Netflix's "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story" takes streamers back to the "ton" and its world of advantageous matches and stolen glances. This time, the Shonda Rhimes-created series adds a twist.
While Julia Quinn’s romance novels inspire the past seasons, the new spinoff series, which debuts on May 4, pulls us into the story of the original “Bridgerton” recurring character, Queen Charlotte.
Previously played by actor Golda Rosheuvel, the Queen Charlotte of this semi-sequel/prequel winds back the clock to when the monarch was 17 years of age. Actor India Amarteifio stars as the young Charlotte in this story that follows her marriage to King George III (Corey Mylchreest).
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"Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story" blends fiction and history, leaving plenty of questions about the liberties the show's creators took while producing the series.
Below, find all of those questions about the series main character asked and answered.
Who was the real Queen Charlotte?
Queen Charlotte in "Bridgerton" is based on the real-life Charlotte, Queen Consort of Great Britain and Ireland.
Born Sophia Charlotte, the queen was born into nobility on May 19, 1744 far from the British Isles she would one day rule.
According to the British Royal Family's official website, Queen Charlotte was the daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg, Prince of Mirow and his wife Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen who reigned over Mecklenburg-Strelitz a north German dukedom.
Charlotte found herself on the path to queendom when she was 17 years old and her future husband, 22-year-old George III, ascended to the British throne in 1760. In 1761, after a long journey from her home in Germany, Charlotte arrived in England and married the new king within six hours of her arrival.
The queen ultimately became Britain’s longest-serving female consort and second to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the longest-serving consort in British history.
Did Queen Charlotte love King George?
In the latest Netflix series, Queen Charlotte and George III have a match made in enemies-to-lovers territory. Ultimately though, things turn for them. They go on to have 15 children.
In reality, the actual Queen Charlotte and George III, who were married for nearly 60 years, demonstrated a successful marriage by their era's standard: Their heirs. With 15 children in total, the queen and king secured their legacy, and they certainly proved seemed to love each other's company, at the very least in certain settings.
Martin Warren, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Kent and expert on George III’s mental health, told TODAY.com in an interview that some interpretations of history claim that the couple was not in love.
“As I understand it better, the king was very much in love with his wife. But if you read some of the more frightening approaches to history, it was claimed that (George III) had married one of the ugliest of the German-born, available Protestant princesses and that this actually exacerbated his condition because it affected his mental well-being,” he explains. “This, of course, is total nonsense because he produced (15) children with his wife.”
Still, if their 15 children aren't enough proof, a letter might seal the deal of their mutual affection. A correspondence from Queen Charlotte to George III, dated April 26, 1778, shows her writing to her husband with affection.
"How glad do I feel to know that You are pleased and enjoy good health a Board Your Yacht," she writes. "There is a pleasure in doing What is right to do, and You will have the benefit by Your voyages to put Spirit in every Body, to be more known by the World, and if Possible more beloved by the People in general. That must be the case, but not equal to the love of her who subscribes herself, Your very (affectionate) Friend and Wife Charlotte."
Was the real Queen Charlotte Black?
"Bridgerton" is set in a world where people of all races mingle in society's upper crust. "Queen Charlotte" is a prequel to that world, showing how George III's marriage to a Black woman laid the groundwork for it to be possible, calling their marriage "The Great Experiment."
In the spinoff, Queen Charlotte is a Black teen who slowly becomes aware of what her new status means for the ambitious people of color within her ranks, including the young Lady Agatha Danbury (Arsema Thomas).
Whether or not the real Queen Charlotte was Black or not has long been debated by history experts.
Depictions of the queen painted during her time have been a cornerstone of those questions of whether or not she was Black. Mario de Valdes y Cocom, a historian of the African diaspora, argued this in a 1997 article for PBS, pointing to a portrait of the queen painted in 1762 by Allan Ramsay.
“Artists of that period were expected to play down, soften or even obliterate undesirable features in a subject’s face," he writes. "(But) Sir Allan Ramsay was the artist responsible for the majority of the paintings of the queen, and his representations of her were the most decidedly African of all her portraits.”
According to Valdez, Queen Charlotte was a direct descendant of Margarita de Castro y Sousa, who came from a Black branch of the Portuguese monarchy. Valdez wrote that Queen Charlotte is also believed to be related to Martin Alfonso de Sousa Chichorro, the illegitimate son of King Alfonso of Portugal and a Moorish woman who was his mistress.