You don’t have to change to be loved.
When Anthony was courting Edwina, it was clear she was falling in love with a version of him that didn’t actually exist—because around her, he worked hard to come across as what he believed a viscount should be. But it was Kate who always got the unfiltered version of him—the man who was temperamental, easy to rile up, overprotective, and deeply passionate—and she fell head over heels for him just the same. Similarly, Kate never felt the need to change (despite the fact that others in the Ton sometimes found her overbearing and too fiery) simply because she didn’t see herself as a viable option—and in the end, it was she who completely consumed Anthony’s heart.
You can’t control who you love.
Anthony believed wholeheartedly that love was something that could be controlled. He believed he could simply turn off his feelings and choose the person who seemed to be the best fit for him (in his opinion, anyway). He never wanted to have feelings for Kate and constantly fought against them, even going so far as to propose to her sister out of desperation. But in the end, Anthony realized that emotions aren’t so easily turned off—and Kate learned a similar lesson as she fought her feelings for her sister’s sake. We all know how that turned out!
Someone can be everything you want on paper but not actually be what you want.
Early on in the season, Anthony rattled off his requirements for a wife to nearly everyone who would listen—he wanted someone pretty, someone proper, someone who was beautiful and suitable for childbearing. He wanted them to be able to speak multiple languages and be a master of literature. He had the idea of the perfect woman and actually found it—in Edwina. But here’s the thing: Edwina measured up perfectly and still couldn’t capture his heart. It’s easy to set high standards and believe that anything less is settling, but love doesn’t work like that. In the end, we’re likely to fall for someone who actually doesn’t check all our boxes—and it won’t matter to us, because even though they won’t be the idealized person we thought we wanted, they’ll be the person we love most of all.
Don’t judge someone too quickly—because deep down, they may be exactly what you need.
Both Anthony and Kate both had a habit of judging each other a bit too quickly. Kate overheard Anthony explaining his requirements for a wife and immediately decided he was shallow, misogynistic, and vapid. Anthony saw the way Kate reacted when she was trying to protect her sister from him and considered her irritating, overbearing, and insolent. However, it isn’t until they get to know one another that they realize both of these misconceptions come from the fact that they both were acting on their shared sense of duty—Anthony to provide his family with a suitable woman to manage their affairs and Kate to protect her sister from the men who will hurt her and ensure a comfortable life for her (much like Anthony had with Daphne, in fact). Instead of being the opposites they immediately assumed they were, they were actually kindred spirits—it was just difficult to see that when they had different goals in mind.
Love should challenge you—and change you for the better.
When Daphne said Anthony needed someone to challenge him, she had a point—not only because he personally found thrill in the challenge, but because he needed someone to really make him reconsider his values and his perceived duties. That’s what Kate did for him—she tore apart his more misogynistic thoughts, made him realize his feelings of obligation were making everyone miserable, and made him reconsider what he really wanted out of life. She didn’t just intellectually challenge him, she made him question everything he thought he knew to align himself with the person he wanted to be—a person like his father.
You deserve to be someone’s first choice.
Okay hear me out: It’s easy to think of Kate as the second choice when Anthony got together with her after his doomed wedding with Edwina. But despite courting her sister first, it’s clear that Kate always takes precedence in his mind. When the Sharmas arrive at Aubrey Hall, he approaches Kate first (much to Daphne’s confusion), and throughout the season, he constantly seeks her out and admits that she’s the one he can’t stop thinking about. It’s clear from an emotional standpoint, Edwina was always second place for him—a fact Kate can’t wrap her mind around, even when he proposes to her (which she believes he’s doing out of obligation). It isn’t until he confesses to her at the end that she realizes she was always his first choice—and it’s only then that she allows herself to choose him, too.
If you want true love, you can’t be afraid to go after what you want.
After Anthony and Edwina’s doomed wedding, Anthony tells Kate, “Your sister is braver and wiser than us both. She had the courage to act on what she sensed between us. And here we are, standing perfectly still, having felt it for months.” Look, both Kate and Anthony knew they wanted each other. It was never a question about what they felt. But they constantly put roadblocks in their own path, self-sabotaging what could be a beautiful relationship because they felt they didn’t deserve what they truly wanted. Instead of just acting on their feelings, they constantly torture themselves over it—until finally, at the end, they finally allow themselves to be happy. Never be afraid to go after what you want—because that’s where happiness can be found.
And you can’t let the fear of losing love stop you from truly loving.
Due to the sudden death of his father (and seeing how the grief completely destroyed his mother), Anthony is determined never to put himself in the same situation by taking love out of the equation altogether. Anthony believes that by avoiding love, he can avoid the heartbreak that often goes hand-in-hand with it. While it can be tempting to protect ourselves from the hurt we believe is inevitable, what do we lose in the process? Is it worth never experiencing true love? The very best things in life are worth the risk—because as Violet Bridgerton told Anthony, if given the chance, she would choose to love her husband all over again, even knowing the heartbreak she would later endure. Life will never be devoid of pain, so don’t ruin your chances by making it devoid of true happiness, too.