Queen Charlotte's Shonda Rhimes Explains Lady Danbury's Surprising Romance, While The Star Shares How It Was 'Formative'

young lady danbury in queen charlotte: a bridgerton story
(Image credit: Netflix)

The moment that romance fans with a Netflix subscription have been waiting for (especially since Bridgerton Season 3 is still on the way) finally arrived last week when the prequel, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story hit the streamer. While viewers and critics are enjoying the love story of Charlotte and King George, many were also likely quite shocked at a romantic development involving the young Lady Agatha Danbury, played by Arsema Thomas. Now, Shonda Rhimes has explained why she went with that story for the character, and Thomas has opened up about why the romance was “formative” for Agatha.

Why Did Shonda Rhimes Give Lady Danbury That Surprising Romance?

While the love, strife, and sexytimes between Charlotte and George is, obviously, the main focus, young Agatha Danbury’s romantic life also gets a spotlight in the prequel. She’s married to a much, much older man, whom she was betrothed to when she was only 3-years-old, and has basically lived her whole life for him. But, she finds herself attracted to someone else (and he to her) before the end of the series, and creator Shonda Rhimes (who also wrote most of the show) told Entertainment Weekly about the romance:

It hadn't been my first plan, but as I continued writing the story, it became clear to me that that would provide a nice underlay of tension for Violet and Lady Danbury moving forward. But also what I needed was for you to see Lady Danbury finally find some joy that's not connected to marrying anybody, that's not connected to love. It's just physical joy.

So, big spoiler alert for those who haven’t finished the episodes yet, but after her not-so-great husband dies, the very surprising man Agatha finds herself falling for is…Lord Ledger (Keir Charles), none other than the married father of the eventual Lady Violet Bridgerton!

Even though Lord Danbury hadn’t appeared to be mean/abusive to Agatha during their marriage, he was hardly someone she was in love with or respected by. On top of that, we’re shown that their sex life is far from ideal, with Agatha being bored/annoyed/desperate to be done with their every carnal encounter. 

She’d already known Lord Ledger, and he’d been nice to her when so many others in the ton hadn’t, so when the two happen upon each other while walking their adjoining lands one day, they eventually strike up a real friendship by talking and taking daily walks. It’s not so long before it’s quite clear that they both have deeper feelings. 

Why Was Lady Danbury’s Romance ‘Formative’ For The Character?

We can see that Agatha had never experienced a relationship with a man who actually listened to her before when she began her friendship with Ledger. As star Thomas notes later in the interview, that’s part of the importance of the romance, which led to one night of passion for the duo before they called it off:

It's less that he's the love of her life and he's maybe her first love where everything is so joyful and devoid of complications and then, you drift apart. But it's still a very formative relationship. No one has ever taken her seriously before. No one talks to her like an intellectual or about things other than men and embroidery. This is somebody who wants to engage with her mind. He wants to play games and bring her back to a childlike state because she's not really ever had that childhood. She's been an adult for a really long time, and he represents what could have been and also what is not possible anymore.

Awwww! OK, I know they were both wrong for having an affair while Ledger was married, but it was very clear that neither of them were looking to form a romantic connection at the start, and also really obvious that Ledger and Agatha understand the error of their ways soon, never having any Charlotte/George style confession of love. We can also see how the brief romance (and sex that came with it) help to galvanize Agatha into becoming the tough, independent woman we know and love from Bridgerton, with Thomas adding:

He's the person that allows her to recognize how much she loves herself. How she actually has this space to ask for her own pleasure and that she doesn't need a relationship to get what she wants.

Even though I wish we’d gotten to see Agatha have a relationship on her own terms that really worked for her and was more long-term, it’s hard not to love her realizing what she needed for her life, making this plotline a worthy addition overall.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Covering The Witcher, Outlander, Virgin River, Sweet Magnolias and a slew of other streaming shows, Adrienne Jones is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend, and started in the fall of 2015. In addition to writing and editing stories on a variety of different topics, she also spends her work days trying to find new ways to write about the many romantic entanglements that fictional characters find themselves in on TV shows. She graduated from Mizzou with a degree in Photojournalism.