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Portia Featherington is the matriarch of the Featherington family.

History[]

1813 Social Season[]

At the start of the 1813 social season, Portia prepared all three of her daughters to join the search for a husband. To this end, she forced them all into corsets tied much too tightly before they were presented to the queen. At their presentation, she was upset when Prudence fainted. This scene was reported in a new gossip rag written by the anonymous Lady Whistledown, further upsetting Portia. She also prepared her daughters to receive Marina Thompson, a distant cousin with no close female relatives to sponsor her, which is why she was sent to London to stay with them. Portia didn't figure her to be much competition until she arrived and they learned she was extraordinarily beautiful.

At the Danbury ball, Portia tried to match her daughters with many suitors, though they had little success while Marina drew many eyes. When callers came to the house the next day, they were all there to see Marina. When Portia learned that Marina was pregnant, she was excited as it gave her a legitimate reason to kick Marina out. Marina didn't object, saying she never wanted to come to London in the first place or be part of society.[1]

After learning Marina was pregnant, Portia forced her to stay in her room, away from Prudence, Philippa, and Penelope.[2]

After a while, Portia decided instead that Marina needed to go out immediately and find a husband so she'd be married when her had her child. She took Marina to Genevieve to get a new dress and Genevieve commented on the dress not fitting after being made to her measurements. Portia covered for it by saying Marina was fond of cake.

At the next ball, Portia introduced Marina to Lord Middlethorpe, an older gentleman. Marina immediately rebuffed him, upsetting Portia, who was angry with Marina for ruining her shot with him. As a result, she took Marina to the slums, to show her what her life would be like if she didn't find someone to marry her very quickly. Marina said she only saw good, hard-working people who were born less fortunate than herself. She also told Portia that she had a man who loved her, but Portia said men often wavered when the consequences of their actions confronted them.

Portia then secretly conspired with Mrs. Varley to get Marina to believe George wasn't coming back for her, using her previous letters from him to copy his handwriting and write a letter disavowing their relationship and the pregnancy.[3]

Once Marina had given up on George, Portia got started finding Marina a husband. She pushed Marina toward older suitors, saying she needed someone who would marry her quickly and not ask questions when she gave birth to a healthy newborn in six months.

Portia was delighted when her own daughter Philippa drew the attention of Albion Finch and hoped for two weddings in a single year. Her husband disagreed and then said something to Finch which caused him to rebuff Philippa. Portia confronted her husband about this, but he refused to discuss it with her.

Suspicious, Portia went home and searched the drawers in her husband's office. She found paperwork indicating that he'd gambled away all their money, including his daughters' dowries, and was in significant debt. When she confronted him with her knowledge, he started crying and said he'd failed her and their daughters.[4]

Soon after, Portia went to her husband and told him that Genevieve was refusing to give them any more dresses until the bill was paid. His response was that they had plenty of dresses already and could just wear them again. Portia suggested instead that he could give up his tobacco and snatched away his pipe. After Colin came to visit Marina, Portia made arrangements for Marina to dine with Lord Rutledge, wanting to hurry her into a marriage. Marina asked for just a few days to secure an engagement to Colin before resigning herself to her fate. At the next ball, while Marina courted Colin, Portia went to her and said Lord Rutledge had gotten engaged, taking him off the table. This meant a quick engagement to Colin was her only option.[5]

When Marina secured an engagement to Colin, Portia took her to the modiste to get her wedding garments. At the modiste, the ran into Colin's mother and sister, so Portia invited Colin, Anthony, and their mother to dine at the Featherington estate. Then they went to Genevieve, who repeated her request to have the bill paid before giving them any more dresses. Marina was able to convince her to make the dresses by revealing that she knew that Genevieve was only pretending to be French and threatening to out her to everyone.

Once her dresses were made, Marina showed her look off to everyone in the household before dinner. At the dinner, Portia tried to push for a quick engagement, though Anthony thought a longer one might be prudent given that Colin was still quite young. Secretly, Colin and Marina plotted to run away to Scotland and marry immediately, but this was thwarted when Lady Whistledown reported that Marina was pregnant and had been since before her arrival in London.[6]

Desperate to distance herself and her daughters from Marina and her scandal, Portia tried to get Marina into a hospital, but the hospital wouldn't take her without a sizable donation, which Portia wasn't able to give.

Then, despite the scandal, Portia took her daughters to the queen's luncheon, to which they'd been invited prior to the scandal. Portia tried to tell Violet that they'd both been duped by Marina, But Violet simply ignored her. They were then asked to leave the luncheon, which they did.

Portia went to her husband and said his gambling was the reason they were ruined now, as his debts had forced them to take in Marina, which led to the scandal. Their conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Daphne Bridgerton, who was there to speak to Marina privately.

Later, Portia responded when Penelope called out to her and arrived to find Marina passed out on the floor, having consumed a tea meant to induce miscarriage.[7]

Portia approached Lady Bridgerton to inquire about her family not receiving an invitation to a ball the Bridgertons were having. She said her daughters were upset. Lady Bridgerton suggested she explain to her daughters why they weren't invited, but Daphne said they could make room for the Featheringtons. She then got word that a Mr. Crane was at their house and rushed home, with Daphne following, believing George had returned for Marina. When they arrived, they learned it was not George, but his brother Phillip, who brought the news that George had died in battle. He also proposed to her as he knew his brother had compromised her honor and wanted to make things right. She refused because she said she didn't know him or love him, even when Phillip said his brother would have wanted her to be cared for. Portia was not pleased with her turning the proposal down.

Portia then started preparing for the upcoming ball. Since they had no credit at the modiste, they couldn't get new dresses and would have to wear ones they'd worn before. The girls were upset at this, but the situation was resolved when Lord Featherington came home with the winnings from a bet he'd made on a fight that he had rigged. Portia said Mrs. Varley would pay off the modiste first thing in the morning. Once that was resolved, they got fitted for new dresses.

At the ball, Portia ushered Philippa toward Mr. Finch, hoping to rekindle that attraction. At the end of the night, they returned home happily, but found some men waiting. Mrs. Varley told them they were saying Lord Featherington was dead and the Bow Street Runners had questions. Portia raced to her husband's office, but found it empty and the money gone.

Marina then decided to accept Phillip's proposal and left with him. Before she left, she asked Portia how she'd endured 22 years in a loveless marriage. Portia said she'd find things to love, some little and some big, and that would come to be enough. She also told Marina she was strong, stronger than Portia herself. After she was gone, Mrs. Varley came to Portia with the name of the man who would inherit the Featherington estate.[8]

Jack's Arrival and Philippa's Wedding[]

Following Archibald's death, as they waited for the heir to arrive, Portia struggled to find ways to support herself and her daughters. She was forced to lay off much of their staff and reduce their spending however she could. She assured her daughters that as soon as the heir arrived, they'd be well cared for, including Philippa, who was unable to get married with her dowry unpaid. She was also eager to find matches for Prudence and Penelope so he wouldn't expect a say in that matter.

At Lady Danbury's ball, the first of the season, Portia gossiped about Mary Sharma with the other mothers. When the Finches arrived, Portia went to speak to them, but when they asked about Philippa's dowry, she feigned prolonged grief to avoid the conversation. They told her to let them know when she was more settled.

When they came home from another ball, Portia and her daughters were surprised to see a large amount of luggage in the foyer, indicating that the new Lord Featherington had arrived. Jack Featherington came downstairs and introduced himself, saying his arrival was delayed because he was in America. He'd already started taking care of things, including Philippa's dowry and having Portia's things moved out of what was now his bedchamber.[9]

Jack wasted no time making changes around the estate, which Portia didn't like. With the dowry paid, Philippa was married to Albion Finch in a small ceremony with just the immediate family present. After the ceremony, the Finches asked to speak to Jack, so Portia went to find him. He was doing the books and she offered her help, but he said he'd find someone else. As he went to talk to the Finches, Portia told Mrs. Varley she was worried about them being thrown out in the streets.

At the soiree for Edwina to get to know her suitors better, Portia saw that Cressida Cowper was wearing a ruby necklace from Jack. She warned Cressida that it didn't really mean anything because Jack is so generous with his gifts.[10]

Despite her claims, Portia fretted over Jack's interested in Cressida, as she worried him getting married would result in her and her daughters being cast out into the street. She then had the idea to find a young woman she could influence and manipulate things so Jack married her instead. She then realized Prudence was the perfect candidate and goaded Prudence into agreeing. She took Prudence to Genevieve to have her dresses altered, but when Genevieve refused to lower Prudence's her dress in the bust below what was proper, Portia took Prudence to another modiste instead.

Portia then coached Prudence on how to seduce Jack and tried to force conversation between the two of them. She was dismayed when Jack asked her to make arrangements for dinner with the Cowpers as he'd invited the family over. At the dinner, she continued to try to steer Prudence and Jack towards each other, though Jack was more interested in Cressida and asked her to promenade with him later in the week.[11]

Hearts and Flowers Ball[]

Portia attended the Bridgertons' annual Hearts and Flowers ball with the rest of her family. At the ball, Portia fretted to Prudence that the ball was her last chance to charm Jack away from Cressida or she and Jack would marry. She emphasized that it was the only way for them to secure their futures. When Prudence didn't act quickly or aggressively enough, Portia sent Prudence to take a walk outside and then sent Jack to the same location. Then she led a group of people to discover them, in the hopes of forcing a quick proposal. It worked and Jack offered his hand to Prudence to preserve her honor.

Later, at home, Jack confronted Portia, who said she was doing what she had to do to secure her family's future. He told her she'd really secured herself a future of poverty, as he was broke. He was relying on Cressida's large dowry to keep the family afloat. He told her he'd paid Philippa's dowry with a counterfeit ruby necklace and a promise of later payment.[12]

Financial Struggles[]

As the bills started to come due, Portia became upset that Jack hadn't restored their fortunes as he was supposed to. He told her that was her doing. He wanted to call off the wedding and continue his pursuit of Cressida Cowper, but Portia said they couldn't do that to Prudence's reputation. She said she'd figure something else out.

Portia took Prudence to Genevieve's to get the trousseau for her wedding.

At the lake, she pulled Jack aside to talk to him. She told him that going to the club wouldn't solve their predicament, but he said neither would going to the modiste. Portia had Mr. Brookes, a jeweler, look at a ruby necklace Jack had made. Jack tried to get him to stop, but he pressed on. He said he'd need proper tools to get an exact valuation, but felt comfortable saying it was quite valuable. Once he was gone, Jack reminded Portia that the stones were counterfeit. She said that didn't matter, as they'd fooled Mr. Brookes and would fool others. They'd be able to pay their bills.

Later, Portia lamented that they hadn't received an invitation to a ball and Penelope suggested that the engagement had them on the outs again. She went to Jack and told him they needed to do something, as they were losing their status as a family. Jack told her that several of the men had asked about investing in his mines. She told him to take their money as they'd have the money they needed if all the men invested.[13]

To draw in potential investors, Portia gave Prudence one of Jack's counterfeit necklaces to wear to Anthony and Edwina's wedding. When the wedding was called off abruptly in the middle of the ceremony, Portia said that was fortuitous as the ton always came alive with scandal. She told Prudence to show off the necklace more.

She later spoke to Jack, who said he was close to making some deals. She listed off some potential targets, but told him not to go after the Bridgertons.[14]

Return to Status[]

In the aftermath of Anthony and Edwina's wedding, Portia expressed her surprised to see the Bridgertons out in public. She told them she thought they'd never recover from Marina and Colin's broken engagement, but they had.

After seeing Colin leave their home, Portia reminded Jack that she'd told him to leave the Bridgertons alone. He told her that he'd tried to dissuade him, but he was persistent. With Jack making deals with many of the men in the ton, their social status returned to its previous level and they began receiving invitations again, to Portia's delight. After the Bridgertons ended up in a new scandal upon Whistledown revealing that Eloise had been socializing unsupervised with political radicals, Portia told Jack to seal the deal with Colin.[15]

Ball and Jack's Departure[]

With the money they'd made from conning people, Portia decided to throw an elaborate ball. When Mrs. Varley asked about the Bridgertons and Sharmas, Portia said to invite them, though she didn't expect them to come.

Jack later reported to Portia that Colin had taken the bait. Since they'd gone through the entire ton, Portia suggested expanding to the wealthy families in the countryside, but warned that people would start asking for a return on their investments soon and the whole scheme would fall apart. Jack suggested leaving London to travel to America, to enjoy wealth and opportunity. He told her to think about it.

At the ball, Portia was delighted to see the queen attend. However, she and Jack later came into a room where Colin was telling Penelope that the necklace Jack had given Cressida was a fraud and so was Jack. He berated Jack for taking advantage of women with no husband or brother to protect them and said he'd keep it quiet as long as Jack returned all the money and left immediately. Once Colin left, Portia pretended to be shocked and told Penelope she'd deal with it. Once Penelope was gone, Jack said they had to accelerate the plan and leave the next day. Portia said that was too soon and asked about her daughters. Jack said they'd send for them later. He was relieved that he wouldn't have to marry Prudence and could have other possibilities. He leaned in and kissed Portia, then said they needed to return to the party.

Portia later directed people outside for a surprise. Then she told Jack she'd instructed the maids to pack his things. She'd give him enough money to return to America and leave their lives. He was confused, saying they were a great team, but she said she had a team - her daughters - and it was clear he didn't care about them. She was going to keep a large share of the money to support herself and her daughters and Varley had forged a signature on a form saying that the first son of one of her daughters would inherit the title and the estate.[16]

Personality[]

Perhaps the most ambitious mama of all, Lady Featherington is determined to make advantageous matches for each of her daughters - and is forever pushing them on some rather disinterested parties. Cunning and ruthless, Lady Featherington hustles to get what she wants, no matter the cost.

Relationships[]

Romantic[]

Archibald Featherington[]

She was married to Archibald until his death.

Jack Featherington[]

Familial[]

She has three daughters with her late husband: Prudence, Philippa, and Penelope.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • The bright color palette of the Featherington family's fashion represents their brazenness. In direct contrast to the Bridgertons, the Featheringtons dress in bright colors because they want to be noticed.

Gallery[]

A more complete gallery with pictures of Portia Featherington can be found here.

Appearances[]

References

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