Netflix and production company Shondaland broke the news on Friday in an Instagram post styled like a society paper from Lady Whistledown.
“Dear Readers, while all eyes turn to Lord Anthony Bridgerton’s quest to find a Viscountess, we bid adieu to Regé-Jean Page, who so triumphantly played the Duke of Hastings,” the message begins.
"We'll miss Simon's presence onscreen, but he will always be a part of the Bridgerton family," it continues. "Daphne will remain a devoted wife and sister, helping her brother navigate the upcoming social season and what it has to offer – more intrigue and romance than my readers may be able to bear."
The news won't come as a huge shock to fans of the original Bridgerton novels given that Page's character, the Duke of Hastings, only features prominently in Julia Quinn's first book.
After news of his departure broke, Page told Variety that he knew all along that he was only being hired for the first season. He recalled being told by the show's producers: "It’s a one-season arc. It’s going to have a beginning, middle, end – give us a year."
Page also said the Duke's one-season arc was appealing to him because "then it felt like a limited series" from his point of view. "I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on," he added.
Still, some Bridgerton fans haven't reacted quite so sanguinely to news of his departure. One tweeted: "Regé-jean page quiting bridgerton just doesn’t make sense with my fantasy, I’m devastated."
Bridgerton was officially renewed for a second season in January, and production on the new episodes began in March. As for the Duke of Hastings, well, we'll always have the memories.