Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story arrived on Netflix on May 4, and has captivated audiences with its historical premise and connection to Bridgerton. The limited series serves as a prequel to Bridgerton, the smash hit romantic drama from Shonda Rhimes. The character was introduced in the Bridgerton TV series, but was not included in the original books by Julia Quinn. Queen Charlotte follows two versions of the Queen, a younger version from 1761 portrayed by India Amarteifio, and an older version from 1817 portrayed by Golda Rosheuvel (who originated the role in Bridgerton). The 1761 story explores Queen Charlotte’s early marriage to King George III (Corey Mylchreest), while the 1817 storyline sees the Queen’s attempts to find a royal heir after the death of Princess Charlotte.
The relationship between Queen Charlotte and King George, and the struggles that arose due to King George’s mental health, take center stage in the series. The show’s Queen Charlotte and King George are inspired by the real-life marriage of Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and King George III. Despite being based on real historical figures, Queen Charlotte is largely a work of fiction. It even opens with the disclaimer, “It is not a history lesson. It is fiction inspired by fact.” Still, viewers will be intrigued by both the historical and fictional relationship between these two powerful and royal figures.
Here’s what you need to know about the royal relationship in the miniseries and real-life.
How old was King George when he married Queen Charlotte?
Queen Charlotte and King George were married in 1761. In both the series and real life, King George was 22 years old when he married Charlotte. He married Charlotte the same year that he became King of Great Britain and Ireland after the death of his grandfather George II. His father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, had died when he was only a child, making him heir to the throne. When he ascended to the throne, he was unmarried, and finding a wife became one of his first orders of business. As a result, his marriage to Charlotte was largely arranged by his mother, and Charlotte was chosen mostly because she was a princess and Protestant.
How old was Queen Charlotte when she married King George?
In the series and real life, Charlotte was just 17 years old when she married King Charles. While the show suggests that Charlotte was opposed to the arranged marriage, it’s unclear if this was true in real life. However, the show was correct that King George and Queen Charlotte were married within hours of her arriving in England and meeting him for the first time. Despite it being an arranged marriage, King Charles and Queen Charlotte seemingly had a happy relationship for many years. They even broke the norm in that they slept in the same bed together. King George did not take a mistress as was customary for a king to do, and they even wrote love letters to one another.
King Charles and Queen Charlotte went on to have a total of 15 children during their marriage, 13 of whom lived to adulthood. Their oldest son, George IV, later became King. King Charles also bought Buckingham Palace for them to live in. However, unlike in the show, King George wasn’t the one who gifted Charlotte her beloved Pomeranian—she actually brought two of them to England.
How long were King George and Queen Charlotte married?
Queen Charlotte hints at the longevity of Queen Charlotte’s and King George’s relationship as it switched between 1761 and 1817. The pair were married for 57 years, until Queen Charlotte passed away in 1818. As said above, much of their marriage did seem genuin,e despite initially being arranged. However, as depicted in the show, their marriage was impacted significantly by King George’s mental illness. Unlike the series, the real King George didn’t start showing symptoms until he was in his 50s. However, any knowledge of mental illness was very limited at the time, and he was never officially diagnosed, just labeled “mad.”
Today, many researchers think it’s likely he suffered from mania or bipolar disorder, while some posit that he had a genetic condition called porphyria. Sadly, his illness did have quite a severe impact on their marriage. While Queen Charlotte continued to care for him and remain faithful to him, she was frightened by his manic episodes and never went to visit him alone. King George died less than two years after Queen Charlotte did. Unfortunately, at the time of Queen Charlotte’s death, King George’s illness had progressed to the point that he could not even comprehend her death. While they defied many traditions of the time by showing signs of genuine love, their relationship was badly impacted by mental illness and the period’s lack of understanding and effective treatment.
(featured image: Netflix)
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