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We Swoon, We Faint — 'Bridgerton' Will Return For Season 2 Without Its Hunky Duke

Say it ain't so — Regé-Jean Page's Duke of Hastings will not appear in <em>Bridgerton</em> season 2.
Say it ain't so — Regé-Jean Page's Duke of Hastings will not appear in <em>Bridgerton</em> season 2.

Season two of the hit TV series Bridgerton will roll out for fans without its hunky star, Regé-Jean Page, who played Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. Set during the Regency era in 1813 London, the show's first season was a steamy love story between Simon and Daphne Bridgerton. Their storyline ends with the birth of their first child. But the duke will not be appearing in upcoming episodes that follow other members of the aristocratic Bridgerton family.

The news came via a note from the story's gossipy Lady Whistledown's society papers (via Netflix and Shondaland): "Dear Readers," she writes in a post on Instagram, "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." The note continued, "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."

Unlike the Julia Quinn's romance novels, on which the series is based,Bridgerton offers an alternate version of history with a mixed-race Queen and Black aristocrats. Netflix reported a record 82 million households tuned in to watch the series' first eight episodes — and for many fans, Page was one of the reasons they tuned in. The actor even spoofed his smoldering, sexy persona when he hosted Saturday Night Live.

Page told Variety he always knew his role on the show would be limited: "I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on." He also posted his own note to fans via Instagram: "It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke. Joining this family — not just on screen, but off screen too," he posted. "It's all been beyond anything I could have imagined. The love is real and will just keep growing." He called his time on Bridgerton "the ride of a lifetime."

For disappointed fans, producer Shonda Rhimes tweeted, "Remember: the Duke is never gone. He's just waiting to be binge watched all over again."

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