Regé-Jean Page in Bridgerton
Regé-Jean Page in Bridgerton Image Credit: Netflix

Tears are being shed collectively around the world as the makers of ‘Bridgerton’ revealed that Simon, the Duke of Hastings has ridden off into the sunset and will not be returning to hit Netflix show next season.

Actor Rege-Jean Page, who became an overnight sensation after appearing in the period drama, will be stepping down from playing the lead to make way for another love story to thrive in season two of ‘Bridgerton’. However, his on-screen wife Daphne Bridgerton, played by Phoebe Dynevor, will be returning to the show.

The news was broken on social media as a message from Lady Whistledown, the salacious and mysterious gossip from ‘Bridgerton’ who is privy to all the secrets of London’s Ton.

“While all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings,” Lady Whistledown wrote on Twitter. “We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family. Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer – more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear.”

Page responded to the message adding: “Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family - on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans - the love is real and will just keep growing.”

Season two will see Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony Bridgerton front and centre, with the new story focusing on the heir of the Bridgerton family and his quest to find a suitable bride. Simone Ashley has been cast as the lead and will play Kate Sharma in the romantic period drama.

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Jonathan Bailey’s Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley to play Kate Sharma Image Credit: Netflix

Ashley, who plays the snooty Olivia Hanan on the Netflix show ‘Sex Education’, will find herself as the new arrival to shake up the Ton in London. Her official character description reads: “Newly arrived in London, Kate is a smart, headstrong young woman who suffers no fools — Anthony Bridgerton very much included.”

Based on the novels by author Julia Quinn’s romance series, the new season will be based on her second novel, ‘The Viscount Who Loved Me’, which follows Anthony Bridgerton on a quest to find his Viscountess.

Interestingly, the producers of the web series have taken some creative liberties with the adaptation, namely changing Kate’s ethnicity so her family would be of Indian descent.

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Queen Charlotte played by Golda Rosheuval Image Credit: Netflix

This isn’t the first time the show has broken down the race barrier with creator and showrunner Chris Van Dusen and executive producers Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers casting several Black characters in season one of the show, including the Duke of Hastings. The Duke’s on-screen aunt, Lady Danbury, is also played by Adjoa Andoh, while Queen Charlotte is played by Golda Rosheuvel.

In January, Netflix announced that the period drama had become the most-watched original series on the platform with around 82 million households viewing the show in just 28 days since its Christmas Day release.

Rege-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor Image Credit: Netflix

Each season of the show will feature the story of another Bridgerton sibling and their quest for love, with central characters including Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson and Julie Andrews as the voice of gossip columnist Lady Whistledown.

Meanwhile, those of you wondering where Page is off to next, the actor has shot for the Russo Brothers and their new action thriller ‘The Gray Man’. The forthcoming Netflix film also stars Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans and Indian actor Dhanush.

Apart from ‘The Gray Man’, Page will also be starring in the highly-anticipated film ‘Dungeons and Dragons’, which is expected to be released next year. He will be seen in the action-adventure movie with Hugh Grant and Michelle Rodriguez.