Bridgerton author Julia Quinn defends Francesca’s upcoming queer romance after backlash from ‘fans’

Francesca in Bridgerton.

Francesca Bridgerton is set to embark on a queer love story with the gender-swapped character of Michaela Stirling – and Bridgerton author Julia Quinn has defended the move.

The Netflix regency-era drama most recently focused on (soon to be gay pop sensation) Nicola Coughlan’s journey to love in the (horny) third season of the show.

Now, after three seasons of fans begging for a queer romance, showrunner Jess Brownell has delivered, with the conclusion of the instalment teasing that Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) will embark on a relationship with a character called Michaela Stirling.

Though Francesca did have a dalliance with John Stirling (Victor Alli) in season three, and some fans were even convinced she was asexual, the Bridgerton sibling and Michaela will be the series’ flagship queer romance going forward, alongside Benedict Bridgerton‘s plot.

Unsurprisingly, bigots aren’t happy with the development, but Julia Quinn, author of the Bridgerton novels, has issued a statement defending the move.

“Many Bridgerton fans have expressed their surprise, and for some, disappointment,” at the twist, Quinn wrote via a statement posted to her Instagram account.

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“Anyone who has seen an interview with me from the past four years knows that I am deeply committed to the Bridgerton world becoming more diverse and inclusive as the stories move from book to screen,” the author continued.

“But switching the gender of a major character is a huge change, and so when Jess Brownell first approached me with the idea of turning Michael into Michaela for the show, I needed more information before conferring my agreement.”

Quinn added: “I trust Shondaland’s vision for Bridgerton, but I wanted to be sure that we could remain true to the spirit of the book and of the characters,” referencing the Shonda Rhimes-led production company at Bridgerton‘s helm.

Signing off, Quinn explained that she’s “confident” that Francesca’s queer storyline will be “the most emotional and heart-wrenching story of the show” – adding that “it may pack even more of a punch” onscreen.

Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix.

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