India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest make Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story what it is—a beautiful piece of work unlike its other titles, which have been ruling Netflix.
Last Updated: 09.58 AM, May 07, 2023
In this prequel set in the Bridgerton-verse, the young Queen Charlotte's marriage to King George sparked both a magnificent love story and a cultural revolution, resulting in the world of the Ton that the Bridgerton characters inherited.
A writer's struggle to meet the deadline is sometimes taken as lazy work. However, writing a piece, especially a critique, is often published late due to the process of taking in everything that you witnessed and analysing it thoroughly. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is one of those titles with which I am still coming to terms, knowing that I watched something so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time.
This Bridgerton-verse prequel tells the story of how the young Queen's marriage to King George sparked a passionate love story and a social revolution, creating the Ton world that the characters in Bridgerton inherited. The series centres on Queen Charlotte's rise to popularity and power and tells how her marriage to King George sparked both of these events.
The series starts with a quick wedding, where the couple meet each other for the first time just a few minutes before walking down the aisle. The first episode shows that on the day of her wedding to King George (Corey Mylchreest), young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) reluctantly travels to London, where she will be under the watchful eye of the monarch's astute mother (Michelle Fairley).
From the very start, we are fed over the fact that England is getting its first black queen, although with no mention of her race. However, the dialogues are stuffed by mentioning she is the first of her kind, citing that there have been only "white" monarchs until then. Even the reason behind having her betrothed to King George has subtle underlying racism.
We know there has been a King George in history, but Lady Whistledown, voiced by the magnificent Julie Andrews, mentions it right at the beginning, telling us to take this series just as a piece of entertainment and not a chapter from your school textbook. She is heard saying, "This is the story of Queen Charlotte from Bridgerton. It is not a history lesson; it is fiction inspired by fact. All liberties taken by the author are quite intentional. Enjoy."
Well, the intentions are quite clear and totally pure, as the six episodes are just quite intriguing, and you will not know when you have a minimal smile or tears roll down your face.
We believe that a film or series about mental illness released even 15 years ago was far ahead of its time. Queen Charlotte takes a similar road with utmost sensitivity. Thus, it makes the Netflix series novel, and it is so strongly touched on that it is worth watching for this reason alone.
One of the initial palpable moments comes in the final sequence of the third episode, where the revelation makes its way about King George and the reaction from Charlotte, beautifully portrayed by India, instils goosebumps instantly.
The fourth episode is from King George's narrative, wherein we see his struggles to keep himself composed to serve his monarchical duties. We see how there wasn't any honeymoon bliss with Charlotte and why staying in an observatory is a priority over residing in Buckingham Palace. Titled Holding the King, the episode thus comes as a surprise as we see the repeated sequences from the first three episodes. However, every story has two sides, and George's side is equally important because a man's weakness is not considered important, making his life hell.
If the first three episodes reek of frustration between the couple, the rest of the three make up for it by transitioning into a beautiful love story that the world deserves to know. When it's George and Charlotte, they only need each other's eyes to forget the world. That's how she teaches him to step into the real world, assuring him that she will never leave his side.
India and Corey make Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story what it is—a beautiful piece of work unlike its other titles, which have been ruling Netflix since its inception. In six episodes, Shonda Rhimes shows that with sensitivity and an amazing screenplay, a great show can be made despite being cut from the same cloth.
Of course, it's a Bridgerton story; sex comes right at the beginning with actions, mentions (even on paper with graphics), and even "garden blooming" dialogues. It's an incomplete show otherwise, right?
Along with knowing the real story of Queen Charlotte, we are taken ahead into the Regency era with Lady Danbury (Adjoah Andoh) and Lady Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell). Well, this time we are not bombarded with potential suitors for the young generation (we have a third season coming up), but with companionship as one grows older and loses their partner. On the one hand, we see Charlotte and George unable to keep their hands off each other; on the other, we see young Agatha Danbury (Arsema Thomas), who loses her husband due to old age and desires companionship. However, we know her fate, which is quite similar to what Violet Bridgerton faces after becoming a widow.
There's a constant mention of the Great Experiment throughout the series, which talks about making Queen Charlotte, who was all of 17, get married to King George. Then we see a push to get the lineage right, and we see Charlotte having a dozen children thereafter. This leads to a dire issue in the future when her son George's wife dies during childbirth, which gets everyone worried about the future of the British empire.
Like said earlier, India and Corey steal the show in their own way with their outbursts of emotion from the word go. Talking about India, she is like a curious cat in the series, discovering everything one by one, and it's too much information to handle. We see Charlotte receiving (explicit) training from Agatha, much like Regé-Jean Page as Simon Basset explains to Phoebe Dynevor as Daphne Bridgerton about her sexual urge. The scene between the two female actors sealing their friendship with righteousness is outstanding. From India to Golda Rosheuvel, the casting of Queen Charlotte is impeccable, and that's what makes the series most special.
Corey as King George also shines by showing himself as a man dealing with mental issues. There's no moment where we see the actor flinching while portraying this complex and vulnerable character, and he got deep into it effortlessly. Never judge anyone or believe anything in a good or bad way, and the path to discovering his character is suspenseful, and Corey keeps one on the hook throughout.
Arsema's portrayal of Agatha's younger self is equally impressive as Adjoah's portrayal of the fierce Lady Danbury. The actor is too good, and she is perfect casting too. Her sequences, especially the face-off with King George's mother, Augusta, played by Michelle, are to watch out for. We have seen the latter as Caityln Stark in the Game of Thrones series, and like in the HBO show, she is a no-nonsense Queen Mother in this one too.
In a beautiful scene, King George tells Queen Charlotte, "I have met a woman who is never terrified. Who does as she pleases. Breaks rules, courts scandal, and commits unthinkable impertinences. And she is the most royal person I have ever known."
I think that sums up the series the right way, and the "great experiment" of a spin-off has indeed turned fruitful!
With melodious and soothing music composed by Kris Bowers and episodes helmed by Tom Verica, do give Queen Charlotte a watch because it's the best Bridgerton story.