Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
Just as the title suggests, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story focuses solely on Queen Charlotte – her past and present, everything in between, and perhaps even her future with her and King George’s bloodline in peril. It begins with her betrothal to the King of England, alongside questions surrounding her skin colour and being stuck in a marriage with a man she has yet to know. Then it slips into their wedding day: the clichéd meet-cute of her trying to escape and him finding her anyway at just the right moment in time. Their entire exchange just goes to show that not every beginning is easy when it comes to love and marriage; there will be fights, miscommunications and misgivings, especially when royals are involved. As for present-day Charlotte, she berates her children for not giving her a legitimate heir: “Virgins to the left of me, whores to the right,” she exclaims about her ageing daughters and promiscuous sons.
India Amarteifio embodies the outstanding role that Golda Rosheuvel initially built in the main Bridgerton series. The two are nearly identical in the way they speak, their mannerisms, ticks, wit and sharp tongues. The abrupt transition from past and present isn’t so disorienting because viewers can see traces of both actors in the character. In essence, Charlotte is the star of the show, and the visuals showcase this through symmetry, keeping her in the centre frame almost at all times, and making her point of view the main perspective the audience follows in terms of camerawork. The series also has a strong element of women supporting women, from Agatha teaching Charlotte about sex to the present-day dynamic between Agatha, Charlotte and Violet.
The series is beautifully shot, using lots of natural light; glasses, windows and candlelight also help accentuate blinding rays and warm colour. The filter shifts between the dazzling vibrance of the past and the cold and grey present – a typical technique seen in the likes of 13 Reasons Why and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. One of the most poignant choices made in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is in the sound mixing and score: the fast-paced and dramatic music drums up tension and comedy, while the erratic classical sound highlights the hectic routine of Charlotte’s life, post-marriage. Finally, incorporating modern pop songs like Halo by Beyoncé, reframed as arrangements for traditional orchestral instruments, accentuates that although the ideas are loosely based on historical figures, the story is very much modern in every aspect other than its time period.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is released on Netflix on 4th May 2023.
Watch the trailer for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story here: