Will Lord Kilmartin marry Francesca Bridgerton in season 3?

Spoilers ahead for Bridgerton season 3—Part 1 and maybe Part 2.

Akhil Arora, a Film Critics Guild member and a Rotten Tomatoes-certified TV critic, who has been reporting on Netflix originals since 2015. He has written for NDTV and SlashFilm.

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3 episode 3
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton and Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3 // Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

While the pairing of Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington is central to the third season of Bridgerton, the Netflix series also makes room for Colin’s sister Francesca. Hannah Dodd (Enola Holmes 2) steps into the role of the sixth Bridgerton child, taking over from Ruby Stokes who played her in the first and second seasons. Albeit briefly, since Francesca has largely been off-screen. In season 3, Francesca is (reluctantly) taking her first steps into society and as such has her own subplot. It involves two suitors—one Marquis Samadani (David Mumeni) who’s handpicked by the Queen, and another in John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli) who runs into Francesca outside a ball.

Spoilers ahead for Bridgerton season 3.

Who is Lord Kilmartin?

Introduced in the third season, we’ve been told little about Lord Kilmartin outside of his brief interactions with Francesca. Like her, he enjoys quiet and solitude. That’s how they meet in season 3, episode 3 “Forces of Nature”. Francesca steps out into the garden for some respite from the commotion and John soon joins her to do as much. The next morning, he calls on her at the Bridgerton household. Francesca’s mother, Violet, is surprised because he’s calling even though they haven’t been formally introduced. (That’s a no-no in London society.)

Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne Basset, Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Emilia Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 2

Every Bridgerton episode, ranked

From the three seasons of Bridgerton to the spin-off Queen Charlotte, TV critic Akhil Arora ranks every episode of the Netflix series.

But it’s clear that neither Francesca nor Lord Kilmartin have much care for what’s considered appropriate. They enjoy a shared silence on the sofa until they are interrupted by the arrival of Marquis Samadani. He was formally introduced to Francesca at the hot air balloon event and hence is an expected caller. Francesca doesn’t have much care for him though—more so given that Samadani wants eight children, which is not what Francesca is looking for after doing her best to stay away from the commotion of the Bridgerton family.

Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3 episode 4 before they see Lord Kilmartin
Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton and Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3 // Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

It’s why Francesca goes out of her way to see Lord Kilmartin in the street. (Usually, a gentleman would approach a lady.) But their conversation is awkward, and he struggles to make small talk. A question about the background music elicits a detailed critique from Francesca—who is musically inclined—but Kilmartin weirdly and abruptly excuses himself. It’s only at another ball that we discover why. John hands her a sheet of music, which contains the same music they heard earlier but rearranged to suit how Francesca prefers it.

Who does Francesca Bridgerton marry?

Lord Kilmartin may not have a way with words, but his gesture pays off. Francesca leaves the ball much to the Queen and her mother’s chagrin. She returns home, plays the music on the pianoforte, and seems quite pleased with it. Violet may not approve of how Francesca behaved but seeing her daughter happy, she smiles. That’s all Bridgerton season 3 has told us about Francesca and Lord Kilmartin’s courtship. (For now—Part 2 of Bridgerton season 3 is due in June.)

Spoilers ahead for When He Was Wicked, the sixth novel in the Bridgerton series.

Thanks to the books that the Netflix series is based on, we know a bit more. John and Francesca get married and move away to Scotland where they are afforded the solitude they enjoy. (That’s where Kilmartin is.) They are married for two years until John dies one day of a cerebral aneurysm. Francesca, who is pregnant at the time of her husband’s death, miscarries. There’s a lot more to Francesca’s story but those are the relevant portions to Lord Kilmartin.

While the books convey this in a flashback, Bridgerton has clearly decided to bring it forward and showcase the events in the present day. If the Netflix series does follow the novel, John and Francesca will get married in the second half of the third season and move away to Scotland. And were John to die two years from now, Francesca would be a widow at the start of Bridgerton season 6. Given the sixth novel is centred on Francesca, the alignment suggests this is what the creators of the Netflix series have in mind.

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3 // Photo: Liam Daniel/Netflix

How many seasons will Bridgerton have?

The Netflix series has been adapting one novel per season so far. Given the author Julia Quinn wrote eight novels—one for each Bridgerton sibling—we could potentially have a total of eight seasons. Shonda Rhimes, executive producer and founder of the production company that makes Bridgerton, has signalled her intent to do just that.

Netflix has renewed Bridgerton up to season 4 as yet. In fact, the show was handed its third and fourth season at the same time back in 2021. Season 3 is the first time Rhimes and Co. have changed the order of adaptation. It’s based on the fourth book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, not the third. It’s also the first time Netflix has split the release into two parts.

Part 1 dropped on May 16, and it will be followed by Part 2 on June 13.

Akhil Arora