'Bridgerton' star Regé-Jean Page says he was only ever due to appear in first season

Watch: Fans upset as Regé-Jean Page bows out of Bridgerton

Bridgerton fans have been inconsolable in the last few days, after it was revealed that breakout star Regé-Jean Page will not feature in the second season of the Netflix hit.

The show announced the news with an Instagram message, sparking an outpouring of grief from fans of the 31-year-old actor and his portrayal of Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings.

Read more: Twitter reacts as Regé-Jean Page hosts SNL

But Page himself told Variety that he always knew his role would only be for a single season and that it played into his decision to take the job.

He said: "[I thought] ‘that’s interesting’, because then it felt like a limited series. I get to come in, I get to contribute my bit and then the Bridgerton family rolls on.”

The books on which Bridgerton is based are each focused around a different sibling within the family, with the story of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset covered in The Duke and I — the first of the series.

Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings in 'Bridgerton'. (Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)
Regé-Jean Page as the Duke of Hastings in 'Bridgerton'. (Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Page added: "I have nothing but excitement for Bridgerton continuing to steam train off and conquer the globe.

"But there is also value in completing these arcs and sticking the landing.”

Page said his own farewell to fans with an Instagram post in which he referred to the role as "the ride of a life time" and added: "It’s been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to be your Duke."

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Among those mourning Page's departure from the show was Kim Kardashian, who has made no secret on social media of how much she adores Bridgerton.

She commented on the show's Instagram in disbelief, before reposting the announcement to her own Instagram story with the caption: "I'm NOT ok!!!!! What is happening!!??? How can this be?"

Bridgerton is one of Netflix's biggest ever hits, with the streamer claiming that more than 63 million accounts accessed the show during its first month on release.

Sales of Julia Quinn's novels duly increased as well, with a second season due to focus on Jonathan Bailey's eldest Bridgerton son — Anthony.

Read more: Why are we so obsessed with period dramas like Bridgerton?

For Page, meanwhile, attention will turn to the persistent rumours that he is being lined up to replace Daniel Craig as the new James Bond.

Page has welcomed the rumours, describing Bond speculation as being like a "merit badge" for British actors who do something well-received.

He added: "I’m very glad to have the badge, I’m very glad to be in the company of such people who have the badge, but it’s just a badge."

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