Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story: Is the Period Drama Based on Real Life?

Image Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

Netflix’s ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ is a period romance drama series created by Shonda Rhimes. Serving as a prequel to ‘Bridgerton,’ it follows the story of a young Queen Charlotte, exploring her love story with King George III. It begins with Charlotte leaving her house and family in Germany and moving to England to wed George at seventeen years of age. In a completely new country and all by herself, Charlotte has to figure out whom she can trust and how to consolidate her position as the new queen. Due to the historical nature of the series, you might wonder if the show takes elements from true historical events.

Blending Fact and Fiction in Queen Charlotte

‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ is a reimagining of the real Queen Charlotte’s life. The show takes many creative liberties by adding and removing characters and imagining several conversations and details about the lives of the king and queen. However, it does so by sticking relatively close to historical facts so that even in fiction, there is always a glimpse of the truth.

Image Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix

As shown in the series, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz came to England and wed King George III in 1761 to become the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. The couple remained married for fifty-seven years and had fifteen children, of which thirteen made it to adulthood. At first, Charlotte didn’t know about the King’s mental illness and didn’t discover it until much later. Much like we see in the show, she remained by her husband’s side until the very end, even when his condition deteriorated over time, until their son George IV stepped in as the regent.

The Netflix series incorporates details like Charlotte’s love for art and music, her discovery of a young Mozart, her interest in botany, and the fact that she introduced the Christmas tree to Britain. In the show, when George and Charlotte are married, he gives her Buckingham House as a gift, much like it happened in real life. The couple had St. James’ Palace as their official residence, and the King preferred their house in Kew. The real-life George III also enjoyed living a simpler life, as opposed to the grand and royal life his title offered.

The show incorporates real-life characters like Princess Dowager Augusta, Lord Bute, and Charlotte’s brother Adolphus. The detail of Charlotte having “Moor blood” is also slipped in, and the fact that she is Black is also borrowed from what some historians believe. Historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom, who dedicated himself to studying Queen Charlotte’s lineage, revealed signs pointing towards the Queen’s race. He found that she was a descendant of the Portuguese royal family, from the line of Alfonso III and his mistress, Ouruana.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia; Queen Charlotte’s portrait by Allan Ramsay

Cocom found descriptions of Queen Charlotte that described her as “small and crooked, with a true mulatto face” with a “nose too wide and her lips too thick.” In her portraits, she appears light-skinned, and the show acknowledges this detail in the scene where Charlotte demands the portrait be made dark-skinned like she actually is, but her mother-in-law tells the painter to make her skin tone lighter.

The one significant thing that the show does differently from real life is showing how Queen Charlotte’s arrival changed the tide and brought titles and equal rights for her black subjects. This was a conscious decision made by the creators of Bridgerton, who wanted to show a more assimilated society in the Regency era, where people of color held the same position and power as their white counterparts. To explore that further, Shonda Rhimes decided to dig deeper into Charlotte’s life, calling her “outsized, very glamorous, [someone who] held herself above everyone.”

While love is a huge part of Charlotte and George’s story, Rhimes considers the show “more than a romance story.” “It’s a story about a woman coming into her own; it’s a story about friendships, about power, about politics. I think there’s a lot about her that feels like women today and what happens when they become successful … It was exciting to me to go backward and figure out how she got to be this amazing, powerful woman,” she said. Considering all this, we can say that ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgeton Story’ is a mix of reality and fiction.

Read More: Where is Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story Filmed?