Simon Basset is a mysterious young suitor who has returned to England to settle his father's affairs and has no interest in finding a wife.
Birth and Childhood
As Simon was born, his father waited outside, only concerned with whether or not he would have an heir. When his mother cried out, his father ran inside the room, where Simon was then born. After learning it was a son, he took Simon out to show him off while Sarah died of a hemorrhage.
When Simon was four and still not speaking clearly due to a speech defect, the Duke ordered Simon out of his sight, saying Simon was dead to him. Simon continued to be schooled by nursemaids, though his father refused to see him. When he was six, Lady Danbury came to visit and was surprised to find him alive, as his father had told her Simon was dead. When she learned of his stutter, she took him as a dependent, promising to help him overcome his stutter on the condition that when he stepped into the light, he would be worthy of the attention he commanded. By age 11, Simon was speaking well and came to visit his father to show him. He had also written his father letters, which had gone unacknowledged. The duke re-iterated Simon's uselessness and sent him away again.
Years later, Simon came to his father's bedside when he learned his father was dying. The duke was glad to see him coming to claim his title, though Simon simply told him he would never marry or sire an heir. He pledged that the line would die with him.
1813 Social Season
Right at the start of the 1813 social season, Simon returned to London to settle the affairs of his recently deceased father. Upon his return, Lady Danbury invited him to a ball she was throwing, though he had no interest in socializing. At the ball, he ran into Daphne Bridgerton, who didn't realize who he was until her brother, Anthony, introduced them, as he knew Simon from their time together at Oxford.
Simon made it clear to Anthony that he had no interest in finding a wife or ever marrying. He intended for his title to die with him. Despite this, Lady Danbury and Violet Bridgerton arranged a match between Daphne and Simon, believing it would be a good pairing. As part of this arrangement, Simon dined with the Bridgertons. He was surprised at the family dining together, even the children, and amused by the conversations that passed across the table. He and Daphne talked at the table and agreed they were not right for each other.
At a subsequent event, Daphne was avoiding Nigel Berbrooke, a man her brother wanted her to marry but in whom she had no interest. Nigel followed her outside and cornered her in the garden. She punched him to get him off just as Simon arrived in the garden. When Daphne realized she was alone in the garden with two men, she realized she might have to marry Nigel to avoid a scandal. Instead Simon proposed that they pretend to be growing closer, as it would get the mamas off his back and raise her social capital, make her more desirable to suitors. She agreed and they returned to the event together.
Simon and Daphne negotiated carefully how often they should be seen together and how many dances they should share together. As predicted, Daphne's increased social capital that came with courting a duke brought in many other potential suitors. Despite this, Anthony continued to insist that Daphne should marry Nigel Berbrooke, not believing Simon a serious suitor.
While sparring with Will Mondrich, a boxer and friend of Simon's, Simon was interrupted by Anthony, who sparred with Simon instead, trying to get him to back off Daphne so she would marry Nigel. Simon said Nigel was hardly a saint, though Anthony believed he was better than Simon.
At the next event, Simon and Daphne continued with their arrangement, much to Anthony's annoyance. Simon and Anthony argued over Daphne until they were interrupted by Nigel, who restated his interest in Daphne. However, Simon then revealed to Anthony what had happened with Nigel in the garden and Anthony ordered Nigel never to speak to Daphne again. Nigel then confronted Simon outside and they got into a physical fight after Nigel taunted Simon about his father. Nigel then went to get a marriage license, reminding Daphne that he could ruin her reputation by telling everyone about them being in the garden alone together. Daphne then resigned herself to that outcome, until she and her mother learned that he had an illegitimate child he refused to provide for and used that information to get him to flee London. With him gone, Daphne and Simon continued their arrangement.
Simon and Daphne's arrangement continued. She said she needed it to continue until she found a husband and he agreed. At a ball, Daphne told Simon she wasn't impressed by the suitors there. Just then, Prince Friedrich of Prussia arrived and engaged with Cressida Cowper until the Queen brought him over to introduce him to Daphne.
Simon and Daphne went to see the artwork he had donated that previously belonged to his father. While looking at the painting which was said to be his mother's favorite, he and Daphne had a charged moment. When a noise from outside broke the spell, they quickly pulled apart from each other. Simon then decided not to attend the opera and instead went home for the night.
While walking with Daphne, Simon told stories of his time at school with Anthony. During this walk, Daphne also talked to Simon about the expectations of the marital bed. He said it was a natural extension of when you touch yourself. When she was confused, he clarified that she could touch herself between her legs and carry on until the feeling grew and she reached a release.
Soon afterward, Lady Danbury chastised Simon, saying if he was spending this much time with Daphne, he either needed to propose or get out of the way so she would not miss out on another promising match, such as a prince. The next day, Simon and Daphne met outside a tea shop and he abruptly ended their arrangement, confusing Daphne. He then gave orders to expedite his departure from the city. When he told Lady Danbury of his early departure, she called him a fool.
Simon went to Will to tell him he was leaving England early. Will begged him to stay for an upcoming fight, where he wasn't favored to win and wanted Simon's support. Simon agreed to stay. At the fight, he noticed Daphne sitting with the prince. Instead of watching the fight, he spent much of the match watching Daphne instead. They ended up watching each other while cheering for opposite sides.
After the match, Anthony went to Simon and said he misjudged Simon. He realized that Simon's intentions with Daphne were always honorable and now Daphne has a prince in line.
Lady Danbury came to see Simon off, but was upset with him for letting Daphne go. She wanted him to go for love, but he wasn't convinced it was a good idea.
Simon then went to Daphne to say goodbye to her. She told him she was going to marry the prince and be happy, but he knew she was putting on a front. They went to go back inside the ball, but they ended up kissing. They continued until Anthony spotted them and knocked Simon to the ground. He ordered Simon to marry Daphne immediately, but Simon insisted that he could not. Anthony then challenged him to a duel at dawn. This upset Daphne, who didn't like that Simon would rather die in a duel than marry her.
Simon went to Will's to get a drink. He explained to Will about the duel, which he said an apology wouldn't get him out of. The two of them went out at dawn for the duel. They meet with Anthony and Benedict. Simon tried to apologize to Anthony but Anthony refused to accept the apology and found it meaningless. They did their paces and faced each other. Simon aimed at the sky while Anthony fired at Simon. Just as he fired, Daphne rode in between them. They feared for a moment that she'd been hit, but she was unharmed. She had come to tell Simon that he had to marry her or she'd be ruined as Cressida Cowper had seen them in the garden alone together. Simon repeated that he couldn't marry her and privately told her that he couldn't give her children. He said she must allow her brother to finish the duel. Daphne then surprised him by saying she'd marry him anyway.
Following this engagement, Simon spent the night drinking before meeting Daphne, her mother, and Lady Danbury in the morning for a walk. On the walk, people noticed that the couple didn't seem as happy as the purported to be, though Lady Bridgerton chalked it up to nerves.
Simon then met with Anthony to get the special license to marry immediately. Anthony brought up Daphne's dowry, but Simon immediately refused it, saying he wouldn't be paid to marry Daphne and found the whole concept insulting. He said the money could be placed in trust for Daphne to spend as she saw fit as her well-being was now his responsibility and he took it very seriously. The archbishop then arrived and told them they hadn't been granted the special license. When they told Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton about this, Lady Danbury said they simply needed to appeal directly to the queen, who was hurt over Daphne choosing Simon over Prince Friedrich. They just needed to convince her they were in love and they said they could do that.
That night, Simon went to Will's house and got drunk. He felt guilty that his impulsive actions forced Daphne to have to fight for a marriage she didn't really want. When he woke the next morning, he invited Will and Alice to his wedding.
When they went before the queen, Daphne started off lying about how it was love at first sight for them, but then Simon interrupted and confessed to the whole ruse, but surprised Daphne when he confessed that love had come to them slowly, after they first developed a friendship. This speech swayed the queen and the two of them were quickly married. After a reception, the newly married couple got in their carriage to leave. Simon told Daphne that as the trip back to his estate was too long for one night, they would spend the night at an inn. He'd reserved them separate rooms, unsure if she'd want to stay with him. However, later in the evening, Simon went to Daphne's room and they had sex.
After their night at the inn, Daphne and Simon continued their trip to their new home. When they arrived, the housekeeper, Mrs. Colson, had a tour planned, but Simon said he had his own plans and whisked Daphne off to their bedroom. Daphne eventually pulled herself away to tend to her new duties as the duchess. While she went to tend to that, Simon also got to work. At the end of the day, they came together again for dinner. Simon was shocked at how formal the setup was, so Daphne moved closer to him so they could have a conversation as they ate. Their dinner was quickly interrupted when they started kissing and ended up going outside to have sex. Their passion continued over several days.
Simon and Daphne went to a fair. They met with several villagers and sampled their wares. When they learned that a farmer's rent had been tripled, threatening his livelihood, Daphne asked Simon if there was anything they could do about it. Simon then got to work on the books. He told Daphne that everything had been mismanaged in his absence, which made more work for him. He set up an office in the east wing so he could work there. One night, Daphne came to Simon, who was working late. They ended up having sex in his office and he used a cloth after pulling out, rousing her suspicion. The next time they had sex, Daphne positioned herself on top of him and refused to move, forcing him to ejaculate inside of her for the first time. This led to a fight, as Daphne was angry that Simon had lied to her and Simon was angry that she had taken advantage of him. This led to them sleeping in separate bedrooms for the first time in their marriage.
Things remained tense between Simon and Daphne, with each of them doing things intentionally to irritate the other. They communicated through their servants. When Daphne received news that her family was involved in a scandal, she immediately prepared to return to London to be with them. Simon insisted on joining her, saying it would be weird if he didn't.
When they arrived back in London, Daphne immediately went to see her family while Simon went to spar with Will. Will quickly realized he was working out his anger and asked him what was wrong, though Simon denied anything.
As part of the plan to improve her family's appearance, Daphne secured them an invitation to the queen's luncheon. Simon attended with them and told those who asked that they were making an effort to conceive an heir. When they were alone again, Daphne noted how easily he'd lied about that.
Simon went to the club, where he and Anthony shared a drink. Anthony then asked Simon what he'd done, as he'd noticed the change in Daphne and knew she wasn't capable of messing up so seriously herself. The argument escalated to a physical fight, leading to Simon and Anthony being pulled off one another.
When Simon turned in for the night, Daphne came to his room to tend to his wounds. She sat in his lap and start kissing him, asking if a child would really be such a horrible thing. He told her his father cared more about continuing the line than he cared about Simon or his mother. Daphne said continuing to stand by the promise he made to his father meant he hated his father more than he loved Daphne.
Simon and Daphne attended a concert together, but parted ways as soon as they arrived until the show started. As they watched, Daphne had a sudden realization and left her seat. While she was determining that her courses had started, Simon cried in his seat.
Daphne and Simon posed for their portrait, painted by Henry Granville. As they posed, Simon assured Daphne that as soon as the portrait was completed, he'd be leaving London. Daphne asked him to delay his departure to the end of the season and asked him to attend a final ball with her. He agreed. They had a moment of connection during this conversation, where Henry said they were the picture of devotion.
Simon ran into Daphne one evening and she asked him what his father did to make him make such a pledge, something that denied him happiness. He simply told her he was doing it for her own good and she'd be better off without him.
Simon then attended Will's fight and was upset when Will decided to throw the fight in order to secure his family's financial future through gambling. He was upset that Will didn't come to him when he needed more money, but Will wanted to take care of his own family.
Daphne invited Simon next to a family gathering to welcome Francesca home. At the meeting, Simon easily charmed the youngest Bridgertons.
As they prepared to start the ball, Simon and Daphne negotiated their final dance together. During the night, they mostly stayed apart and did their own thing. Finally, they met for their dance. However, shortly after it began, it started to rain. Simon tried to pull Daphne to shelter, but she insisted on continuing to dance in the rain. After their guests all sought cover, Simon and Daphne started talking and Daphne explained that she understood why he made that vow to his father, but she still wanted him to choose to be happy.
Simon later said he didn't know how to be the man Daphne needed him to be, but he wanted to be happy and didn't want to be alone. They decided to work through it together. They started kissing and had sex. When the moment came, he did not withdraw.
Simon and Daphne told her family that they had decided to stay in London for a while longer.
Some time later, Daphne gave birth to a son. Simon said that whatever they named him, it needed to start with an A, to maintain the family tradition.
Having newly returned to London, the Duke of Hastings finds himself the primary topic of conversation amongst marriage-minded misses and ambitious mamas alike. Yet, for reasons of his own, our devastating Duke has zero interest in his title, society, or taking a wife.
He is reserved and keeps his emotions close to his chest, is morally upstanding and values honour. He is kind and humorous, willing to poke fun with Daphne when at balls.
He is married to Daphne Basset. They faked a courtship in order for Daphne to attract suitors after Lady Whistledown wrote scandalous gossip about her, but eventually fell in love for real. They have one child together, Augie.
His mother, Sarah Basset, died in childbirth, and his father died shortly before the start of the 1813 social season.
His primary mother figure is Lady Danbury, a close friend of his deceased mother.
He has been friends with Anthony Bridgerton since their time at Oxford together. Things were tense between them for a while because Anthony was against Simon courting Daphne and found them alone together. After Daphne told Anthony and Simon that Cressida had also spotted them alone together in the garden, she said she would have to marry Simon to avoid a scandal. They did so and Anthony and Simon repaired their friendship.
Notes and Trivia
- Actor Regé-Jean Page drew inspiration from classic Romantic poet Lord Byron to craft the character.
- In the book The Duke and I, on which the first season is based, Daphne and Simon's firstborn is a girl named Amelia, not a boy. In fact, the couple would not have their first son until their fourth child, named David.
- According to Simon, Anthony once let a farm animal into Simon's dormitory as a prank, and Simon had to help get it back out.
- According to Lady Danbury, Simon is quite fond of gooseberry pie, a dish that the Bridgerton cook is renowned for.
|Bridgerton, Season 1|
|#01||"Diamond of the First Water"||#04||"An Affair of Honor"||#07||"Oceans Apart"|
|#02||"Shock and Delight"||#05||"The Duke and I"||#08||"After the Rain"|
|#03||"Art of the Swoon"||#06||"Swish"|