You know what is an accomplishment? Attending university! If I were a man, I could do that, you know! Instead, I will have to stand by and watch dear Mama peer proud because some man would like to admire my sister’s face, and fill her up with babies!”

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She refuses to put up with male nonsense

In season two, she gives would-be suitor Lord Morrison a piece of her mind. While dancing, he says: “Ah. You have read Locke. It is required of all men past a certain age, surely. Not so much for young ladies.”

Eloise replies: “Because our feeble minds might collapse if we put too many ideas in them.”

Lord Morrison says: “For most of the ladies I have met, that seems to be true. Many of them cannot even articulate a thought.”

Eloise responds: “And do you not think that is because they have not been offered the same opportunities?”

Lord Morrison: “I understand that you scorn this farcical performance that is good society. What do you say we quit the dance floor and add some brandy to the punch?”

Eloise: “Perhaps I shall quit the dance floor, now. Next time you compliment a woman, at least try not to insult her entire sex in the process.”

People have been shipping ‘Peneloise’ since the show’s early days

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope and Claudia Jessie as Eloise in Bridgerton (Netflix)
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope and Claudia Jessie as Eloise in Bridgerton (Netflix)

A lot of viewers think that Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan)’s soulmate isn’t actually Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) at all: it’s actually Eloise. As the Radio Times recently pointed out: “The reason ‘Polin’ lacks the ferocity of previous pairings in earlier seasons is because Penelope’s soulmate is someone else entirely, someone who has been by her side from the very beginning: Eloise Bridgerton.

“How are we supposed to believe that someone as fabulous as Penelope is still pining after Colin’s dreariness – especially following his betrayal at the end of season 2 – when Colin’s queer-coded sister is right there?”

Some people think that Cressida is being set up as Eloise’s lesbian love interest

Cressida and Eloise didn’t get on at first, with Eloise telling her in season two that she’d “rather die” than become friends with her, but they have become pretty close in recent episodes.

In season three, Cressida is told by her father Lord Cowper not to be seen with Eloise, but Cressida doesn’t obey him. It is giving enemies-to-lovers vibes, to be fair.

Cressida tells Eloise she’s unlike other people and asks how Eloise has the courage to be so different. Eloise says it’s not courage: she just doesn’t understand how people don’t see things the way she does.

So, is Eloise Bridgerton actually a lesbian? Well, the only way we’ll find out for sure is to tune into the second part of Bridgerton season three. Part two arrives on Netflix on 13 June.

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