There were plenty of romantic moments in the newest season of Bridgerton (even though I maintain the couple didn’t get as much screen time as they deserved). But while everyone is caught up on some of the steamier scenes (such as Anthony’s “You’re the bane of my existence and object of all my desires” speech), there are a lot of quieter, more subtle moments between the couple that have gone largely overlooked.
One particular scene? Anthony’s proposal.
No, not that proposal—I know you’re probably thinking about when Anthony gets down on one knee for Edwina when Kate is right there. I’m talking about Anthony’s initial proposal to Kate after she nearly dies in a riding accident. While it may have seemed unromantic and a little too formal to be considered a great love declaration, there are a lot of small nuances that actually make it one of the most romantic scenes from the show—because it’s not about lust, it’s about love.
First of all, I think it’s important to remember that Anthony actually showed up. This scene came soon after he told his mother he didn’t think he could see Kate because the thought of losing her had been unbearable. After losing his father, Anthony was terrified of the heartbreak and grief of losing another loved one, and because of that he preferred to simply never love at all.
And even still, he showed up.
The fact that he was there proved that Anthony was actually in it with Kate. He decided his want to be with her outweighed his fear of his own pain—the same pain that controlled his actions all season. Kate couldn’t understand the significance of it because she was never given that insight into his trauma, which is part of the reason why it was so easy for her to dismiss it.
But Anthony’s bravery in the face of his trauma was far from the only significant thing about his proposal. As some eagle-eyed TikTokers pointed out, Anthony brought Kate tulips—the same flower that Violet Bridgerton was embroidering for Daphne’s wedding dress because they symbolized passion, and the same flower Violet said Anthony might like for his future bride someday. It’s also a nod to a scene in the book where Anthony picks a tulip in the garden for Kate because he doesn’t think it’s fair that Edwina is the one who receives all the flowers from others—one of the first instances of Anthony choosing Kate.
Basically, though Anthony’s proposal may have seemed a little dry, the tulip was a sign that it was fueled not by obligation but by passion and the fact that this was him choosing Kate—not because he felt he had to, but because he wanted to.
Which brings me to my next point: The reason Kate thought he was proposing out of obligation was merely because she interpreted his words incorrectly.
Before he asks Kate to marry him, Anthony references sleeping with her in the garden and how he regretted his choice. “You deserved so much more than that,” he tells her. “I took liberties… I did not want it to happen like that, so I came to apologize and to ask you to marry me.”
It’s easy to see why Kate might assume he’s simply proposing out of obligation because they had premarital sex. But this is actually a nod to a scene in the book, where Anthony has to hold himself back from ravishing Kate in the garden at Aubrey Hall not because he doesn’t want to be with her but because he knows she deserves a more respectable first time (in a bed, perhaps). Show Anthony is frustrated at himself for not showing restraint and waiting for the proper time because by that point, he knows he loves her and he knows he wants to be with her. He simply feels he disrespected the person who he respects the most.
Which is part of the reason he’s so hurt when Kate turns him down and insists she’s still planning to return to India. If he were proposing merely out of obligation, he might be relieved, but instead he accuses her of running away—the way he knew he was running away before he realized his feelings were undeniable. And perhaps that’s why there’s so much hurt in his tone—to him, there is no running away anymore. He knows Kate is what he wants and he can’t pretend otherwise.
So while Anthony’s proposal scene may not feel quite as poetic as his love confession at the very end of the season, there is a lot more to it than it seems—and the proof of his love and devotion is in the very smallest details.