Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story (2023)
Creator: Shonda Rhimes
Cast: India Amarteifio, Adjoa Andoh, Michelle Fairley, Ruth Gemmell, Corey Mylchreest, Golda Rosheuvel, Arsema Thomas, Sam Clemmett, Freddie Dennis, Hugh Sachs, Julie Andrews (voice), Tunji Kasim
Betrothed against her will to King George, young Charlotte arrives in London on her wedding day and faces scrutiny from the monarch’s cunning mother. – IMDB
Queen Charlotte is a spin-off mini-series for the Bridgerton TV series which is adapted from the book series by Julia Quinn. While the main series focused on the ton of the society and the romances of the Bridgerton children, Queen Charlotte is a prequel and bridge to the next season about how Queen Charlotte and the palace became the way it is as well a glimpse of the origin story of Lady Danbury and the connection to Violet Bridgerton. It even adds a side story of the Queen’s secretary Brimsley and his little romance with the King’s man, Reynolds.
Its a great angle to take because the world of Bridgerton is not only fascinating for the steamy and attractive romances that the two Bridgerton children that we’ve witnessed so far but one of the things that I personally love are the characters of Lady Danbury and Queen Charlotte who are incredibly dynamic characters in their mature years in the present and now their origin story helps craft their characters further, not only giving some substance to the inner workings of the characters of the palace, answering those questions about why King George is the way he is and what his affliction is but also how Queen Charlotte has taken over with much of the ruling and responsibilities of the palace while also sharing how Lady Danbury got her title and her respect in the society. There’s some secrets and scandals along the way but intertwined it also reminds us that the present world is more than the Bridgerton children and the Palace also has its own issues with a much welcome Lady Whistledown narrating that bit as well.
Running at six episodes, Queen Charlotte is well-paced and in the heart of period films, provides wonderful outfits and hairstyles. Queen Charlotte herself sporting some of the truly beautiful ones as they are much less extravagant in her younger years but in the present, still having some creative ones in the mix. While this Bridgerton story is primarily drama and romance, there is a good deal of comedy in there. The present day scenes focus around Queen Charlotte trying to get her fifteen kids to finally settle down and give her another royal heir when Princess Charlotte unfortunately dies. The conversations she has in her encounters with her offsprings are done in a serious manner but harness a lot of comedic elements. Its probably one of the more entertaining parts of the mini-series especially when paired with Lady Danbury and Violet Bridgerton’s blooming friendship as Violet starts having new desires in her life that she isn’t quite sure what to do about.
The cast is relatively well selected. Queen Charlotte played by India Amarteifio in her younger days and still Golda Rosheuvel in the present day is a wonderful fit for the character. There is a true development in the character of a princess from Germany who ends up marrying to another country and trying to find her footing especially with a husband that sells her a beautiful relationship at the start but ends up leaving her alone. What happens to her soon crafts the Queen she chooses to become in order to hold up the responsibilities of the palace but still protect her husband when his delusions set in. From the start to the finish, its mostly about her merge into the status of Queen but also how she gained her respect and how her friendship with Lady Danbury solidifies. The young Lady Danbury also has a similar origin story but on a less fortunate spectrum and played very well by Arsema Thomas who essentially has her story show that she is the one that chooses to be alone because of her past.
Looking at the male cast, its sad to say that the romance of this one is rather well done and unique but King George’s character, despite his ailments is not quite as immersive. Its probably just the writing bit more female-centric that his character progresses in struggle and therapy for most of the series. Corey Mylchreest is a handsome and charming choice for the role. However, its definitely the Queen’s secretary Brimsley that truly stands out played rather well by Sam Clemmett. Brimsley may be the subordinate of the Queen but despite the initial rejection, he does remain very loyal and honest to her.
Overall, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is a decent mini-series. There does seem like a little bit of a perpetuity issue when looking at the present day since this Queen Charlotte isn’t what it seems but then, it feels like its deliberate to give her a different side because this time, most affairs of dealt with behind the palace doors as family matters which makes her re-evaluate herself as a mother. The series itself is rather binge-worthy but the whole series truly culminates for the touching final moments in the present which reflects the relationship through the years between her and King George despite how it always seems like she is waiting for her husband to pass away. It gives the audience a little bit extra to consider that maybe those emotions are much more complex. Its a welcome fun entry to bridge the wait until Season 3 of the series itself.