Advertisement

Who was Queen Charlotte? Bridgerton spin-off series focuses on British history

Bridgerton spin-off series Queen Charlotte was released on Netflix on May 4 and follows the story of King George III’s wife  (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)
Bridgerton spin-off series Queen Charlotte was released on Netflix on May 4 and follows the story of King George III’s wife (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

For Bridgerton fans desperate to dive back into the glittery and scandalous world of regency London, the day has finally arrived.

On Thursday, May 4, the new Bridgerton spin-off Queen Charlotte was released worldwide on Netflix, to tide us over until the main show’s third season is launched.

The six-part prequel follows the story of how young Charlotte came to marry King George III and become England’s longest-serving Queen consort. The show sees the pair meet (on their wedding day), then charts the highs and lows of their relationship, Charlotte’s prominence and power, as well as her attempts to matchmake her children.

While Bridgerton is obviously a work of fiction, Queen Charlotte was a real member of the Royal Family.

Who was Queen Charlotte?

India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)
India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Born Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz on 19 May 1744, Charlotte was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland as the wife of King George III from their marriage in 1761 until her death in 1818.

Born into the royal family of a north German vassal state, she was the youngest daughter of Duke Charles Louis Frederick of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elizabeth Albertina of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

When King George III of Britain succeeded to the throne in 1760, he was 22 and unmarried. As the then 17-year-old Charlotte was a minor German princess with no interest in politics, George considered her a suitable wife.

The couple married in 1761, six hours after Charlotte’s first arrival to the UK, who at the time spoke no English. The King instructed her shortly after their wedding “not to meddle” in politics.

While she did remain largely outside of politics, Charlotte had some discreet and indirect influence on political affairs through her husband. She used her closeness with the King to keep herself informed, made recommendations for offices and was particularly interested in German politics.

The marriage lasted 57 years and produced 15 children, 13 of whom survived to adulthood. They included two future British monarchs, George IV and William IV, as well as Charlotte, Princess Royal, who became Queen of Württemberg and Prince Ernest Augustus, who became King of Hanover.

Charlotte was also keenly interested in the arts and botany. She helped expand Kew Gardens and is credited with introducing the Christmas tree to Britain, after decorating one for a Christmas party for children from Windsor in 1800.

Is Queen Charlotte in the Bridgerton Books?

Cyril Nri as Lord Danbury, Arsema Thomas as Young Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)
Cyril Nri as Lord Danbury, Arsema Thomas as Young Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

While the original Bridgerton series is based on the acclaimed novel series by Julia Quinn, the new prequel spin-off series focusing on Queen Charlotte is not.

Queen Charlotte herself doesn’t actually appear in the novels, despite her key role in the first two seasons of the Bridgerton show.

However, Bridgerton producer Shonda Rhimes has teamed up with Quinn to write a new book, out on May 9, that ties Queen Charlotte’s story to the rest of the book series.

Who ruled after Queen Charlotte?

Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, James Fleet as King George (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte, James Fleet as King George (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

When Queen Charlotte died in 1818, her oldest son George had already been the Prince Regent for almost 7 years, acting for his father during the King’s mental illness.

The King died just over a year later, whereupon her son became King George IV.

Queen Charlotte is the longest-serving female consort and second-longest-serving consort in British history.