Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story has finally dropped on Netflix and the Bridgerton universe just became much more exciting.

Starring India Amarteifio as a young Queen Charlotte and Golda Rosheuvel as her older self, the series goes back and forth in time to contrast the queen’s early and later days serving as a notorious royal. If you loved the salacious twists and turns of Bridgerton, then this Shonda Rhimes prequel will satisfy you.  

A young Charlotte is betrothed into the Royal British family and is “the first of her kind” to marry into the family. Within that small statement, there is so much to unpack. It is the first biracial romance to occur in this timeline as Charlotte, a Black woman, is married to King George III, played by Corey Mylchreest. The series explores her rise into the British royal family and “The Great Experiment” in which Black people are integrated into the all-white aristocracy. This is also where we see the rise of Lady Danbury.

Charlotte represents Black female royalty in a way that has not been seen on screen before. At the very beginning of the series, Charlotte meets her soon-to-be mother-in-law, who is surprised at how she is “very brown.” A key element of this series is how race impacts the Bridgerton society.

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While this series is fictional, it is inspired by the real-life George, who reigned as the king of England from 1760 to 1820, and Charlotte. Bridgerton’s George is interestingly similar to the real George in that they both suffered from challenging mental health issues.  

This series is a bit darker than what fans have previously seen in Bridgerton, since it highlights a king’s mental struggles and hard-hitting topics like racism within the royal family. But there are still plenty of lighthearted and comedic moments. 

Rosheuvel shines with her hilarious one-liners like “Virgins to the left of me, whores to the right,” and “Sorrows, sorrows, prayers.” 

The wigs, costumes and spicy scenes are all there. The show is also incredibly timely considering the conversations that have sparked about royalty and race since Meghan Markle married into the royal family in 2018.

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As they say, heavy is the head that wears the crown, and what we see in this Bridgerton story is a more human version of the queen. Charlotte becomes more known as vulnerable and fragile, especially when she is confronted with the reality of her husband’s mental illness and what it entails to care for someone in that state.

Queen Charlotte explores the intricacies of race, gender roles, marital duties, female sexuality and mental illness during a period where these subjects are not typically depicted. 

The beauty of Queen Charlotte is that Shonda Rhimes creates a world and characters that are completely fictional, but that expand our vision and ideas of what is possible for society. One could even say that this six-episode prequel depicts what the British royal family could have been if there had been more inclusivity during the Regency era.