The Bridgerton diamond
Though not a Christian series, the Netflix period drama, Bridgerton reminded me of that time when honour and duty governed society. Set in 1813, Julia Quinn brought us into the lives of an aristocratic close-knit family of eight siblings and a widow. Though not the eldest, Daphne Bridgerton is the focus of this first book and season of the Netflix period drama. The young lady has just come of age and is to be presented to society for marriage. The idea is to present your best self so that the odds may be stacked in your favour. Unfortunately, only the aristocratic families could part-take in this practice, and daughters to be presented as debutants/cotillion had to be virgins.
Having been presented to Queen Charlotte, Daphne Bridgerton is personally greeted by her as she expressed her delight and pleasure in one word “Flawless”. Daphne would later go on to be described in the society’s gossip blog as a “A diamond of the first water”. Having no idea what this anglicised term meant, I was finally enlightened that this term of endearment speaks to an exceptionally beautiful young woman. The phrase comes from a technical term used to describe diamonds. The degree of brilliance in a diamond is called its “water”, so a “diamond of the first water” is an exceptionally fine diamond. Riding on this high, Daphne is poised as first pick for an eligible bachelor.
The most eligible bachelor happened to be Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, who is a close friend of her eldest brother. Simon is not interested in marriage or having a family because of a traumatic childhood he endured at the hands of his father. He and Daphne agree to a temporary rouse of dating so that he could appear off the market and she would become the most sought-after maiden. In the midst of the rouse, true feelings abound, and Simon is forced to marry Daphne after he is caught kissing her in the Gardens. Only, they both actually have feelings for each other as they developed a friendship during this rouse. Simon, however, was adamant because he had vowed to never have children as revenge on his dying father who only wished to see his name live on. He didn’t want to deny Daphne that reality. They eventually both agree to marry and their lives take centre stage from there.
This series is far from being ideal or Christian, but it does highlight a few themes that have been addressed in the Good book.
· Honour to women - The father or eldest son would research all men suiting his daughter/sister and ensure she was wed into a proper family. A gracious woman gets honour… (Proverbs chapter 11 verse 16, ESV).
In the event of a death of a sibling who had a child, the brother saw it as his duty to be the kinsman redeemer…then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer… (Ruth Chapter 4 verse 14a, ESV).
· Sex in Marriage - Sex was taught to be saved for marriage between husband and wife. It was simply improper to be seen with a man unsupervised. Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous (Hebrews chapter 13 verse 4, ESV).
· Family Lineage– The Duke of Hastings’ decision to avoid having children to discontinue and dishonour his father’s legacy. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous (Proverbs chapter 13 verse 32, ESV).
Honour to women
What stood out to me in the series most of all was how young women, though only the rich, were protected. Though considered archaic times now, marriage was highly respected and sought after. It was simply improper for a young woman to be alone with a man. Things that are commonplace in contemporary society, like a bachelor kissing a random unmarried young woman, would be considered as him having taking liberties with her and as such his duty was to marry her because of such liberties. If he didn’t choose to honour that, nothing short of a duel would be had as early as morning light.
One character, in her youthful exuberance, found herself with child after an affair with a solider who was later sent to defend King and country. A rouse was devised to get her wed before she started to show, but was quickly found out before any wedding could occur. This of course was a matter of shame for the family, and although unmarried, as we have seen in the Bible, his brother/relative stepped forward to be her Kinsman redeemer, as the dear soldier had died in the war. He stated that he believed she was now his responsibility considering his brother had taken certain liberties with her virtue.
Whereas my article in not a prescription as we have long passed the 1800s, as I watched the series I was reminded of where we were coming from. Of a time when marriage had much honour and family was thoroughly involved for your best welfare. This was a time in history where one’s family played an imperative role in choosing one’s lineage and though that might nowadays seem overinvolved for us, it was how one’s family would ensure continuity. Also, in a world inundated with marriage less sex, it was good to see sex in marriage celebrated.
Kimberley Salmon is a praise and worship leader who remains passionate about touching hearts through singing and writing as she thrives to become a published author of Christian women’s fiction. She loves the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is grateful for God’s saving grace which continues to transform her life. As a senior Press Service International Columnist, she is elated that she can now share her journey with God with the world.