Bridgerton Season 3: Simone Ashley 'Passes The Torch' To Nicola Coughlan, But I'll Always Be Team Kanthony

Kate Sharma's arrival in Season 2 was a remarkably major moment for South Asian representation, and the brown girl in me can't help but keep rooting for her.

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in Bridgerton Season 3

From Lady Whistledown’s identity under threat of being revealed, to Colin finally taking a fancy to Penelope, there’s plenty to look forward to when Bridgerton Season 3 arrives on Netflix in May. 

As this season’s leading couple Nicola Coughlan (Penelope Featherington) and Luke Newton (Colin Bridgerton) – who form Polin, Penelope and Colin’s couple name of course – do the publicity rounds ahead of the premiere, I’m excited for what’s promised to be even more Regency drama, fashion and seductive fantasy. 

But there’s a part of me that already misses Kanthony immensely. For those playing catch up, Kanthony is the couple name for Kate Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton, played by Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey respectively. Yes, Bridgerton fans have shipped their favourite pairs very hard from the get go. 

Season 2 revolved around the pair’s blossoming romance, and it was a remarkably major moment for South Asian representation. We saw a darker-skinned Indian woman being given the female lead role and therefore challenging colourism. There was the inclusion of Bollywood film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’s title song playing during a pre-wedding haldi scene. The season made strides in helping brown people, and particularly women, feel seen in an entertainment landscape that is gradually improving – but still struggling – with cultural diversity.

Charithra Chandran (Kate’s sister Edwina) also made her big television debut. While she won’t be returning at all in Season 3, it’s comforting to see the incredibly talented actor's recent return to the screen in Prime Video’s How To Date Billy Walsh.

In a recent video from Netflix, Simone Ashley officially “passes the torch” to Nicola Coughlan as they do a cute Q&A together.

When Coughlan asks Ashley what's something she wasn’t expecting about being the romantic lead in Season 2, Ashley shares that it was “the amount of horse riding” that took her by surprise.

“We did a lot, but that was a really pleasant surprise and I had a great time with Jonny just on the horses,” she says. “I think that was one of my favourite memories.” 

She also mentions the iconic scene where Kate and Anthony rode their horses in the rain, and says she and co-star Jonathan Bailey would often do quizzes and make playlists in their downtime when they weren’t filming. Watching that clip makes it all feel so final – intensifying my fear that Kate Sharma will retreat into the background in the third season, merely sashaying in the arms of Anthony at a ball, or making a cup of tea in the corner as everyone fusses over whatever else is now the talk of the ton.

Of course, just as each novel by Julia Quinn in the Bridgerton series focuses on a different Bridgerton sibling, so too must the Netflix show. While Ashley is understandably taking a back seat in Season 3, she recently teased that there’s still plenty for Kanthony fans to look forward to – and this is the reassurance that fans like me need!

“I think they’ll be really happy,” she told Screen Rant. “I think both Johnny and I had so much fun exploring Kate and Anthony post season 2. And we had a lot of fun enjoying the blissful domestic life, as you just really beautifully put it.

“It’s Luke Newton’s and Nicola Coughlan’s season and, if anything, I’m just really proud of them and the episodes; for the world to see them tell the story.”

Ashley’s words encourage us to relish the scenes of a sweet new romance with the ultimate Whistledown twist. But the brown woman in me can’t help but keep rooting for the other. I’ll be cherishing every Kate Sharma scene that comes our way this season.