What does it take to work for an aristocratic family like the Bridgertons? Just ask Mrs. Varley, the housekeeper in Bridgerton . And not just anyone; this particular housekeeper has been with the family since she was 14 years old! And if you think that means she’s had it easy, you haven’t met her husband yet! Learn more about Mrs. Varley and her job as lady of the manor, as well as what it takes to be an upper-class housekeeper, in our exclusive interview with actress Lorraine Ashbourne, who plays Mrs. Bridgerton: Meet Mrs Varley the Featheringtons’ Housekeeper
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A little about the character
Mrs. Varley has been a housekeeper for Lord and Lady Featherington since before Thomas was born and she is almost like an additional mother to him and his sisters. When he learns that he’s to be a duke one day, he becomes afraid of failing his people by not knowing how to run an estate or perform his duties as head of his family properly – that is until Mrs. Varley steps in and shows him it’s all right to ask for help when you need it! Will Lady Featherington agree with her? Or will Bridgerton be forced to choose between duty and love? Find out! Watch Now! *Top Ten Amazon Bestseller*
Fun facts about her character
She actually takes care of a LOT of different things. She is mostly in charge of domestic duties, but she also serves as a nurse for Emma when she is ill and acts as a kind of mother figure for her; meanwhile, her two daughters are at university (at least one son already lives away from home), so it’s not clear exactly what their relationship is with their mother; nor do we know if they will come to live with their mother when they’re finished at school. It may be that they’re grown and have jobs or families of their own by then… or that Mrs. V has been widowed sometime between now and then (the children are never mentioned in any other Bridgerton novel). Maybe she’s being promoted to housekeeper!
Why she might have been in this scene
The lady shown above has a tea tray in her hands and a furrowed brow on her face as she attempts to place it on a nearby side table. Perhaps she is frustrated because it seems as though she’s performed this feat dozens of times today alone; or maybe her boyfriend just broke up with her and all she wants to do is curl up in bed and eat ice cream—who knows? Either way, if you look closely enough you can see that her nails are painted bright pink and perfectly manicured—clearly one of Lord Bridgerton’s lady friends, if we’re not mistaken!
How this scene might have gone differently if she were playing it
In an interesting exchange of roles, Lorraine would have played Bridgerton’s character in one scene from Knight of My Dreams where she was interrogating members of her household staff. The exchange went as follows: Dear Mrs. Varley, you have such a lovely manner about you; I’m sure you’re a great comfort to my poor mother during these trying times, he said blandly.
The woman in charge
Historically, housekeepers were a fixture in most British households and were typically brought on staff by families with multiple generations under one roof—and some households had several of them. Lorraine Ashbourne, who plays Mrs. Varley on Bridgerton (and will play Hermione Featherington on season three), says that no matter how big or small a family is the mother of a family is always busy. But in 1912? That’s especially true—women weren’t allowed to work full-time jobs outside of their home without their husband’s permission. As a result, everything from paying for groceries to keeping up with cleanliness to doing laundry was piled onto women’s shoulders. Bridgerton: Meet Mrs Varley the Featheringtons’ Housekeeper
Is she married?
Yes indeed! Though readers will have to wait until October 2012 for Bridgerton: The Marquess of Ashbourne (aka Lorraine Ashbourne) , a whole novel about Lord Bridgerton’s younger brother, to find out more about Mrs. Varley’s romantic history! But she does make an appearance in Bridget as Lady Whistledown’s lady-in-waiting; she and her husband are friends with Rannulf and Judith Bridgerton. We asked Julia if there was anything she could tell us about Lorraine’s background–and what role Mrs. Varley might play in future Bridgertons books…
Into which class does she belong?
She is a housekeeper and employee of Eustace and Cicely Featherington. She works in their home as a servant, while her husband is employed by them as their butler. They may not be nobles themselves but they are wealthy enough to employ those who serve them at their home in London. This makes Mrs. Varley lower class when compared to characters such as Lord Bridgerton, who are upper class. The housekeeping classes were some of most important people in making sure that all family members had everything they needed or wanted within their own home without having to worry about anything or go out into society themselves for it because it was provided for them wherever they went by people like Mrs.
What was her childhood like?
Lorraine Ashbourne wanted to be an actress when she was young. I can imagine that many kids feel that way as children but few follow through with it into adulthood and even fewer become successful at it! She was a very hard worker from what I’ve read about her. She learned how to sew clothes for dolls and then became a seamstress at age 12 because her family needed extra money after their father died of typhoid fever when Lorraine was 8 years old. Talk about ambition! She often worked 14 hour days on set and finished filming by 6 AM most mornings which made her long work days even longer.
Her relationship with her employers
She is especially close to Madeline’s aunt, Tilly Bridgerton (who is also her godmother). She has a firm but fair relationship with Penelope and Beatrix; when they are behaving badly, she will try to set them straight. She occasionally teases Alexander about his old flame Olivia Beckett until he threatens to sack her if she mentions it again; she takes that as a good sign that he’s over Olivia for good now.
Her relationship with everyone else in the cast
The relationship between Mrs. Varley and everyone else in her cast is hard to describe. We don’t see any interactions between them, although we do know that she’s been housekeeper to Lord and Lady Featherington for some time now and she must be a good housekeeper for them to have kept her on for so long (especially since their children have apparently gone off). Of course, there may be something else entirely going on—and that’s where fanfic comes in! What do you think is going on with these characters? What relationship do you see between each of them? Are they related? Maybe they’re childhood friends?
Who is Mrs Varley in bridgerton?
MRS. VARLEY, THE FEATHERINGTONS’ HOUSEKEEPER (Excerpt) Scene from Bridgerton : Lord Ashbourne as Sebastian Bridgerton; LORRAINE AS MRS. VARLEY, THE FEATHERINGTONS’ HOUSEKEEPER ; Mr. Clive Revill as Marmaduke Featherington; Chloris Leachman as Dotty Featherington; BRIGITTE as Letitia Barrington #7 of 9; JULIA as Felicity Bridgerton
Who is the actress lorraine Ashbourne?
Lorraine Ashbourne is an actress who played Mrs. Varley in Bridgerton (2015). Her talent has appeared in films like The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations (2011), Where’s Marlowe? (2009) and Freaky Friday (2003). She was born in Los Angeles, California on February 7th 1981
Who is the Featheringtons maid?
Her name is Mrs. Jane Varley and she is one of my favorites! She is a character with a heart of gold and I can’t imagine who might be better in that household than her. She is loyal to Edmund and Julia and takes care of them along with their three children very well indeed. I had so much fun writing her into Bridgerton because she has all these neat personality traits and we get to see her face throughout Bridgerton as well in subsequent books of mine (The Wallflowers series) where Lady Danbury’s cook comes from Bridgerton, too.
Who plays Mrs Varley?
The role of housekeeper is played by Lorraine Ashbourne in all six books of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series; she appeared in book #1 (2004) as Martha Rogers and became known to readers as Mrs. Varley at book #2 (2006). She plays a major role in each of these novels and also has minor roles in three other related books. The BBC television adaptation The Diary of Anne Brontë (2017) cast her once again as Mrs. Rogers, while film adaptations have been made of Quinn’s first three Bridgerton books with Victoria Hamilton playing both roles