Of Bridgerton’s version of England, that is. During “Tudum”, Netflix dropped a teaser for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a limited series depicting the romance between young King George III and then-Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg. The teaser is a scene depicting their meet cute as Princess Charlotte attempts to climb a garden wall to escape the king, whom she fears is “a beast”. The king is not a beast, in fact, and is played as his younger self by the dashingly handsome Corey Mylchreest (this is his first major role). In Bridgerton, we are used to seeing Golda Rosheuvel, but here we meet the princess played by India Amarteifio. Right away, I like how she captures the directness and blunt problem-solving of the Charlotte we know, who is not a subtle person. Of course, she would attempt to run away from an unwanted match over a garden wall. Charlotte doesn’t hold back.
Queen Charlotte will also introduce younger versions of Violet Bridgerton, nee Ledger, and Lady Danbury, but I am most interested to see Game of Thrones’ Michelle Fairley as Princess Augusta, the king’s elder sister. Horace Walpole described her as “lively, and much inclined to meddle in the private politics of the Court.” A gossip! Princess Augusta was running the Georgian gossip game (she also never got along with Charlotte). I’m also curious to see if the show foreshadows the tragedy coming for George and Charlotte. No matter how happily their marriage began, we know from Bridgerton (and history), that the reason the Regency is “the Regency” is because King George III goes mad, and the Prince of Wales rules in his stead. We’ve seen Charlotte and George interact in Bridgerton, affection remains, but the husband Charlotte married decades before is long gone.
But on a shallower note, THE CLOTHES. Queen Charlotte takes place in the Georgian era, or as it was known on the European continent, the Rococo era. Rococo clothes are AMAZING. It’s a maximalist’s paradise. Even in this clip, we can see the difference in dress, as George wears a lavender silk suit with silver embroidery. Rococo men DRESSED UP. Sure, they’ve done away with the silly wigs for this scene, but in that era, men were colorful, they were glamorous, they wore makeup and high heels. It was only after the French Revolution, particularly the Reign of Terror, that fashions turned plainer, and women abandoned stays and hoops and men started wearing dark suits and eschewing lace.
In fact, I have a bone to pick with the fashionistas criticizing Bridgerton for its anachronistic way of dressing Queen Charlotte and her courtiers, in Rococo-style gowns with hoops and big wigs. Queen Charlotte stuck to her style! The anachronism are the court dresses the debutantes wear to their presentations. Daphne, Eloise, and Penelope all turned up in Regency gowns with high waists and straight skirts. But until her death in 1818, Queen Charlotte dictated that court dress—which was an actual dress code—remained in the Rococo style, with hooped skirts. Everyone is right that you wouldn’t wear a laced-up corset under a Regency dress (the Regency was a brief respite from restrictive undergarments, the Empire gowns required at most the much-less restrictive half-corset), but court dress remained in the fashions of Charlotte’s youth. Anyway, I am intrigued by young George and Charlotte, but I also cannot WAIT for Queen Charlotte’s costumes.