Bridgerton: Why Penelope Speaks With An Irish Accent When In Disguise

Warning: contains SPOILERS for Bridgerton season 2.

There's a reason why Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) in Bridgerton season 2 uses an Irish accent while in disguise. Working under the pseudonym Lady Whistledown, Penelope writes a popular gossip pamphlet read by London's high society. With the help of servants, footmen, and carriage drivers, Penelope eavesdrops and gathers information to write about. Topics usually of interest include people who are courting each other,  the Queen's choice for the season's diamond, the family drama happening in the ton, and so on.

Because of how scandalous the gossip can be, it's pertinent that her identity remains a secret. Particularly in a time when it was discouraged for women to make a living, Penelope's operation needs to be all the more covert. There's a reason why so few people know Penelope's Lady Whistledown secret. Using an extensive system that allows her to publish her pamphlet without anyone knowing about it, Penelope takes her draft to the publisher at night while disguised as an Irish maid. Not even the publisher can know who she really is.

Related: Bridgerton: Why Penelope Featherington Always Wears Yellow

The maid is specifically Irish for a reason, and it's not just for the sake of hiding Penelope's nationality, much less her identity. Penelope's actress Nicola Coughlan is Irish, so it's natural for her to showcase an Irish accent while her character is in disguise. However, it's worth noting that Penelope's accent is specifically in the more popular Dublin dialect, which differs from Coughlan's native Galway accent on the other side of the country. The difference is hard to tell for anyone not native to Ireland. Coughlan exhibited much more differing accents before, as seen in Derry Girls as Clare with her heavy Northern Irish brogue.

By hiding her affection for Colin in Bridgerton and being a wallflower at the many balls she attends, Penelope likes to remain in the shadows. Just like her friend Eloise (Claudia Jessie), Penelope is well-read and favors more intellectual pursuits than the ladies around her. It's in her character to create a cleverly intricate system of secrecy for her Lady Whistledown pamphlet. She's so well-hidden that it can only take a relentless observer like Eloise to discover any semblance of a clue to Lady Whistledown's secret identity, like the strange-looking letter "K" that reveals Lady Whistledown's printing press, for example. Changing her accent for her maid's disguise then becomes another example showcasing Penelope's keenness, as using her high society London accent would be a potentially ruinous oversight.

Considering how much it affected Penelope and Eloise's friendship, Penelope's Lady Whistledown secret reveal would be heartbreaking for her. There are a number of risks associated with her gossip pamphlet operation which could affect her good standing. Being ignored by the people around her and living with a self-absorbed family, Penelope seeks a taste of acceptance from her Lady Whistledown life, making for a lonely existence. Luckily for her character, Bridgerton was renewed for at least two more seasons. Assuming that the show remains relatively true to the books, there's a brighter future for her.

Next: Bridgerton Season 3: Everything We Know (Thanks To The Books)



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