Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story: Mini-Series
May 6, 2023 9:13 AM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Young Queen Charlotte's marriage to King George of England sparks an epic love story and transforms high society in this "Bridgerton" universe prequel (Netflix).

posted by ltl (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm surprised nobody has commented.

I thought the show was, although less entertaining and frothy than Bridgerton, gorgeous and sumptuous visually, and I really appreciated that the focus of the show was on the women (and two gay men) because it allowed a focus on relative power (and powerlessness) in a way the main Bridgerton doesn't.

Although the focus was supposed to be on Charlotte and (younger) Agatha Danbury, I felt that they did a good job of showing that Princess Augusta was not two-dimensional (nor actually villainous), and by the end, as I reflected back on how (current — I refuse to say "old") Queen Charlotte is both similar to and different from Princess Augusta, as both a mother and a wife.

Knowing the relationship between Charlotte and Farmer George here calls to mind the few, but powerful, George III scenes in Bridgerton. I love James Fleet beyond measure, and don't feel that Corey Mylchreest is believable as the same human, physically, but it's a small quibble; still, while I understand why they saved Fleet until the very end, I really missed him because he softens Golda Roshuevel's Charlotte. (I've no problem with Mylchreest's performance; I just wish I'd felt more of a connection between the younger and older versions of George in the former's performance).

The heretofore unknown connection of Lady Danbury to Violet Bridgerton was unexpected, but was handled delicately. Violet couldn't have had that garden conversation with anyone else in her life, and Lady D handled it very much in character and yet you could see how much she would have liked to have someone (other than Coral) to share that part of her life with. Also, I don't know that I would have realized the vast difference in their ages as keenly had we not seen their younger versions.

Brimsly is always played for laughs in the main Bridgerton, so my heart ached for him near the end of Queen Charlotte, sadly dancing with a memory of Reynolds.

Other random thoughts:

--the show took a long time to get to the point. Yes, we know about George III's madness, but for those who know nothing of it, the audience must have been as confused as Charlotte's supposed to have been. That's an interesting approach, but it made for those first three episodes, especially with the flashbacks in episode 3, to be a little stultifying.

--I would have liked a little more characterization of Charlotte & George's adult children. (Speaking of children, tiny Lord Danbury was so adorable, I replayed his scenes over and over.)

--There's nothing to be done about Adolphus and Charlotte speaking with English accents, and I appreciated them at least having Charlotte call attention to the fact that she's speaking in a language not her own, but only Adolphus ever utters even a syllable in German, and I think had they done even a few exchanges on this, we would have felt even more of a tug of heartstrings for a 17yo in a land where even her own language is denied her.

I'm really hoping others have something to say about this because while it wasn't as delightful as the main show, it had a lovely flavor all its own.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 3:54 PM on May 7, 2023 [3 favorites]

We binged this over the weekend, and really enjoyed it. Probably even more than the main Bridgerton series. The two-timeline structure worked really well, as well as the re-telling of the first episodes from George's point of view in episode 4. The young cast was amazing.

Although this was billed as a limited series, apparently they haven't ruled out doing another season. I think the biggest unanswered question that I really wanted to see answered is what happened to Reynolds.
posted by jimw at 5:13 PM on May 8, 2023 [4 favorites]

I'm glad that someone has posted this. I didn't know this was coming -- just saw it when I opened Netflix last week and have binged it since.

I was a fan of Bridgerton and at first wasn't sure how interested I would be in this -- but in some ways I think it is stronger than the main series. The tone is a bit more serious while not losing the light touch -- and it manages to dimensionalize all the characters in a very interesting way. I particularly liked seeing how they showed other layers to Princess Augusta, who could so easily be just the difficult mother in law. Her words to Lady Danbury (the "I like having you as an adversary so PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER" scene) were very well done.

Young Charlotte and young Lady Danbury -- excellent performances. Also, Brimsley and Reynolds -- as someone who had hoped they would take the Benedict plot somewhere more queer -- I am glad they finally went there.

I have never been much of a reader of Regency romance but I am a fan of alternate history and appreciate how they are delivering the pleasures of the genre in a smart and well-produced way.
posted by profreader at 4:51 AM on May 9, 2023 [3 favorites]

I binged this last weekend, out of curiousity, and was (mostly) pleasantly surprised. Not a fan of Bridgerton, but the portrayal of the young King George's illness and Queen Charlotte's sensitive response caught my interest. I even went in search of a modern diagnosis of his problem -- no luck there.

It is a pretty and pleasant movie, touching on social issues and women's options of the day.

I was not a big fan of the "fight with a duke, marry him" plot in the original. I preferred the protect yourself, your husband, your family saga from various characters portrayed here.
posted by alwayson_slightlyoff at 2:11 AM on May 10, 2023

This definitely grew on me and gave me a lot of feelings I wasn't expecting. At first I really didn't care for the episode where we saw Charlotte's first days all over again, but from George's perspective, but the disorientation ultimately fit the story they were trying to tell. I didn't get much out of the present day storyline other than Violet and Lady Danbury's relationship. To me the only value of the "birth me an heir" storyline was bringing George and Charlotte together at the end to celebrate.

Loved Brimsley and Reynolds!! Oh my goodness though, that solo dance at the end...

All in all a good watch, very "in the world" of Bridgerton but a very different story.
posted by obfuscation at 10:43 AM on May 10, 2023 [1 favorite]

I definitely enjoyed this mini-series as a bit more serious departure for Bridgerton. I also really liked the focus on Lady Danbury and Violet Bridgerton.

I would like to know what happened between Reynolds and Brimsley, but my main wish at the end of the series was to see how Lady Danbury actually managed to pull her life together post marriage - she went from impoverished widow to grand dame of the Ton. That could be an entire series in itself.
posted by Julnyes at 11:14 AM on May 10, 2023

Maybe instead of another season of Queen Charlotte, they should be queuing up miniseries where Lady Danbury and Violet Ledger/Bridgerton are the titled character, but they can continue the stories of the others as the secondary stories.
posted by jimw at 9:35 PM on May 11, 2023

I found the treatment of George’s madness and their relationship so moving. Love can’t conquer all but they were able to unite and focus on maintaining that bond (and the monarchy) despite his condition. And the show didn’t shy away from the fact that she did it at the expense of their children. Charlotte’s sheer relief at the pregnancy that will result in Queen Victoria is palpable - the crown that she has maintained so vehemently will survive. And all of this with gorgeous clothing and scenery.

I definitely think they’ve set this up for another backstory focused on young Agatha and Violet.
posted by Sukey Says at 6:07 AM on May 13, 2023 [2 favorites]

Okay, I'm finally getting to this.

Episode One:
"Whales died so I could look like this." She's a very eye-rolly snarky sister when her brother comments that she hasn't moved. I CAN'T MOVE, SHE SNAPS. "I might be sliced and stabbed by my undergarments. How wonderful it is to be a lady." "Choosing to be killed by my undergarments." "I could most certainly bleed to death before we reach London." Charlotte reasonably smells a rat here. " I cannot make an enemy of the most powerful nation on earth," her brother snaps. "{There are worse fates than marrying the King of England."

Adult Queen: "It is treasonous to interrupt my beauty sleep...if I could still have people beheaded, you would be in the queue."

"Tell me about the King." "He is the King."
(me: eye-rolls to ceiling, would consider beheading.)

OH GOD IS THIS YOUNG LADY DANBURY AND HER HUSBAND BANGING HER?!?! Then taking his teeth out? Gee, how magnanimous of him to let her nap there. Lady D runs immediately to the bath instead, where she finds out she's got a new job...and new title, apparently.

LOL THE SMYTHE-SMITHS. (I read the books.)

This is quite a meet-cute to have the bride and groom meet while she's trying to climb a wall to escape from him. He is gorgeous, though. I think I love him. Until he's all "I'm going to live elsewhere" and I'm all, so he's gay then? Super awkward to have this conversation in front of a bunch of strange servants. (In that case, how'd they have 13 children?!)

Speaking of: that's a whole lot of layabout children that she had.
"Virgins to the left of me, whores to the right," HERE I AM, STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU. I need that song to play in classical instrumental, please. "I drew pictures. Are you sure he's putting it in the right place?" LOLOL FLASH FORWARD TO DAPHNE in my brain.

Um...is the dead Princess Royal Charlotte's kid? She seems...not at all grieving about this. Also, since when is a lowly woman heir to the throne when there are penises about? What am I missing here? In Shondaland, is primogeniture not A Thing too?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:30 PM on May 14, 2023 [1 favorite]

Episode 2: in which the Queen is embarrassed at it being honeymoon time without a groom, and she's a Great Experiment. And her husband's not going anywhere near her. AWKWARD.

Hello, gay servant sex time! Followed by "lying to the dowager queen" time." AWKWARD. (Wait, she's a "dowager princess?!")

"I'm completely alone, and you prefer the sky to me." AWKWARD.

Agatha's eyes rolling back in her head while duck noises go on is the most 'lie back and think of England" thing I have ever seen. "I was having tea, Coral! I was embroidering a pillow!"

IT'S A DOGGIE!!!! Er..."a deformed bunny."

Poor Brimsley, forced to (a) stalk the queen at all times, (b) with a dog. He does make himself useful with telling her how to do what she's not allowed to do, though.

"My husband is the best of husbands. He gave me this ... bunny thing."


"Love has produced over fifty illegitimate babies for the Crown." DAAAAAAMN. Wow, also adult Lady D is delighted that all her four children have moved FAR away.

Go Agatha to do some social blackmail.

George is really hot and seductive when he wants to be.

"I do not like the part where my head hits the wall over and over again. Is there a way to avoid that?" Also, a garment with a thousand buttons is a bad choice.

Ah, naked man-ass. Much enjoyed.

I also got a wee bit verklempt at poor Lord Danbury. Even Agatha's a bit touched.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:37 PM on May 14, 2023 [3 favorites]

jenfullmoon: Also, since when is a lowly woman heir to the throne when there are penises about? What am I missing here? In Shondaland, is primogeniture not A Thing too?

The succession stuff is actually just about the only thing historically accurate - the Princess Royal dying in childbirth DID cause a succession crisis, eventually resolved when the fourth son of Charlotte and George married and fathered Victoria, who would be the longest reining monarch until Queen Elizabeth.

Apparently the daughters of Charlotte and George were not exactly encouraged to marry and were expected to stay home and care for their parents.
posted by annathea at 5:51 AM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

Still confused: was Princess Royal someone's else's child, or Charlotte's, or what?
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:52 AM on May 15, 2023

Episode 3: We're calling that "riders" now? I feel like this conversation could have been had on Downton Abbey.

Meet little Violet pre-Bridgerton.

They let PoC into snooty English schools in this universe? Like, already?

Queen Charlotte had some dippy daughters, apparently. How come so few people wanted to marry royalty? Hmmm.

"He is a lying liar who lies" actually was said.

Oy, spite fucking. I feel sorry for all the people who have to stand there and watch/pretend they aren't watching this. SO WEIRD.

Wow, catty bitches dissing on Mozart.

Um, seriously, you had multiple dudes hanging around and getting paid to pick the queen's oranges AND DO NOTHING ELSE LIKE GARDEN?!

Well, good for the Danburys, even if that means sex again. These positions for her get worse and worse and then....I guess he died happy....????

So, when did she have four children, incidentally?

Wow, that is a LOT of excuses, Violet. I kinda think Lady D should have spelled out what "fortunate" meant earlier, like in the moment, but oh well, still sweet.

Maybe all the daughters are gay? No, they just won't abandon you, Brigsby says.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:54 PM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

Enjoyed this but generally disappointed and very surprised by how this show chose to portray mental illness.
posted by entropone at 2:48 PM on May 15, 2023

Episode 4: I'm not remotely an expert on mental illness in this time period, but if we really don't know how to deal with it very well now beyond 'hey, take some pills, hope they work, that's what we got," the people of the 1700's really had no effing idea what to do, what it was, anything. Literally any old fool could make up some poppycock. Sure, why not drown him and abuse him? That sounds as good as well...anything, y'know, like trepanation.

The story behind the dog is rather charming.

Yikes, having that conversation with a guy with a knife at your neck.

"The terror nearly broke me....I thought that terror was the price of being royal." Geez, was *that* what brought it on? Heavy stress and pressure from an early age?!

Good point on the knives and the windows. And now you know why you ended up with a pig in a poke.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:04 PM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

Episode 5: good lord, Agatha's parents groomed her to marry that guy, down to favorite foods and colors.

Oh, the Smythe-Smiths are also PoC in this world. Suspected but wasn't sure. Good points, folks.

Ooooh, the painting and the skin tone. Suddenly "explains a lot" about past portraits.

Ohhhhh, Violet's HORNY what with this um, garden talk. "I almost asked a footman to lie on top of me today." (Note the title of this episode.)

"Now Georgie, be a good boy and approve your brothers' marriages."

TV Tropes on this show.

Uh, yeah, doesn't she at least have to provide 2 children? Her job isn't "done" yet.

Reynolds, stoics frustrate EVERYONE.

"I want to be gardened as much as possible," hubba hubba.


"I'm not coming...inside." LOLOLOLOL GARDEN INDEED

How weird is it to be friends with your old lover's daughter? Hmmm.

Seriously don't get why sticking the king with hot pokers would cure...anything. I can't even with this.

I'm amused at the song going on as Agatha's finally...gardening. "Run The World (Girls)" was in the show I just did and I'm laughing.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:19 PM on May 15, 2023 [1 favorite]

I really enjoyed this series and also found it even more compelling than the main series. India Amarteifio was great and reminds me so much of a younger Tessa Thompson.

Maybe instead of another season of Queen Charlotte, they should be queuing up miniseries where Lady Danbury and Violet Ledger/Bridgerton are the titled character, but they can continue the stories of the others as the secondary stories.

I don't know about it in terms of Netflix development, but the author of the series (Julia Quinn) did a series of short stories about the after-marriage lives of the Bridgertons and one of these is the story of how Violet and Edmund got together called Violet in Bloom. I think it's reasonable to expect they'll spin that into a one-off series too and draw those connections together and I really hope they do.

The series are much more thoughtful and characters much more fleshed out than in the books. I got through three of the books before I just couldn't take the same formulaic story anymore.
posted by urbanlenny at 8:08 AM on May 16, 2023

Episode 6: someone please explain to me how a woman who wears the biggest of wigs finds the crown too heavy. Seems...equivalent?

Awwwwwww, TheyReallyDoLoveEachOther!

Wow, way to break up with a girl by bringing your daughter along.

"I do not remember names. I am female." *boggleboggle*

Good point about being rude to all your kids while one of them lost a daughter. And a bunch of miscarriages.

"Losing a husband is...inconvenient."


"He was vicious with Georgie. I had bruises as well. There were no other options."

They really needed to play an instrumental of "Shut Up And Dance" by Walk The Moon for this dance scene because they were basically quoting the lyrics from it :P

"Have more children" was your fatal mistake there, Adolphus. That said, kind of a shame, he seems nice.

Use of "I Will Always Love You" with the guys is sweet.

Foreshadowing, because how the heck would Victoria know she's having Queen Victoria right now. Also foreshadowing: (a) you sure got pregnant again mighty quick, (b) they definitely didn't know about laying off alcohol in the 1700's.

"No, George, I did not go over the wall." Awwwww.

I thought this was very well done.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:41 AM on May 18, 2023 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I side-eyed the "I won't be drinking" comment as well.
posted by obfuscation at 9:38 AM on May 18, 2023 [1 favorite]

(b) they definitely didn't know about laying off alcohol in the 1700's.

Hey, but in fairness they already used up the only other way to signal that someone is pregnant in a TV show or film (person admiring themselves in mirror, caressing stomach) so they pretty much had to go with the other possible option because there are literally no other ways to telegraph that, none whatsoever.
posted by urbanlenny at 4:59 PM on May 19, 2023 [3 favorites]

There is also the option of vomiting!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:18 PM on May 19, 2023 [3 favorites]

I'm two episodes in and not grabbed yet (although some of the comments above make it seem like there is better to come, so perhaps I'll continue).

A couple of things really bother me.

I assumed that Bridgerton occurred in some parallel universe in which everyone in England was multi-racial (and super hot) and no one cared because racism hadn't been invented and where is it written that a black guy can't be Lord Cho?

I kind of liked that.

I was disappointed that racism was alive and well and somewhat surprised that I'm supposed to believe that by sheer force of will it was erased/turned-down in a couple of generations. I liked my parallel-universe fantasy and I find the alternative hard to believe. You don't eliminate racism in people's minds by the queen being black and making lots of people who "look like her" lords and ladies.

Also, the portrayal of Danbury's husband is just... ugly. He looks like the worst sort of racist caricature of black men and I'm stunned that someone thought it was a good idea.

(I should point out here that I'm whiter than a Radiohead concert in Vermont, so I may well be missing some of the under-current here, but on the face of it...)

Compared to those two, my objection to the color palette seems fairly minor, but one thing I adored about Bridgerton was that it looked beautiful. Every frame was filled with color. This seems rather drab by comparison.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:49 AM on June 4, 2023 [2 favorites]

The color theme is clearly Lord Danbury's favorite color: gold!
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:05 PM on June 4, 2023 [1 favorite]

This was fabulous. Outstanding elements:

1. Young Charlotte played Current Charlotte to mind-blowing perfection. What a miracle of casting that they found an actress so physically like and so capable of portraying speech, facial expressions, mannerisms, and even posture so exactly as Current Charlotte! Plus she has acting chops for real. *chefkiss* I could not stop marvelling at India Amarteifio.

2. The writing was fabulous. Especially for the Young Charlotte/ Young Agatha timeline. (I was not a huge fan of the writing in the succession crisis storyline nor in the "gardening" subplot in the present day, alas.) Some great lines and amazing scenes. The meet cute, Farmer George named in the garden shouting for Venus, "deformed bunny", the Dowager Princess's masterful use of tautology and rhetoric in handling pesky courtiers and politicians ("he is the king") -- all of these SLAYED me. I marvel at how there are no lines of dialogue, not even manners of speaking , that can be interchanged between characters because the characterization is so sharp and distinct that one character's lines would sound wrong in anyone else's mouth. You cannot give the "whales died so I could look like this" lines to Young Agatha, it would never work. You cannot give the "I am not coming inside" line to Brimsley, because it would sound just kinda off coming from his lips. I cannot overstate the skill it takes to draw characters this well. Not even the two seasons of regular Bridgerton have quite managed this. It's a rare treat!

3. The storylines are for the most part dark and devastating, nothing like the fluffy fun of Bridgerton. I found myself physically unable to watch e.g. the rape scenes, or the torture scenes. I kind of hate the fact that this season was so brutal? But I give them props for making me feel this strongly about it.
posted by MiraK at 11:50 AM on March 30

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