Why did Eloise and Penelope fight? What parents of daughters can learn from Bridgerton when it comes to friendships

An expert weighs in on the talking points parents can take from the show

(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Why did Eloise and Penelope fight? While we look at their Bridgerton feud, an expert shares what parents can take from the pair's on-screen argument and share with their own daughters about friendship disputes.

Bridgerton season 3 has arrived, and it's time to swoon over the period costumes and binge on the lustful lives of fan-favourite characters. It's not only the clothes and storylines that fans can't drag themselves away from - Bridgerton filmed in some of the most beautiful spots the country has to offer, leading to fans seeking them out for a spot of location observing. Such is the popularity of the show's universe, it's even been responsible for an upturn in Bridgerton baby names - listen out for Daphne, Prudence and Benedict being called in a park near you.

When a new season of a favourite show lands, there's often a recap of previous ones required, especially when the wait between them can be so long. Bridgerton season 3 has left many asking the same question: Why did Eloise and Penelope fight? While we deep dive into the reason for their feud, we're also taking it one step further. Child development research psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer, is on hand to explain what parents can take from the on-screen fight and turn into teachable moments with their own daughters.

Our GoodtoKnow resident child development expert Dr. Gummer also tells us: "Even best friends can face misunderstandings and Bridgerton is a classic example of how even the closest relationships can have their ups and downs. As parents, our role in what might seem like an argument to end all arguments is to guide and support whilst staying neutral to the situation, rather than diving in and getting directly involved. It’s possible to manage disputes effectively without taking sides, as this can do more harm than good - even if you think your daughter is in the right, managing conflict can be a great life lesson and help build up their resilience." 

Why did Eloise and Penelope fight?

During the season 2 finale, Eloise discovered Penelope's alter ego, uncovering that she was actually Lady Whistledown. Hurt that she doesn't know this fundamental piece of information about her best friend, things went from bad to worse. With the realisation of who was behind the local gossip, Eloise recoiled that her reputation had been tarnished by the personal information spread by her best friend, and not a faceless 'Lady Whistledown' - she was enraged Penelope could do that to her. 

During their argument, Eloise accused Penelope of "self-serving manipulation," telling her former bestie she never wanted to see her again. It appears that in season 3, Eloise has now been befriended by Penelope's sworn enemy, Cressida Cowper. The actress who plays Eloise, Claudia Jessie, shares her thoughts on this friendship development - and what could happen between Eloise and Penelope.

Speaking on the TV Insider YouTube channel, Jessie said "I'd love to say they made up between seasons, I really wish that's what it was, but that would be terrible TV making. They've had a lot of time apart, and during that time apart, Cressida has shown a lot of kindness to Eloise. But I don't think she's very happy - she's very upset with the betrayal."

The actress added that a lot of Eloise's hurt could be to do with being left in the dark about her best friend's alter ego. "More than anything, I think she's embarrassed," she added, continuing "but Peneloise fans out there, I don't want you to lose complete hope. But I think there's going to be a bit of a battle before they're skipping through the daffodil fields again." 

6 lessons parents of daughters can learn from Bridgerton

  1. Stay neutral - Dr. Gummer says "listen and offer unbiased advice. You can say things like ‘I understand how you feel’ without saying, 'no wonder you’re angry'".
  2. Empower your daughter - Help with her problem by saying things like 'what do you think is the best thing to do to get back on track?', and then help her work through how that may be seen by her friend - try and avoid giving your own viewpoint unless asked directly for it and if so, be honest and balanced in your reply.
  3. Encouragement - walk your daughter through how to see things from the other person’s point of view, to help find common ground.
  4. Focus on facts - Dr. Gummer adds "Get your daughter to focus on the facts rather than her emotions. Help her find constructive ways of communicating with her friend and avoid name calling or exaggerated accusations."
  5. Be there for your daughter - "Actively listen to your daughter," Dr. Gummer suggests, adding "Sometimes it’s about allowing her to scream and vent behind closed doors, but it’s better you’re present and there for her. Promoting this open communication ensures no misunderstandings or bad feelings are left to fester, or at worse start to affect her mental wellbeing."
  6. Check no bullying has taken place - This is very important, with Dr. Gummer explaining "If the fallout is due to bullying or something more serious, it may be time to step in. Connect with the other parent, guardian or teacher, but explain to your daughter why it’s important that adult intervention takes place.

Dr. Gummer concludes "A bit of conflict and healthy debate can  help build resilience in our young people and help them manage different conflicts.  As parents I recommend we should be there to listen, support and give our children the tools to navigate their challenges with confidence so they can grow into strong and  confident individuals, prepared to face whatever life throws at them." 

For more on the steamy universe, we share whether you should let your teenager watch Bridgerton, as experts give their opinion. When the spin-off show aired, many were asking if Queen Charlotte was based on a real Queen, and where Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story filmed - we have everything you need to know.

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and moms.com. In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.