Penelope Deserved a More Serious Comeuppance for Lady Whistledown's Writings, Here's Why

Penelope Deserved a More Serious Comeuppance for Lady Whistledown's Writings, Here's Why
Image credit: Netflix

Pen got away with trashing the Ton too easily.


  • Penelope's Lady Whistledown arc was the central plot of Season 3, Part 2 of Bridgerton.
  • Under pressure from the Queen, Penelope revealed her identity to the Ton.
  • Pen never really admitted her guilt for hurting many people.

When the first part of Bridgerton's third season ended on a happy note with Colin proposing to Penelope after a heated carriage ride home, fans of the hit Netflix drama were both elated and confused. Sure, viewers were happy to see the romantic leads end up together after years of struggling to acknowledge each other's feelings, but it was also unclear what the second part of Season 3 would be about.

Ultimately, Penelope's Lady Whistledown secret became the focus of Part 2. For four episodes, she struggled to keep it from Colin when Eloise threatened to tell him the truth, struggled to make him understand when he accidentally found out, struggled to protect herself from Cressida when she began to blackmail her, and struggled to keep herself and the Bridgertons safe when Queen Charlotte issued an ultimatum.

The only thing Pen didn't seem to struggle with was earning the forgiveness of the monarch and the Ton when her identity as Lady Whistledown was revealed. And it is wrong for a lot of reasons.

'No Laughing Matter What I Have Done…'

Cressida threatened to reveal Pen's identity to the Queen unless she was paid a large sum of money. Then Her Majesty herself threatened the Bridgertons when she realized that Lady Whistledown must be connected to them somehow. And all Penelope did to remedy the situation was write Queen Charlotte a letter of apology, flattering her intelligence and inviting her to Prudence and Philippa's ball, where Pen revealed to the entire Ton that she was the author of the gossip column.

The Queen, with her ego satisfied, accepted Penelope's plea and let her be and continue to write gossip, and the rest of the Ton followed suit, with no one speaking out against Penelope and Lady Whistledown's harshness and cruelty. Meanwhile, Pen ruined and affected many lives with her writings.

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

In Season 1 Penelope aimed her quill at the people who had wronged her. Penelope also trashed Daphne in order to elevate her cousin Marina, whom she later also trashed after learning of Marina's plot to marry Colin.

Lady Whistledown is presented as an instrument of empowerment, giving Penelope agency as an early nineteenth-century woman. But in fact, she is the opposite. Lady Whistledown and Penelope exploited other women's flaws to gain power and authority in the Ton, which is why it's incredible that high society simply allowed her to be and continue to do what she did in public without anyone holding a grudge.

Penelope didn't say a single word of apology in her speech, as if she hadn't hurt many people with her writings. That's why it's hard to believe that she was forgiven by the Ton all at once and walked away from this situation unpunished.

Do you think Penelope got away with being Lady Whistledown too easily?