What to Know About Francesca Bridgerton—Including What Happens in Her Book

The Bridgerton sister, played by Hannah Dodd, is the Diamond in season 3 of the Netflix series.

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton.
(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Warning: Spoilers for Bridgerton season 3, part 1 ahead. It's time for another Bridgerton woman to step into the spotlight, and season 3's new belle is Francesca. The Netflix hit's highly-anticipated third season has finally arrived, with the sixth Bridgerton sibling (remember, they were born in alphabetical order) emerging from the background to make her society debut. Her arrival also introduces a new star to the series' sprawling ensemble cast, with Hannah Dodd stepping into the role in her Netflix debut.

Francesca may be the quietest Bridgerton sibling, but her story is one of the most beloved among fans of Julia Quinn's novels. She also offers the most surprises for TV fans who have gotten used to the series' romantic formula. Read on to learn about Francesca's role in season 3, and where her story is set to go in future seasons.

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton in episode 303 of Bridgerton

Francesca (Hannah Dodd) and Mama Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) in Bridgerton season 3.

(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Who plays Francesca in 'Bridgerton' season 3?

Though Francesca Bridgerton was around in the first two seasons, season 3 brings the musician to the forefront via a new actress. Hannah Dodd takes over the role previously played by Ruby Stokes, as Francesca becomes a series regular as she sets out on the ton.

Before Bridgerton, British actress and model Dodd's on-screen debut was in another period drama, the irreverent Hulu series Harlots. She has also appeared in Hulu's Find Me in Paris, the Marvel film Eternals, and Netflix's anthology series Anatomy of a Scandal, where she played the younger version of Sienna Miller's character Sophie.

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What happens when Francesca makes her debut in 'Bridgerton' season 3?

Francesca is very different from all of the Bridgertons we've gotten to know so far. Rather than seeking out the spotlight (or dragging it to them via their public blunders, a la Eloise), the third-eldest Bridgerton girl is more content on the sidelines. She responds to the pressure of the social season by hoping to get it over with as quickly as possible, which isn't so easy as a child of the ton's most eligible family. Francesca's willing to go through the slog of the Regency-era dating market because she's ready to have her own home (which, fair, the Bridgerton house is a tad crowded), but all she hopes for is someone kind, not a passionate, all-consuming love match.

By the end of episode 2, Mama Bridgerton and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) have orchestrated an impromptu recital that leads Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) to name Francesca as the Diamond (er, sorry, Sparkler) of the season, because of her fondness and aptitude for the pianoforte. Fran's set to have a busy time with all of her new suitors in part 2 of season 3 (which is set to hit streaming on June 13), but there is already a gentleman who has caught her eye: Lord John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli). His social graces may be a bit awkward, but two scenes in part 1 show how well-suited he is for Francesca: their meet-cute while enjoying the night's silence outside of a busy ball, and his lovely gesture of re-arranging a piece of music to Francesca's liking. Sure, their courtship may not match the chaos of other Bridgerton matches, but it is quite sweet.

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 302 of Bridgerton.

Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd) in Bridgerton season 3.

(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

But wait, non-book-readers may ask, what will happen in Francesca's season if she meets her husband now? Read on to find out, unless you fear spoilers.

What happens to Francesca Bridgerton in her book?

Warning: Spoilers for When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn ahead. Francesca's love story in Julia Quinn's sixth Bridgerton novel, When He Was Wicked, is a particular favorite among the book series' fans. By the start of the book, Francesca is already married to John Sterling, but he's not the romantic lead of the novel. Instead, we become acquainted with Michael Sterling, John's cousin and closest friend, who's also one of the most infamous rakes in London. In the first chapter, we learn a secret: Michael has feelings for Francesca, which he keeps secret for John's sake.

However, tragedy strikes two years into Francesca and John's marriage. John dies in his sleep, and the newly widowed Francesca discovers that she is pregnant and then miscarries. She's left devastated, while earldom passes to Michael. While Francesca and Michael had once been friends, the book fast forwards four years when the two have become estranged. In those years, Michael retreated to India to escape his grief following John's death, while Francesca spent time with her family and attended to some of her duties as the widowed Countess of Kilmartin. Both a newly-returned Michael and Francesca arrive at a place where they join the marriage mart—both expecting a marriage of convenience rather than a true love match—but sparks fly as Francesca begins to see her former cousin-in-law Michael in a new light.

We won't share any additional spoilers, but Francesca's story has been lauded as a standout among the Bridgerton books, telling a mature tale of grief and second chances (with reportedly the raciest scenes in the entire series).

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.