Dearest readers, gather around for a new Bridgerton story, finally! While it’s not the continuation of Kanthony as many would like, it’s an exciting deep dive into the past of the headstrong and established monarch, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) and her love story for the ages. The spin-off, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, is here to capture our hearts the way the original series has, and it succeeds.
The clock rewinds, and we meet young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) as she is betrothed to King Geroge (Corey Mylchreest) and, shortly after, shipped off to England from Germany to become his Queen. For reasons unknown to her, she cannot meet the King himself and others around her withhold information about him, which is unsettling. Only when Charlotte is caught trying to scale a garden wall, and escape is when she meets her betrothed. They quickly fall into like with one another, but there is more to George than meets the eye, and Charlotte is due to find out. Young Agatha Danbury (Arsema Thomas) is also there from the start, first as the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, then gradually her friend, and is equipped with her own rich and as juicy a storyline as they can be.
Even with the three returning faces, Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), Adjoa Andoh (Lady Agatha Danbury) and Ruth Gemmell (Lady Violet Bridgerton), it’s all eyes on the young stars that take the lead in this prequel series. Amarteifo and Mylchreest’s on-screen chemistry is palpable almost instantaneously and is one of the strongest anchors of the show. Young Violet Bridgerton (Connie Jenkins-Greig) is also shown as a tooth-achingly sweet girl who is very much a daddy’s girl but has a clear mind of her own. Game of Thrones Michelle Fairley plays Princess Augusta, George’s mother, and Sam Clemmett is tapped in to play young Brimsley, the Queen’s right-hand man. And, of course, Julie Andrews is back to voice the ever-knowing Lady Whistledown. With this ensemble cast, there is more to discover and enjoy other than titular characters. Queen Charlotte contains six episodes with almost an hour runtime, with the finale being nearly 90 minutes. It allows for the pacing to be quick but still coherent and entertaining.
In Bridgerton, we are shown a reimagined Regency-era society that sees no colour. While it is groundbreaking, conversations were definitely had, and in this limited series, we see it all. For instance, Princess Augusta comments to some Lords after meeting Charlotte for the first time, stating that she is “very, very brown.” In contrast, in the main series, people of colour hold high positions, and there’s never any prejudice or snide remarks against someone based on their skin colour. These conversations surround something they call “The Great Experiment,” which is to try and unite countries and races alike. We get to see the first generation of Black British nobility pave the way and integrate into this new world with their titles and lands granted to them by King George, which builds the foundation for the ton we know and love in Bridgerton.
Bridgerton is nothing without its passionate love declarations from each season’s men. In the first season, we had Simon (Regé- Jean Page) getting all hot and bothered trying to tell Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) that he is hers and always has been and, of course, that he “burns” for her. In season 2, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) spoke those famous words to Kate (Simone Ashley) that are personally ingrained in my mind: “You are the bane of my existence and the object of all my desires.” So it’s only right that Shonda Rhimes, who is an executive producer but stepped up as the main writer for this show, ensured that the heart-aching scene between Charlotte and George, where true feelings are finally displayed, was included–and it’s well worth the wait.
Although Queen Charlotte follows the young queen navigating her way through British society as a monarch while still trying to keep her identity, however, the crux of the show is her romance with George and how it helps her evolve into the strong-willed powerhouse in Bridgerton. The series shines when displaying the complex romance. Even with the initial attraction established on both sides, it’s an angsty constant back and forth between them but has the core element of unconditional love. At the end of the day, they are fighting for one thing: each other.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story holds its own and understands the stories it set out to tell. It’s as effervescent, lavish, and romance-filled as one hopes a Bridgeton story will be. With stellar performances and dreamy instrumentals, this series will definitely satiate the cravings of Bridgerton fans.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story will be available to stream on Netflix starting May 4th.
by Kadija Osman
Kadija Osman is based in Toronto, Ontario and is currently completing her undergrad in journalism at Ryerson University. She enjoys writing about film and TV. When she isn’t watching Timothée Chalamet’s filmography, she is probably reading romance and thriller novels or ranting about the disappointing cancellation of E!’s The Royals. Her favourite films include Kingsman: The Secret Service, Lady Bird and Ready or Not. You can find her on Twitter: @kadijaosman_ and Letterboxd.
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