Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story lastly offers us an perception into each the secretive lifetime of Bridgerton’s Queen and the real-life historic determine Queen Charlotte. However how near historical past does the collection stick?
For the previous two seasons of Shonda Rhimes’ hit interval drama based mostly on Julia Quinn’s books, we have relied on hints of what occurs behind the palace partitions, with Golda Rosheuvel ruling the function of the extravagant monarch. However Netflix’s prequel collection lastly lets us climb over, as India Amarteifio takes on the duty of presenting Queen Charlotte’s youth, from her days as a German princess to how she turned Britain’s queen by marrying King George, this time performed by Corey Mylchreest. The six-episode restricted collection, which fulfils the Bridgerton universe’s quota of extravagant robes, glittering jewels, and sexual rigidity, invitations you to like what could also be Bridgerton’s finest love story but.
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Is Queen Charlotte based mostly on an actual queen? Completely. Regardless of the Netflix collection telling us within the opening moments that Queen Charlotte’s story “is just not a historical past lesson,” it is actually based mostly on the second-longest-serving consort in British historical past. “It’s fiction impressed by reality,” we’re advised. “All liberties taken by the writer are fairly intentional.” We couldn’t assist however need to know what number of liberties had been taken, so we have dug into the historical past books to get to know the actual Queen Charlotte past the display screen.
Who was Queen Charlotte and was she Britain’s first Black queen?
India Amarteifio as our Netflix Queen Charlotte.
Credit score: Liam Daniel/Netflix
In response to The Royal Family web site(opens in a brand new tab), the German royal Queen Charlotte was born Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the eighth little one and youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elizabeth Albertina of Saxe-Hildburghausen.
Because the youngest little one, Charlotte was educated(opens in a brand new tab) in topics reminiscent of botany and pure historical past in addition to conventional home issues girls had been anticipated to study on the time reminiscent of stitching. Nevertheless, it seems little or no was taught to her about politics earlier than she was 17 when it turned obvious she was going to marry King George III.
Regardless of Charlotte being born in Germany, Portuguese historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom has theorised(opens in a brand new tab) that she is a descendent of Margarita de Castro e Sousa, who was within the Black department of the Portuguese Royal Home. Valdes has related Margarita de Castro e Souza’s ancestry to the Thirteenth-century ruler Alfonso III and his lover Madragana(opens in a brand new tab), who Valdes believes was a Black girl.
Nevertheless despite the fact that Charlotte’s ties to Margarita de Castro e Sousa are actually a generally identified idea(opens in a brand new tab), her place as Britain’s first Black queen continues to be up for debate. Valdes, who studied portraits of Charlotte, has argued that she was mixed-race as a result of artists on the time had been advised to downplay her extra “African” options(opens in a brand new tab). Nevertheless, different historians reminiscent of Hakim Adi(opens in a brand new tab), a professor of the Historical past of Africa and the African Diaspora on the College of Chichester consider there’s little proof that Charlotte’s ancestor Madragana was Black. Adi advised Insider(opens in a brand new tab), “The proof is slender, to place it mildly,” and that it is determined by your definition of Blackness.
‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ evaluation: ‘Bridgerton’s finest love story has arrived
Regardless of the historic arguments about the actual Queen Charlotte’s ethnicity, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story doesn’t shuttle with the specifics on Charlotte and her brother’s ancestry. However the present brings her race to the forefront as younger Woman Danbury (Arsema Thomas) tells Queen Charlotte that she is the “first of your type.”
Historical past tells us we have now a lot to credit score Queen Charlotte for internet hosting the primary Debutante ball (opens in a brand new tab)the place single younger girls could be formally launched to the monarch, an occasion which acted as a prelude to the matchmaking season — as we have seen within the opening scenes of Bridgerton. In 1780, a Could ball was held by King George III in honour of his spouse, (opens in a brand new tab)to boost cash for the Basic Mendacity-in Hospital, which at present known as The Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital(opens in a brand new tab). The Could ball was so profitable that it turned an annual occasion at Buckingham Palace till the late Queen Elizabeth II cancelled it in 1958(opens in a brand new tab).
In response to The Unbiased(opens in a brand new tab), Charlotte is credited with bringing Christmas bushes to Britain, first adorning one at Queen’s Lodge, Windsor, in December 1800. In her German hometown Mecklenburg-Strelitz, it had been custom to adorn a single yew department within the parlour(opens in a brand new tab) however Charlotte determined to make a brand new custom in England by adorning the entire tree. It is a second we see within the Netflix collection as Charlotte notes their tree wants extra color.
What was the actual Queen Charlotte’s relationship like with King George III?
India Amarteifio as Queen Charlotte and Corey Mylchreest as King George.
Credit score: Liam Daniel/Netflix
One factor the Netflix collection didn’t take any liberties with was the pace of Charlotte and George’s marriage. Queen Charlotte and King George III married at 9 p.m(opens in a brand new tab)., simply six hours after Charlotte arrived in England, and had been married till Charlotte died in 1818.
Charlotte married George when she was 17 and he was 22. Whereas evidently the brand new king’s journey to discovering a spouse was fast, it truly took him a 12 months. Marriage was one among George’s precedence when he ascended the throne in 1760, and Princess Charlotte appeared like the apparent alternative(opens in a brand new tab) as she was Protestant and never the royal of a serious nation lowering the chance of any political rigidity, they deemed her an appropriate and secure match. It’s on this method Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story stays fairly near the reality on their journey down the aisle — though we don’t know whether or not the actual Charlotte tried to climb over the palace wall. In July 1761, King George introduced he was planning to marry Charlotte(opens in a brand new tab), a month later the wedding contract was signed, and a month after that the 2 had been wed on Sept. 8 within the Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace, that means the couple by no means noticed one another till their marriage ceremony day.
One other facet of Charlotte and George’s relationship that Queen Charlotte sticks with is how King George suffered from psychological sickness(opens in a brand new tab) that might see him dubbed “the mad king”(opens in a brand new tab) or “Farmer George”(opens in a brand new tab) — a nickname the Netflix prequel references. In response to the Royal Family(opens in a brand new tab), the king’s well being points had been stored a secret from his spouse in 1765. Nevertheless, in 1788 his well being worsened, finally being deemed unfit to rule(opens in a brand new tab), and this precipitated a problem between Charlotte and her eldest son, the Prince of Wales, about who ought to assume the function of regent. The Regency Invoice of 1765 said that Charlotte would turn into regent if the king turned completely unable to rule. Nevertheless, the beginning of their son had difficult the legislation with a brand new inheritor, and the Prince of Wales was declared regent, a job that later turned everlasting as George IV.
Credit score: Liam Daniel/Netflix
As depicted within the Netflix collection, George’s psychological sickness precipitated difficulties for the couple’s relationship, significantly when George was declared completely “mad” and it led to him staying predominantly at Kew Gardens(opens in a brand new tab). Netflix’s Queen Charlotte depicts this within the remaining episode, as we see Charlotte visiting George at Kew with the information of their new child grandchild. Whereas within the present Charlotte sticks by him, the Historic Royal Palaces web site(opens in a brand new tab) reviews that the actual Queen Charlotte struggled with the “manic behaviours” related to George’s sickness, inflicting the couple to guide separate lives till Charlotte’s demise in 1818(opens in a brand new tab) very similar to we see in Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte.
Little is understood in regards to the couple’s relationship earlier than residing their lives individually. Nevertheless, in accordance with The Royal Family web site(opens in a brand new tab), Charlotte and George are to be credited for buying Buckingham Palace (then Buckingham Home). St James’s Palace was listed as their official residence however George bought the property for the couple to maneuver into in 1762 and this was the place Charlotte gave beginning to 14 of their kids.
Queen Charlotte additionally bought the now notorious Frogmore Home in 1792(opens in a brand new tab), the residence within the grounds of Windsor Citadel in Berkshire that Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex owned as their UK base till requested to vacate it(opens in a brand new tab) in March. Frogmore Home performed a key half in celebrating King George III’s Golden Jubilee in 1809(opens in a brand new tab) because it hosted quite a few festivities together with “fireworks, illuminations, and a sublime supper.(opens in a brand new tab)” Frogmore was additionally a rustic retreat for Charlotte and her single daughters.
Like we see within the collection, George’s time at Kew Palace was crammed with nineteenth century therapies for psychological sickness. He underwent leechings and medicinal baths (opens in a brand new tab)below the guise of the royal household’s chosen physician. In Queen Charlotte, the physician known as Dr Monro (performed by Man Henry), however King George’s actual physician was Dr Francis Willis, whose therapies historian Amanda Foreman described to the BBC’s Historical past Further(opens in a brand new tab): “The therapies utilized to the king lowered him to a childlike determine. If he turned manic or overexcited, he was positioned in a straitjacket (his “hated waistcoat”). He was denied a knife and fork at mealtimes, which meant a lot of what he ate was gentle nursery meals that might be eaten with a spoon or palms. The king wasn’t even allowed out of the home by himself and needed to earn privileges reminiscent of seeing his household or utilizing cutlery.”
Did Queen Charlotte have 13 kids and what occurred to them?
Charlotte and George’s first little one, the Prince of Wales, later King George IV(opens in a brand new tab), was born virtually a 12 months after they married on August 12, 1762. Whereas within the Bridgerton collection we solely meet Queen Charlotte and King George III’s nephew, Prince Friedrich of Prussia (one among Daphne Bridgerton’s suitors, performed by Freddie Stroma), and study of Ameilia’s demise via a heartbreaking scene in Season 1, during which the Queen has to re-break the information to George as a result of he doesn’t keep in mind and it finally ends up with him shouting that Charlotte has “killed my little one.” Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story tells us a bit extra in regards to the many kids Charlotte and George had.
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in “Bridgerton” Season 1.
Credit score: Liam Daniel/Netflix
Regardless of the collection specializing in Charlotte’s 13 kids, she truly gave beginning to fifteen kids in 21 years. Princes Octavius and Alfred died from smallpox as toddlers(opens in a brand new tab) that means solely 13 made it to maturity, together with Amelia who died at 27 from tuberculosis. The remaining kids had been: George, Prince of Wales; Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany; Prince William IV, Duke of Clarence; Charlotte, Princess Royal; Prince Edward, Duke of Kent; Princess Augusta Sophia; Princess Elizabeth; Prince Ernest, Duke of Cumberland; Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex; Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge; Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester; and Princess Sophia.
In contrast to their mother and father, love and heirs didn’t come straightforward to Charlotte and George’s kids, as up till 1817 there was just one reliable grandchild born, Princess Charlotte, and he or she died throughout childbirth(opens in a brand new tab) to a stillborn son. As in Queen Charlotte, this resulted in a “child race” that as our Netflix Queen Charlotte places it so eloquently advised her kids it’s “time to commerce within the mistresses for respectable wives.” Up till 1817, plenty of Charlotte’s kids, together with the longer term King George IV(opens in a brand new tab), had many mistresses resulting in illegitimate kids. Earlier than being married to Princess Adelaide, William had 10 illegitimate kids(opens in a brand new tab), most of whom he had with actor Dorothea Jordan(opens in a brand new tab) — within the Netflix collection, Queen Charlotte tells her son, “She is an actress. Break it off and discover a appropriate girl.”
The actual Queen Charlotte did finally get her grandchildren, which included the second longest reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.
It’s clear that whereas taking liberties with its historic accuracy, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story does stick with the foundations of fact for Netflix Queen Charlotte’s story. However keep in mind, it is “not a historical past lesson.”
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now obtainable to stream on Netflix.(opens in a brand new tab)