Ladies of London is back for a third season full of posh putdowns and drama from across the pond. To be honest, this peek into the upper echelons of British high society is one of my all-time favorite shows on Bravo, so I am beyond thrilled it's back on my TV screen. In the Season 3 premiere, we get reacquainted with what the Ladies are up to as battle lines are clearly drawn between queen bee Caroline Stanbury and Viscountess Julie Montagu and Marissa Hermer confronts a life-or-death pregnancy. Read on for a full recap of all the very posh, British drama...
The season premiere opens on Mapperton, the family estate that Julie Montagu and her husband Luke recently took over from his parents, (you know, the Earl and Countess of Sandwich). In case you need a reminder, Julie grew up as a regular Midwestern girl in Illinois before moving to London, marrying into a royal family and basically becoming a real-life American version of Cinderella. To say that Mapperton is an enormous responsibility cannot be understated, and Julie is feeling the pressure as the outsider that could destroy the centuries-old legacy of her husband's aristocratic family. But in the meantime, she's reveling in her status as a veritable American Kate Middleton.
Meanwhile, Caroline Stanbury and her sister-in-law Sophie Stanbury (who's been upgraded to full-time cast member this season) are lounging in bed, recovering from the raucous blowout Caroline's husband threw for her 40th birthday the previous night. Important question: why was this not on camera?? What I would've given to be a fly on the wall of the queen bee's lavish party. Quite a bit has changed for both Stanburys - Caroline is still transitioning from closing down her business, Gift Library, next season and is now prepping for her family's imminent move to Dubai and Sophie is in the midst of divorcing from Caroline's brother Alex. It turns out the free-wheeling party animal persona we saw from Sophie last season was a way of coping with the disintegration of her marriage off-camera. I'm incredibly glad to see Sophie promoted to a main cast member this year to replace departing OG Annabelle Neilson. However, one thing she and Caroline don't see eye to eye on is Jules - with Sophie claiming the queen bee is feeling threatened by her burgeoning friendship with the American viscountess.
In the closing moments of Season 2, we learned that Marissa Hermer had become pregnant with a baby girl since the Ladies had wrapped filming. Cut to seven months later and the American ex-pat is dealing with a life-risking pregnancy and is giving birth to her daughter two months earlier than expected. The prospect of bleeding out and dying is utterly terrifying to Marissa and her dashing British husband Matt, who are also the parents of two little boys. While Matt anxiously paces the waiting room, Marissa is admitted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital for an emergency delivery and hysterectomy. Thankfully, after an arduous surgery, Marissa gives birth to baby Sadie and both emerge healthy and happy, much to Matt's relief and joy.
Since Caroline Stanbury and her family are relocating to Dubai for her husband Cem Habib's new job opportunity, they've rented out their palatial Surrey estate and are temporarily moving into a rental home. To help unpack as she obviously supervises, Caroline's enlisted the help of her trusty sidekick/makeup artist Luke Henderson and pal Adela King, who serves as this season's Friend of the Ladies. Caroline describes her longtime friend as "bright, sparkly, big boobs, big everything" and immediately I love her. Naturally, the topic of conversation at hand is Caroline's tension with Julie.
At the same time, Julie is having a walk-and-talk with Sophie about precisely the same thing. Sophie lets slip that Caroline cautioned her to be wary of Jules, and even used the word "dangerous" to describe the American's reputation as the "Loose Lips" of the group. This accusation obviously doesn't sit well with Julie, who is furious at Caroline for gossiping behind her back and trying to attack her personal brand. In her confessional, the viscountess surmises that perhaps Caroline is just jealous that she has one thing all the queen bee's money and aristocratic lineage can't buy in London society: a title. Do my ears deceive me or was that a burn I just heard from Lady Hinchingbrooke? Your move, Caroline...
The Ladies (sans Marissa, who's still in the hospital) come together for the first time at, of all things, a celebratory girls' luncheon meant to distract Sophie from her divorce. Or is it a ladies who lunch-style party to celebrate the divorce? I'm not really sure, but Caroline Fleming is there soaking up the sunshine and trying not to worry about her ill father back in Denmark. Julie's decided she doesn't want to confront Caroline Stanbury about her comments, but oops...Sophie's already told Caroline and the queen bee is ready for combat.
With Juliet Angus the last to arrive (a solid 35 minutes into the episode), the showdown is on. First Caroline Stanbury accuses Sophie of flip-flopping between her and Julie and urges her sister-in-law to "grow a pair of balls" and pick a side. Sophie openly admits to telling Jules that Caroline called her "dangerous." Julie takes offense to such an inflammatory label, but the queen bee clarifies that the American is simply untrustworthy and manipulative. Better? When the viscountess turns the conversation back around by claiming that Caroline might just be jealous of her budding friendship with Sophie, Juliet jumps into the fray - accusing Julie of "plowing through" her friendships with the other Ladies.
Caroline warns Julie that badmouthing her to Sophie is a classic case of not knowing your audience. After all, the Stanbury sisters-in-law are family and will always back each other up...right? Julie surmises that this spontaneous gang-up by Caroline and Juliet is an attempt to recreate last season by making her break down in tears. However, this year there will be no more crying, except for by poor Sophie, who feels terrible by starting this whole argument by trying to mediate and keep the peace. As Julie puts an abrupt end to the conflict by graciously exiting the party, Caroline proclaims "mission failed" to her retreating foe. Turns out the queen bee really was expecting Julie to cry and explains that she's not being a cruel bully by calling her out; her frenemy is, simply, a crybaby. The battle of the divorce party may have been a draw, but something tells me this war across the Atlantic is far from over.
What did you think of the Ladies of London premiere? Are you Team Caroline or Team Julie? Should Sophie pick a side? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!