Minor spoilers under.
Fashionable audiences fell in love with the regency period when the Shonda Rhimes-produced royal romance collection Bridgerton premiered on Netflix in 2020. Whereas the collection has largely targeted on the titular Bridgerton household and their numerous romances, it’s the commandeering Queen Charlotte, performed by Golda Rosheuvel, who’s getting her personal spin-off prequel.
The brand new Netflix miniseries Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story chronicles the lifetime of the monarch, performed in adolescence by India Amarteifio, as she reluctantly marries King George III and later rises to energy.
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However in contrast to the unique collection which is essentially an act of fiction, Queen Charlotte has some footing in actuality—she and husband King George III had been actual royal figures in British historical past in the course of the 18th century. Should you’re curious simply how a lot of the brand new collection is pulled from actual life, learn on.
Queen Charlotte was a lot much less headstrong in actual life.
Within the Netflix spin-off, our introduction to a younger Queen Charlotte is in a stagecoach on the best way to fulfill the person that might change into her future husband, and Charlotte is sad with the entire ordeal. Charlotte’s brother is dealing with her courtship as a result of passing of her mother and father, and the long run queen is placing her foot down about another person deciding her future. She opposes the organized marriage a lot that Charlotte even makes an attempt to run away proper earlier than the marriage. She is caught by the charming King George, whom she is straight away smitten with as he sweet-talks her and convinces her to remain.
In actual life, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was short-listed as a potential spouse for the brand new king primarily based solely on her nice and “sweet-tempered” character—a far cry from the depiction we see within the Bridgerton spin-off. The couple was married in 1761, simply six hours after their first assembly. She had a reportedly sheltered upbringing with a subpar schooling and a distance from royal life, regardless of being born in proximity to royalty (her father and brother had been German dukes and her mom a princess). Upon first assembly King George III, it’s believed that she threw herself at his toes as a present of deference and nerves.
Their marriage produced many youngsters and potential heirs.
When Rosheuval seems within the Netflix spin-off, she’s ushering her brood of bratty youngsters right into a room to lecture them about offering her a worthy inheritor. Her greatest plight is that none of her sons have produced a authentic inheritor, selecting as a substitute to sleep round and have illicit affairs.
In actual life, she birthed 15 youngsters together with her husband King George III—together with the long run inheritor King George IV. However the fictional Charlotte’s considerations are possible actual: the long run king led an extravagant life and failed to supply an inheritor for the throne (his brother William IV ultimately succeeded him).
13 of Charlotte and George’s youngsters lived to maturity, whereas two died from smallpox. Their deaths affected the queen, who “cried vastly” within the aftermath in accordance with her son’s nanny. Being pregnant for such lengthy stretches of her life additionally took a toll on the younger queen. In accordance with Janice Hadlow’s biography The Strangest Household: The Non-public Lives of George III, Queen Charlotte and Havarians, Charlotte wrote, “I don’t suppose a prisoner might want extra ardently for his liberty than I want to be rid of my burden and see the top of my marketing campaign. I might be pleased if I knew this was the final time,” whereas pregnant together with her 14th little one, Prince Albert.
Queen Charlotte could have had Black ancestors.
Bridgerton made headlines by casting Black actors in royal positions, together with Rosheuvel (who’s of Guyanese descent) because the queen. That casting—and that of half-Ghanaian Amarteifio in Queen Charlotte—could not have been removed from the reality. In accordance with Historical past Further and historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom, Charlotte “could have been England’s first (and to date, solely) queen of African heritage.” Her family tree is believed so far again to a Black Portuguese noblewoman from the fifteenth century, Margarita de Castro y Sousa. Valdes’s analysis factors to her physician’s notes, which “sometimes used racially pejorative phrases to explain her options” and portraits through which her pores and skin tone is darker than is customized for that point interval.
Valdes’s claims aren’t with out their detractors: some discover that the period of time (9 generations price) between the 2 ladies washes away any connection, whereas others consider that Valdes was incorrect about Margarita’s ethnicity altogether.
Queen Charlotte was really hooked on “snuff.”
In Bridgerton, the queen can typically be discovered brazenly snorting a powdered substance throughout her conferences together with her courtroom. That wasn’t pure comedy; the actual queen allegedly had a complete room at Windsor Fortress allotted for her snuff and is alleged to have amassed 90 snuff containers by the point of her dying. It’s no shock she additionally earned the nickname “Snuffy Charlotte” from her habit.
Her husband King George III did undergo a debilitating sickness.
On the finish of season 2 of Bridgerton, followers lastly gained perception into the king’s whereabouts, as he had been notably absent on the collection so far. When he makes his debut, the king appears to be struggling a protracted sickness, showing confused and irritable. The Queen Charlotte prequel additionally hints at a mysterious sickness when the younger king collapses in extreme ache on the finish of the second episode. The miniseries goes on to discover George’s psychological well being struggles because the story unfolds.
The collection isn’t too far off from actuality: King George III started publicly exhibiting signs of psychological sickness in 1788, although he reportedly had his first personal bout of sickness in 1765, which was stored a secret from Charlotte. Historians have since speculated that he suffered from porphyria, a blood dysfunction that impacts the nervous system.
Upon its reemergence in 1788, their as soon as affectionate marriage turned sinister as George was typically violent in the direction of his spouse whereas additionally falsely accusing her of adultery. George went as far as to bodily assault his son, the Prince of Wales, earlier than he was put in a straightjacket. Charlotte typically hid from him regardless of being his guardian and with the king unfit to rule, she was compelled to are inclined to political dealings. Charlotte initially didn’t enable her son to take the throne throughout George’s sickness, resulting in a years-long estrangement with him.
Charlotte cared for George, whose sickness robbed him of his reminiscence, till her dying in 1818. George died a 12 months later and the 2 had been laid to relaxation beside one another.
Radhika Menon is a contract leisure author, with a concentrate on TV and movie. Her writing may be discovered on Vulture, Teen Vogue, Bustle, and extra.