Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton story is an easily bingeable limited series which serves as the perfect filler before the third season comes out!
After two successful seasons of Bridgerton, where we saw Daphne and the Duke of Hastings fall head over heels for each other in season 1 and Kate Sharma become Anthony Brigerton’s bane of existence in season 2, a prequel series was bound to be made. While the youngsters in Bridgerton took the limelight with their swoon worthy romance so far, it was still undeniably true that the pillar of the two seasons were Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Violet Bridgerton. The ones who took charge in their households and knocked sense into people when needed. As an audience I was always curious to know what they must be like at an young age, what their stories looked like. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story dives deep into exactly that and their journeys as women who refused to be looked at merely as objects of reproduction.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is based on the books by Julia Quinn and is created by Shonda Rhimes. The story seamlessly goes back and forth between two timelines. One is 1814 where none of Queen Charlotte’s 13 children are able to produce an heir for the throne, putting the monarchy and their position in crisis. And the second is 1761, where a much younger Charlotte (India Amarteifio) is sent off to marry the King and bear the burden that comes with being a Queen overnight. Bridgerton love stories have a charm of their own but the story of Charlotte and George (Corey Mylchreest) was like no other. His severe mental health issues that she was initially unaware of made their marriage a path of eggshells to walk on. His mother’s (Michelle Fairley) constant denial of his condition and the constant interference in their marriage added to their vulnerability even more.
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There was George, the King, who had to live for the happiness or misery of his great nation but then there was just George, who loved astronomy, farming, and most importantly his wife Charlotte. His way of showing love is staying away from her, trying all sorts of tortuous therapies to cure his illness so he and Charlotte could maybe have a normal life together. But at the end of day, she was his ultimate cure, a sight to his sore eyes and the one who calmed him down the most. She was kept in the dark about his secret for the longest time but once she knew about it, she could’ve easily hated her destiny but instead she held his hand and loved him unconditionally. They were a team and always had each other’s back.
On the other hand, Brimsley (Hugh Sachs) and Reynolds (Freddie Dennis), the Queen and King’s right hand men, have a unique yet heartwarming relationship of their own. They’re in love with each other but duty always comes first. Both of them care deeply for the monarchs they serve and are always five paces behind them. They played a rather important role in bringing the King and Queen together when their marriage was serving the test of time.
I know the story is supposed to be about Queen Charlotte and King George’s love story, but to me it was more about the women taking charge and slowly forming a matriarchy. Lady Danbury (Arsema Thomas) wins my respect out of all. From having to deal with a husband twice her age, a disinteresting sex life and all whilst making sure her race gets an equal seat at the table is no piece of cake. She is fierce both in her younger and older avatar. Meanwhile the very proper and poised Violet Bridgerton (Connie Jenkins-Greig) that we’ve always seen was not always about making babies and getting her kids married. As a young adult, she had a mind of her own, she loved reading, exploring new things and also back answered her very racist mother. Now we all know where Eloise gets her wits from. But the older version of her is going through loneliness and feels guilty for wanting to have sex with someone new. As she likes to put it, her husband was the only one who has ever bloomed her garden and it hasn’t bloomed for a while since his death. But her fellow widow friend, Lady Danbury normalises her feelings of wanting to bloom again. There were two ladies truly living in an era way ahead of their times.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is a troubled love story but also checks all the boxes for the quintessential romantic things we see in the Bridgerton world. Graceful balls, classic renditions of modern day songs, larger than life costumes and sets. The background music though often reminded me of The Crown and this was in many ways just like that. Case in point – terms like “head of the church” or “Buckingham House”. While 6 episodes does seem like the right amount of episodes for a limited series like this, the last episode was an hour and a half long which is as long as a movie and did feel unnecessarily dragged out. But it also leaves you teary eyed to see Charlotte still frozen in time and waiting for the same love of her life who stopped her from climbing that wall.
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