Michaela Stirling Is a New Character in 'Bridgerton' With an Important Role (SPOILERS)

We have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Michaela Stirling in future seasons!

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Jun. 13 2024, Published 3:22 p.m. ET

John Stirling and Francesca Bridgerton sitting together in Season 3.
Source: Netflix

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for Season 3 of Bridgerton.

Fans were left utterly flabbergasted at the end of Season 3 of Bridgerton not only because Penelope reveals herself as the real Lady Whistledown to nearly the entire ton (and Queen Charlotte) but because of Michaela Stirling (played by Masali Baduza). Wait, who?

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Michaela is the newest character to be introduced in the Bridgerton series, and we have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of her in future seasons. Find out who she is and why her role could be one of the largest in the show.

Who is Michaela Stirling in ‘Bridgerton’?

John Stirling standing outside in Season 3 of 'Bridgerton'.
Source: Netflix

Michaela is the cousin of Lord John Stirling (played by Victor Alli), Francesca Bridgerton’s (Hannah Dodd) husband. She’s introduced to viewers in Season 3 just after John and Francesca tie the knot. After the couple agrees to spend their post-wedding time at John’s main residence in Scotland, with Francesca hoping to use the peace and tranquility it offers to gain a deeper understanding of who she is, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) asks if she can join them on their travels.

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Just as Francesca says yes to Eloise’s request, John springs up behind them, excited by the news. But he doesn’t come empty handed. In fact, he has news of his own. “It gives me great pleasure to introduce,” he begins, as his cousin pops up to present herself, “Michaela Stirling.” John says Michaela will be joining the newlyweds (and Eloise) on their travels to Scotland.

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But it wasn't Michaela's introduction that left us in shock nor the news that she would be traveling with them, but rather Francesca's reaction upon meeting her. Although it did seem a bit odd that John didn’t introduce Francesca as his wife as one would expect a man to do, Francesca becoming tongue-tied and barely able to introduce herself was even stranger.

Is it because Francesca likes Michaela? It’s very possible considering fans have questioned Francesca’s sexuality through all of Season 3 and let’s face it, the kiss between her and John at their wedding ceremony was far from intimate for two people who seem to care deeply for one another.

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What happens between Francesca Bridgerton and Michaela Stirling?

John Stirling and Francesca Bridgerton standing outside in Season 3.
Source: Netflix

Although Francesca does marry John in Season 3, the book diverges from this path. In Julia Quinn's sixth novel in the series, When He Was Wicked, John passes away, leaving Francesca widowed. She goes on to develop feelings for his cousin, Michael Stirling, and the two go on to wed. So, could producers be subbing the man she ends up with — Michael, with Michaela, thereby turning Francesca’s character gay? This would align with hints dropped by Bridgerton’s new showrunner, Jess Brownell.

While speaking with Refinery29 in 2024, Jess was asked whether the series would introduce queer main characters, to which she replied, “I think this is a show about the many ways in which people love. So it only feels right to show all the ways in which people love, including queer love.” She added, “So we are exploring queer love stories across the next couple of seasons.” And we've already started to see this with Benedict Bridgerton and his rendezvous with Lady Tilly (Hannah New) and Paul Suarez.

While we don’t know if John will pass suddenly in future seasons or if Francesca will go on to explore any potential feelings she has for Michaela, we’ll have to wait until Season 4 for an update!

Seasons 1, 2, and 3 of Bridgerton are now available to stream on Netflix.

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