Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) may not be a lead character in "Bridgerton," but she frequently steals the show with her wisdom and wry wit. In season two, the cane-wielding countess tries her best to mentor Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), who is caught in a love triangle with Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and her little sister, Edwina (Charithra Chandran).
Although Lady Danbury's "Bridgerton" storylines typically see her matchmaking another couple into existence, Andoh tells TODAY that she would love for the wealthy widow to have a love interest of her own.
"Of course I would," she said. "Just because you're over 40 doesn't mean that you don't still want a love interest in your life."
Based on Lady Danbury's personality, Andoh can easily imagine the rest of her character's life (love life included).
"I think the great thing about Lady Danbury is she has a real appetite for life — and appetite in all its areas," Andoh continued, "Whether it's a good cigarette, or a nice drink, or good food, or watching a game of sport, or having a dance, or getting a great new hat ... or having a sexy time with somebody who she's attracted to."
Season two of "Bridgerton" gives a glimpse into more of Lady Danbury's life, beyond her role as a meddler extraordinaire, when gives Kate a wake-up call about being a single woman in the Regency-era England.
“Just because you’re over 40 doesn’t mean that you don’t still want a love interest in your life.”
Kate looks up to Lady Danbury for making her own way in a world that is often restrictive for women.
But in a dose of real talk, Lady Danbury tells Kate that she’s only able to live so independently because she’s a high-ranking widow with a title, and has “earned the right” to make her own choices. According to Lady Danbury, the only way Kate can possibly become like her is if she decides to marry. Essentially, Kate can’t become a spinster and live calmly into the sunset, as she desires.
“(Kate) sees that Lady Danbury has made the success of her circumstances and that Lady Danbury is still in the game,” Andoh said about Kate. “Because sometimes if you push too hard you will just be pushed out of the game. And by that, I mean, the game of life.”
Even though Kate admires Lady Danbury's lifestyle, the fiery characters clash while trying to find Edwina a husband. In the process, Kate ignores her own feelings for Anthony Bridgerton, Edwina's suitor, leading to sexual tension and a destructive love triangle.
"I think Kate butts heads with Lady Danbury from a genuinely good-hearted place. But she is anxious to secure her younger sister's future and she's doing it in an incredibly selfless way because she's absolutely sidelined any notion of what she may have as a future," Andoh said about Kate putting her feelings for Anthony on the sidelines.
For Lady Danbury, Kate is creating a mess out of what should be a straightforward situation. The Sharmas are Lady Danbury’s guests for the season, invited with the express purpose of finding Edwina a match.
"She gets that Kate wants to do best by her sister, but (she's like), 'Shut up, because I have been doing this for many years,” Andoh said.
Lady Danbury has matchmaking down to a science, as she demonstrated when bringing Daphne Bridgerton together with Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, in season one. Kate, as becomes evident, is not as skilled.
"I know who, where, why, when, what, how we do it, when to blow hot, when to blow cool, and Kate's just coming in full in. It's like, you're coming in full in, you're a stranger," she said, of Lady Danbury's perspective. "You're living on my dollar. So just back off and let me support you because we're both wanting the same things. We want to secure a good future for her sister."
Andoh said that even though the two sometimes don't get along, Lady Danbury still admires Kate. She sees echoes of herself in the "Bridgerton" newcomer. "Lady Danbury also sees that hot, young element of herself in Kate when she was making her way in the world," she said.
Lady Danbury eventually must leave to Kate make her own fumbles — just as Andoh does with her own children.
"It's the thing I do with my kids. You want to go, 'Honestly, darling, don't do that.' At a certain point, you have to go, 'Do you know what? They're going to make their own mistakes because that is how we are,'" Andoh said.
Only through Lady Danbury taking a backseat can Kate learn her lesson — a fact of life, for Andoh. "Even though the people who love you want to keep your feet out of the fire and stop you from falling under the bus, at a certain point, you maybe have to get burned once to understand that it's hot, and you need to avoid it," she added.
Still, the road to a resolution is messy, and Lady Danbury bears witness to one of its most climactic moments. At her wedding to Anthony, Edwina realizes that her to-be-husband loved her sister, Kate, all along. She ends up calling off the wedding at the aisle, a bold move that made Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton didn't anticipate from the seemingly demure young lady.
After bringing Edwina and Anthony closer together the whole season, the two widows couldn't help but throw their heads back and laugh at how their efforts turned out.
Andoh said that moment was very important because Lady Danbury finally found herself "at a loss." That isn't something that happens often.
"She says, 'For the first time in my life, I don’t know what to do,'" Andoh said. "That’s a big confession from Lady Danbury. (Lady Bridgerton) is somebody she feels safe to make the confession with."
“Sometimes, you’re either going to laugh or you’re going to cry. So you might as well laugh."
"It’s like, I’m out of ideas now. So all they can do is laugh and they do and then once they start, they’re hysterical," she continued. "Sometimes, you’re either going to laugh or you’re going to cry. So you might as well laugh," Andoh added.
After successfully bringing yet another happy couple to the aisle, Lady Danbury's time in "Bridgerton" is not over. As the other six Bridgerton siblings embark on quests for love in future seasons (including the confirmed third season), they'll certainly need guidance and gentle nudges, as Daphne and Anthony did.
In fact, Lady Danbury will one day be related to her friend Lady Bridgerton through marriage. Her grandson Gareth figures into Hyacinth's love story. If you just can't wait, read Quinn's book "It's in His Kiss." Lady Danbury won't tell, and neither will we.