Francesca Bridgerton’s Romantic Journey in Bridgerton Season 3: What Fans Can Expect

Every season of Bridgerton adapts one novel from Julia Quinn’s book series, focusing on one Bridgerton sibling. Although season 3 is Colin’s story, Francesca’s tale has been teased in the episodes, leading some to wonder who she ends up marrying.

Netflix’s historical romance series premiered in December 2020 and was an immediate hit. Bridgerton season 1 followed the first book, “The Duke and I,” featuring Daphne’s romance with Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, while season 2 adapted the second book, “The Viscount Who Loved Me,” telling Anthony and Kate Sharma’s love story.

Meanwhile, Francesca was barely seen until season 3.

Francesca, now played by Hannah Dodd following Ruby Stokes’ departure after season 3, makes her debut in society during the season 3 premiere as the sixth Bridgerton sibling at 18 years old.

However, similar to Eloise in season 2, Francesca’s debut doesn’t go as well as Daphne’s in season 1 because she is much quieter and more reserved than her siblings. Things change for Francesca, though, when she meets John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, in Bridgerton season 3, episode 3.

Francesca Bridgerton

Francesca Marries John Stirling in the Bridgerton Books

John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, is Francesca Bridgerton’s first husband in the Bridgerton book series. Unfortunately, the couple’s wedding takes place between the third book (“An Offer from a Gentleman,” Benedict’s story) and the fourth (“Romancing Mr. Bridgerton,” Colin’s tale) novels, so the first couple of years of their marriage is barely explored on the page.

Of course, that might change in the Netflix series, seeing as Bridgerton often makes changes to the books, and season 3 is straying from the narrative by laying the groundwork for Francesca and John’s courtship.

The match between Francesca and John certainly baffles her family, as it’s quieter than the other Bridgerton siblings’ romances, but it’s what she wants. As seen in season 3, John wins over Francesca’s heart when he rearranges a piece of music for her.

It’s unclear if season 3, part 2 will show Francesca and John’s wedding, or stick to the books and have it happen offscreen. The timeline is already messed up since Bridgerton season 3 skips over Benedict’s love story for Colin and Penelope’s, so perhaps the series will exhibit more of Francesca and John’s relationship than the novels did.

What Happens to John Stirling in the Bridgerton Books

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes Francesca and John’s relationship almost two years into their marriage when John suddenly dies of a ruptured cerebral aneurysm at the couple’s home in Scotland. He had been complaining of a headache but thought nothing of it, and John is later found dead by Francesca and Michael Stirling, John’s cousin, after they return home from a walk.

To make matters worse, Francesca is pregnant at the time but has a miscarriage following her husband’s sudden passing. This sets the stage for Francesca’s emotional journey of grief and recovery.

Francesca Later Marries Michael Stirling, John’s Cousin

“When He Was Wicked” is Francesca Bridgerton’s story, but unlike her siblings, it begins with Francesca already married. The catch is that Francesca’s marriage to John isn’t the focus of her tale; instead, it’s about her finding love again with Michael Stirling, John’s cousin.

The book reveals that Michael fell in love with Francesca the moment he saw her — 36 hours before her and John’s wedding. He continued harboring secret feelings for his cousin’s wife in the following years, and the two became close friends. Following John’s death, Francesca and Michael go their separate ways.


Michael, who becomes the Earl of Kilmartin following his cousin’s death, shirks his responsibilities and escapes to India (because of his grief and as a way to run from his feelings for Francesca). As a result, Francesca takes care of the Kilmartin estate.

Four years pass before Francesca and Michael see each other again when he returns to London and Francesca decides to remarry. By the end of “When He Was Wicked,” Francesca and Michael are in love, so they get married and eventually have two children — John Stirling II and Janet Stirling.

Will Francesca’s Bridgerton Show Story Follow the Books?

Following the release of Bridgerton season 3, part 1, the Netflix romance series is evidently following Francesca’s story in the books. Of course, it’s too early to definitively state if the show will be 100 percent truthful to the source material or stray from the novels.

However, Bridgerton breaks tradition with Francesca’s romance by having it begin before her season, aligning with the original story since her marriage to John is quiet in Julia Quinn’s books (and mostly happens off the page).

Bridgerton season 3, part 2 will give viewers more insight into the direction the show is taking with Francesca’s romance. If Michael Stirling is introduced in the final four episodes, or if John proposes to Francesca, many can assume that the Netflix series is following the books and laying the groundwork for Francesca’s second romance.

The only question remaining is if Bridgerton season 4 will be Francesca’s story, or if fans will have to wait until a later season.

Which Season of Bridgerton Will Adapt Francesca’s Book?

Given that Francesca’s story culminates in the sixth book, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that, if and when it gets confirmed by Netflix, Bridgerton season 6 will pay off Francesca’s tease from season 3. However, the historical romance series isn’t afraid to jump around Bridgerton’s timeline, proven by season 3 skipping Benedict’s story for Colin’s.

Fans might not have to wait long for Francesca’s romance(s), even though the more likely possibility is that Bridgerton season 4 is Benedict’s story and will adapt “An Offer from a Gentleman” after the show skipped him.


As the series continues, it will be interesting to see how closely it follows the books and how it handles the more tragic elements of Francesca’s story. For fans of the books, there is a lot to look forward to, and for those new to the Bridgerton universe, Francesca’s journey promises to be as compelling and emotional as those of her siblings.

M. Osama Asghar

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