It’s tough making new friends anywhere – but it’s especially hard when everyone around you is completely obsessed with appearances, gossip, and social credibility. Downton Abbey and Bridgerton are set two centuries apart, and yet the similarities are quite startling, but so are the differences, be it vis-a-vis friendships or social traditions.
But if these two universes came together, who’d hang out with who? Who’s Lady Mary to lunch with? Would the Duke of Hastings and Matthew Crawley be buddies? Would the Dowager Countess meet her match? Here’s just a list of Downton-meets-Bridgerton friendships that would work out, and some that wouldn’t.
10Would Work: Mary And Simon
Both Mary and Simon are very aware of their privileges and yet, look down upon the culture and the society they are stuck in. Mary, especially, is someone who has often admitted that she feels suffocated by the lack of options for women; this actually gives her a certain iciness and Mary tends to prioritize status and titles over real emotions because it makes her feel more secure.
Simon, too, has a cold understanding of the world, and in spite of being charming and sensitive, he can be quite self-serving. One can easily see a friendship between these two thriving, because not only do they share the same angst, but they also share many traits.
9Would Turn Ugly: Cora & Lady Danbury
Cora Crawley is simply too much of a pacifist and even if she does form a friendship with the formidable Lady Danbury, chances are the latter would soon grow tired of Cora’s friendship. Cora’s ‘everything looks better in the morning’ motto is quite inefficient and goes against Lady Danbury’s perspective of life.
Lady Danbury is a doer, when she sees a problem she actively works towards fixing it, which also makes her such an empowered character because she’s one of the few people on the show with real courage. Cora is not someone who takes chances and is simply too much of a traditionalist to try and take risks.
8Would Work: Eloise & Matthew
Both Eloise Bridgerton and Matthew Crawley are highly intelligent and choose to go against the grain of mainstream society. They can also be quite picky when it comes to opening up to people because there’s a very subtle wave of cynicism inside both.
Chances are these two would really hit it off because they actively denounce everything that they feel is shallow, or driven by materialism and value relationships and emotions over wealth and titles. In fact, they can also be each other’s biggest allies since they find it hard to make friends.
7Would Turn Ugly: Marina & Tom
These two couldn’t be any different from each other. Marina only pursues security and social credibility and given her circumstances, one can see why those are her priorities. But Tom is someone who, in spite of being a bit traditionalist, is not a conformist. Though he may come off as a bit snobbish or preachy, he’s the most worldly person in the Crawley social circle.
He takes his heritage and his convictions very seriously and he would definitely think Marina a little too self-serving or even selfish. Tom is simply too much of an idealist to ever be in a functional, healthy friendship with Marina.
6Would Work: Mary & Penelope
These two share many outlooks on their own society and acutely feel how limiting their culture is, and they have both devised means to subvert their situation. They both like being around people who are worldly and can acknowledge self-worth – and they have often felt misunderstood by their loved ones.
Penelope and Mary would be fast friends, and in fact, Penelope could even trust Mary with her Lady Whistledown secret since Mary is perhaps the only one who would understand Penelope’s need to retaliate.
5Would Turn Ugly: Matthew & Simon
They are both unconventional and like to think for themselves but they probably can’t sustain a friendship between them. Matthew is a rebel, he is practical and understands and appreciates accountability; and though both Simon and Matthew are driven by logic, Matthew is too idealistic for someone like Simon.
They may just hit it off as friends when they meet but things are bound to get ugly when Matthew realizes that Simon can be quite cold and self-serving. Plus, Matthew thrives under pressure and responds to transparency, whereas Simon hates being challenged on any level and can often be misleading for his own gains.
4Would Work: Rose & Anthony
Chances are these two would understand each other’s anxieties and social perspectives; they are both primarily driven by emotions and aspire for the same sort of companionship. Anthony may come across as hot-headed and quick to draw conclusions, but deep down he’s looking for clarity and resolution.
The world to him is black and white and he prioritizes chivalry over materialism; Rose is also someone who can easily differentiate between what is good and what isn’t; they’re both a little old school and get carried away with their passions, and will go a great distance to help people.
3Would Turn Ugly: The Queen & The Dowager Countess
They’re powerful and unyielding and have an amazing mastery over shading others. However, the Dowager is very sensitive to her family’s needs and their anxieties. She has often been depicted as an orthodox person who prioritizes titles over relationships, and though that may be true to some extent, the Countess was also very intuitive and could be a very efficient ally.
The Queen, however, is quite insecure about her standing, despite literally being the Queen, and is very easily flummoxed by gossip. One could see how these two could see each other as BFF material but the Dowager wouldn’t get along with the Queen in the long run.
2Would Work: Tom & Benedict
Tom and Benedict are original thinkers and are very perceptive of the toxicity around them; they know exactly what does not work for them. This is also why they have serious opinions against certain aspects of their own culture which may be limiting to less privileged people.
Benedict stands out among his peers, owing to his keen artistic nature and kindness, while Tom is well-read and takes a lot of pride in his heritage and political convictions, and these two would get along splendidly.
1Would Turn Ugly: Mary & Anthony
Mary may be drawn to Anthony’s vivacious spirit, but in the long term, these two can never really be friends. Funnily enough, the two share some perspectives on navigating social life but their approach is totally different. Anthony is quick to judge and gets way too carried away in his emotions, Mary recognizes that she doesn’t have the privilege of making bad decisions.
Mary’s angst comes from her struggles which have taught her that being emotionally vulnerable can only lead to misery. Chances are Anthony would embarrass her as her friend in some way or other, or she would simply find him too childish.