“Love can bloom from the thorniest of gardens” and so it did for Queen Charlotte and King George III. Their romance and the life of the young queen sets the premise for the tantalising Bridgerton prequel that is now one of Netflix’s most popular series. While the series might not be an exact representation of true events, the protagonist of the show is based on a real-life figure, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. Let us unfurl the true story behind Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
Devised by US producer Shonda Rhimes, Bridgerton won praise from the audience for its stellar cast, gripping plot, and striking aesthetics. Naturally, the expectations from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story were high as well, and it turned out to be everything fans had hoped for and more. The series stars India Artemafio as the Young Queen Charlotte in the show. Here’s what you need to know about the real Queen Charlotte née Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Who was Queen Charlotte?
Born on 19 May 1744, Charlotte was the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Germany). Princess Charlotte was just 17 years old when King George III, aged 22 at that time, announced to his council, his intention of marrying her. The espousal took place on 17 August 1761, within six hours of her arrival to the country and the King’s coronation took place on 22 September of the same year.
Thereafter, on 12 August 1762, the Queen gave birth to her first child, the future King George IV. The couple went on to have 14 other children. Though initially, the alliance between Charlotte and George III was politically motivated, the couple went on to have a loving relationship. Actors India Artemafio and Corey Mylchreest, who play the young queen and king, portray this beautifully.
From fulfilling her child-bearing responsibility to becoming an accomplished interior decorator, Queen Charlotte became a shining light in her own right. While English was not her first language, she learnt to speak it quickly after arriving in England. Two of the Royal family’s favourite retreats, a lodge in Windsor Estate and a cottage in Kew Gardens are said to have been constructed under her creative supervision.
She also purchased the Frogmore House in Windsor Park in 1792 as a country retreat. Interestingly, Frogmore played a key part in the celebration of King George III’s Golden Jubilee in 1809. Until recently, this cottage also served as the second home to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The Queen founded a number of orphanages as well. In fact, in 1809 she came became the Patron of the General Lying-in Hospital, which was later renamed The Queen’s Hospital, and is known as The Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital now.
The Netflix series beautifully captures the essence of the real Queen in this fictionalised version. The cast of this much-talked-about series portrays the journey of Charlotte from a princess to queen poignantly.
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Similarities and differences between the real Queen Charlotte and the Bridgerton prequel
The Netflix series has a few similarities when it comes to the portrayal of Queen Charlotte. For instance, Charlotte’s journey to England has been picturised quite aptly. The then Princess did make a journey to England with her brother after a few of the British royal representatives came to seek her in Mirow (a dukedom in Northern Germany).
The series also shows that Charlotte gets married to George III the same day (read within a few hours) she sets foot in England and this stands true. According to the royal family site, the wedding took place at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace on the same day, within a matter of six hours.
Apart from the fact, that Queen Charlotte was a person very much alive, the Queen (played by India Artemafio in the prequel and Golda Rosheuvel in Bridgerton seasons 1 and 2 respectively), was a woman of colour. In fact, there are several conspiracy theories in history that point out that Queen Charlotte did in fact have mixed racial heritage.
Coming to the differences, a greater part of the Netflix series has been fictionalised. From the meet-cute of the young King and Queen to the gossipy nature of the monarch, a plethora of scenes are fantastical in nature. For starters, showrunner Chris Van Dusen added Queen Charlotte’s character (played by Golda Rosheuvel in Bridgerton) to the romantic drama. The hit series Bridgerton which has been adapted from Julia Quinn’s book series has no mention of Queen Charlotte though she was very much present from 1761 to 1818. In fact, the director of prequel, Shonda Rhimes added Queen Charlotte to the alreday hit series.
While Queen Charlotte is receiving viewers’ love from all quarters, it may be interesting to note that this isn’t the last instalment in the Bridgerton series. Earlier this month, Netflix‘s global TV head Bela Bajaria confirmed that more Bridgerton projects are in development. Apart from the main series, and this spin-off, virtual reality experiences, a video game, and other in-person events are also in the works.
(Hero and Featured Images: Courtesy IMDb)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India