Netflix’s recent hit Bridgerton reimagines the lives of the upper class of London during the 1800s. Author Julia Quinn, who is the driving force behind the source of the Netflix series, the Bridgerton books, has said that “it’s important to remember that Bridgerton isn’t a history lesson.” But, where do the facts end and the fiction begins, especially in consideration with the debutante balls that the series focuses on?
Bridgerton is far from reality, even though it has certain elements of truth. For example, viewers know that Queen Charlotte was in fact the first black queen of the United Kingdom. This served as the basis of the series. Just as the Queen in the Netflix Original, the real-life Queen Charlotte was known for holding exquisite balls and parties. Hence, commemorating his wife’s love for balls, King George III founded the Queen Charlotte’s Ball, which we now know as The London Season.
To find out the differences between a real debutante season and the ones we see in Bridgerton, Insider talked to a real-life debutante, Helena Vardag-Walters.
What is the difference between the Bridgerton debutante season and its real-life equivalent?
The real-life debutante season begins with about 20-22 girls who wish to contribute to charity. Although the ball initially began with the aim of a successful marriage, it now focuses on other things. Vardag-Walters said, “originally it was presenting young women at court as newly eligible for marriage. It was all about getting these young women married because that was how women had power in those days.”
However, times have changed, and it is evident in the way the balls take place, as well. “Nowadays, it’s much more about meeting other like-minded and intelligent and driven women,” Vardag-Walters continued.
Another driving theme of Bridgerton is gossip, which is much less prevalent in modern-day debutante balls. Although gossip cannot be entirely cut out from the equation, it is but a small part of it. Mostly, the women are “incredibly lovely to each other“. Since the aim of their meeting is charity, they ensure that they uplift each other. Gossip such as what we have seen with Lady Whistledown is all but fictional.
Other differences include the lack of romance and more focus on charity, singling out a few girls for the title of “the diamond of the first water” based on how hard they work, and the absence of the Queen since the 1950s. While the aim of the debutante balls and the code of conduct is very different from what we see in Bridgerton, the one common aspect is that of glamour.
What do they have in common?
In Bridgerton, we watch the debutantes dress up in the most exquisite of clothing as they make their way into the balls. The real-life version of this isn’t much different either. The girls continue to dress up in couture wedding gowns that retail for around 11000$.
Stream Bridgerton season 2 on Netflix!