Bridgerton Star Bessie Carter Has Two Legendary Actors For Parents

It turns out Bessie Carter, who plays Prudence Featherington on Bridgerton, is even more noble than we thought! Find out which legendary actors Bessie calls Mum and Dad.

By Daniel Trainor May 02, 2022 9:30 PMTags

We knew Prudence Featherington was regal—but Hollywood royalty, too?!

Bessie Carter, who plays Prudence on the hit Netflix drama, is the daughter of two of the most respected actors in the industry. Her father is Jim Carter, who played Mr. Carson on Downton Abbey, and her mother is Imelda Staunton, the Oscar-nominated actress who played Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films.

Jim and Imelda, who wed in 1983, appeared alongside Bessie in the BBC series Cranford in 2007. Jim played Captain Brown, Imelda played Miss Octavia Pole and Bessie was the maid.

Bessie, who got her big break on Bridgerton, has also appeared on the BBC television series Howards End. 

Jim earned four Emmy nominations for his work on Downton Abbey and reprised the role in the 2019 feature films Downton Abbey and this year's Downton Abbey: A New Era. His film credits include Shakespeare in Love, My Week With Marilyn and Ella Enchanted.

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 Imelda, who earned a Best Actress nomination for Vera Drake in 2005, has also appeared in Nanny McPhee and Sense and Sensibility.

It's no surprise that Bessie was bitten by the acting bug early.

"I remember doing my first school play when I was 5," she told 1883 Magazine. "Well, I don't remember it. You remember photographs, don't you? I remember a photograph of me playing a little angel in the year one play. After that, I did drama whenever I could. The first time that I actually remember being like, 'Oh, this is the thing I want to do for the rest of my life' was when I was 11. I played Henry VIII in year six in a musical called Henry the Tudor Dude."

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At the start of her acting journey, Bessie said her parents were instrumental.

"That was a time before my parents were as successful as they are now. They were just jobbing actors," she said. "My mom hadn't done Vera Drake, which was the film that set her into a different sort of realm of what jobs she would and would not do. Downton [Abbey] didn't come along for a few years after that. I only knew acting as a job my parents did. It was nothing else other than that's what they do. That's how it became the thing I enjoy the most in the world."

Bridgerton is available to stream now on Netflix.

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