Regé-Jean Page announced he would not be returning to Bridgerton (Picture: Netflix)
The 31-year-old became a firm fan favourite with his steamy portrayal of the Duke of Hastings in series one.
However, the actor – who has been linked to a stint as James Bond – announced on Friday that he would not be rejoining the cast for new episodes.
But what does this mean for the rest of the series?
Why is the Duke leaving Bridgerton?
Netflix bosses broke hearts around the world when they announced that the Duke wouldn’t be making an appearance in series two.
In a post shared on the official Twitter page, a message penned from the elusive character Lady Whistledown read: ‘Dear Readers, 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.
‘We’ll miss Simon’s presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family.
‘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.’
Regé-Jean posted his own goodbye to fans, posting: ‘Pleasure and a privilege! An honour to be a member of the family – on and off screen, cast, crew and incredible fans – the love is real and will just keep growing.’
Fans were left devastated over Regé-Jean’s announcement (Picture: Netflix)
Bridgerton cast for season 2: Who’s returning?
The official cast for the upcoming episodes has not yet been confirmed, but Nicola Coughlan announced she would definitely be making a return.
In fact, just hours after a second series was announced, she announced that she had already had costume fittings to continue in her role as Penelope Featherington.
She tweeted: ‘I *may* have already been in costume fittings for Season Two and can guarantee you are absolutely not ready.’
There are also a string of new characters gracing our screens, including Kate Sharma (Simone Young), who catches the eye of Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey).
It was also recently revealed that Rupert Young and Charithra Chandran will be playing starring roles in season two.
According to Deadline, Rupert will take on a particular ‘major new role’ which is not present in the books.
He will reportedly play Jack, who has a connection to one of the notable families and will be key to a new mystery, while Charithra will star as Kate’s younger sister, Edwina.
What will happen in Bridgerton season 2?
The new season is due to begin production soon, with Anthony Bridgerton taking centre stage in the next storyline.
The Viscount had his heart broken during the first season, and has since vowed to find a wife as a ‘business deal’ so he can continue his frivolity.
Producer Chris Van Dusen previously teased: ‘Season two we’re really going to be with the eldest Bridgerton brother. We left him at the end of the first season in a bit of a crossroads so I’m looking forward to jumping in and discovering how he fares on the marriage market.’
‘I know where we’re going, I know we have a bunch of new characters that we’re going to be introducing.
‘Anthony is going to have a love interest next season and I think it’s going to be as sweeping and as moving and as beautiful as viewers of the first season have come to expect of the show.’
Bring it on.
Bridgerton is available to stream on Netflix now.
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