Before watching a period drama, I am always intrigued to know the history of the era in which it is set, the background of the characters it focuses on and a little about the fashion, dialects and culture of the period. I did the same thing before I went on to lead the hit Netflix franchise series Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte. However, all the research seemed superfluous as the show began with a disclaimer, largely in the voice and accent of Bridgerton’s desirable and faceless Mrs. Wislidon (Julie Andrews). It says, “This is the story of Queen Charlotte of Bridgerton. It’s not a history lesson – it’s fiction inspired by fact. All liberties the author has taken are entirely intended. Enjoy.”

From this very moment on, you know you don’t need to know about Queen Charlotte or how this fictional Great Britain ended up having a black king anyway? You know that whatever you’re going to watch for the next six episodes is not to be taken too seriously, and most importantly, not as a “history lesson”. It is simply a fantasy show about a king and queen and their lush and extravagant subjects.

Just like the two seasons of Bridgerton, here too there are two central couples around whom the entire show revolves. This time the focus is on Queen Charlotte (India Amartivio) and King George III (Corey Melchrist), only unlike Daphne and Simon in Season 1, and Anthony and Kate in Season 2, Charlotte and George don’t choose each other. It is a marriage of convenience set up by George’s mother, Princess Augusta, and Charlotte’s brother Adolphus (Tonghi Kasim). 17-year-old Charlotte is “handed over” to King George III as part of a “great experiment” in which people of color are integrated into British society (thus explaining why an actor of color would be taken to portray the Queen of England).

(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLtnNw0KT78 (/embed)

This marriage of convenience begins with a sweet encounter between the two betrothed, which takes a tragic turn when the groom deserts the new bride on the wedding night. From here we serve the show’s central conflict: Why did George leave Charlotte? Does he have a mistress, or is he “a monster or a troll”? This conflict is just as interesting as the one between Daphne and Simon in Bridgerton season one. There is a lot of back and forth between Charlotte and George, and their chemistry keeps you occupied. Amarteifio and Mylchreest are fine actors and fill the shoes of their royal characters well while highlighting their vulnerabilities. Mylchreest gives the most honest performance as a king who is slow to descend into madness; It never made him melodramatic or uncomfortable.

Shonda Rhimes didn’t miss any of her usual bag of tricks for the period drama — elaborate costumes, lavish storylines, steamy romance, and plenty of sex. Although each episode runs well over an hour, the six episodes of Queen Charlotte: The Bridgerton Story fly as the creators fill the 18th-century setting with passion and heart. Also, you won’t miss Bridgerton balls here either.

Danbury young lady Young Lady Danbury was played by Arsima Thomas. (photo: bridgertonnetflix/Instagram)

Also, to serve Bridgerton’s obsession, we offer our services with the present Mrs. Danbury and Lady Bridgerton. Only this time, they didn’t focus on finding suitable partners for their royal heirs. Instead, they are aware of their need for companionship. When Lady Danbury validates Lady Bridgerton’s need for intimacy after her husband’s death by making her understand that love isn’t a thing for young people only, you root for her. And there’s plenty of reason to admire the younger Lady Danbury (Arsema Thomas), who worms her way into Buckingham Palace by becoming the Queen’s confidant, and informer to Princess Augusta with her sharp wit and ready wit. She also brings moments of comic relief when she confides in her maid Coral after each sexual act with her much older husband and their interactions are among the best throughout the show. Thomas plays the layers of her personality with utmost dexterity and proves just how great she is at her craft.

Unlike the two seasons of Bridgerton, the supporting cast does a lot more in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. The romance between the Queen’s men and the King’s right-hand men – Brimsley and Reynolds – gives the show some of its sweetest moments, and their sweet romance flows naturally. There is also a subplot involving Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton’s father, which gives expression to the blossoming love between two people regardless of age and race.

Cast Queen Charlotte Sam Klimt and Freddie Dennis in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. (photo: bridgertonnetflix/Instagram)

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story does a better job of engaging you in royal life and traveling back in time to the 18th century than Bridgerton. Now, I want a second season of Queen Charlotte instead of a third season of Bridgerton.


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