Bridgerton star Hannah New says it’s ‘important’ to show queer polyamorous relationship

Eagle-eyed fans have noticed a key Bridgerton character is missing. (Netflix)

The actor behind Bridgerton’s first female LGBTQ+ character, Lady Tilley Arnold, has praised the show’s portrayal of queer and polyamorous relationships.

In an interview with Tatler, Hannah New said that while including LGBTQ+ relationships in the Regency-era show is crucial, it’s a choice the series “doesn’t take lightly”. 

Arnold, who has a polyamorous relationship with Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) and newcomer Paul Suarez (Lucas Aurelio) in the second part of series three, is a “woman of intrigue and mystery and cheekiness”, New added. 

Lady Arnold “is somebody who is very much into every person being their authentic self”, the Maleficent and Black Sails star went on to say.

Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New) and Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson).
Benedict meets Lady Tilley Arnold in Bridgerton season three. (Netflix)

“The show is about love in every form and I agree with that. It’s important to put forward different forms of love. She’s someone who believes love between two people, no matter what sex, is love. It’s important to follow that very authentic drive within oneself.”

But because the show is set in the 1800s, “we need to be really conscious of what the stakes are” for LGBTQ+ people.

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“To be found out in a homosexual relationship [was] punishable by death. It’s a serious choice and it’s one the show doesn’t take lightly,” she said, before pointing out that queer relationships have always existed.

“There are still many legal challenges for people living in polyamorous relationships. It’s really important to show there is genuine love in those relationships,” she added.

Playing wealthy widow Lady Arnold’s intimate scenes was “really enjoyable” and sometimes “hilarious”, she continued.

“For me, it is a joy, especially when you’re working with an actor you really trust and feel comfortable around. Doing that work with Luke was just brilliant. You have such a giggle with it, there are so many things in the background that make it unsexy.

“You’ve got these silicon things attached to your nipples which drop off, and big pads that look like nappies that you wear underneath. You have safe-guarding things in place and it makes it quite light. You’re thinking: ‘This is hilarious’. It makes it quite stupid.”

Despite the awkwardness of filming sex scenes, it’s “so nice for a show written by women for women to see female pleasure”, New said.

“You do it for women to really think: ‘Wow, I can feel that too. I can feel that connection with somebody’.”

Some fans are hoping that Eloise has a same-sex romance in series four. Members of the cast have said it’s a possibility, with Claudia Jessie, who plays her, suggesting that there’s “room” for the character to be queer.

Bridgerton season three is streaming in full on Netflix now.

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