A mesmerising and playful escape into the past
REVIEWED BY Nimanthi Bandaranayake
“We are women. And the men who hold our fates hardly conceive we have desires, dreams of our own”Lady Danbury
This spin-off series is based on the beloved TV romance Bridgerton and it provides viewers with an in-depth exploration of Queen Charlotte’s backstory, and her role in the vibrant and intricate world of Regency era London.
The third and greatest instalment of Bridgerton is back with Queen Charlotte, which follows the titular heroine over two different time periods. India Amarteifio, who portrays Charlotte (aged 17), is our first introduction.
She is a smart and motivated young woman who resents the restrictive gender standards that confine her. The scene opens as her brother Adolphus (Tunji Kasim) signs the marriage licence. Despite the fact that she has never met her fiancé and has no desire to leave her home in Germany, she will become the next monarch of England.
This narrative is framed by another that takes place between the first and second seasons of Bridgerton. Golda Rosheuvel’s portrayal of a middle-aged Charlotte was the standout performance that sparked this spin-off.
We also spend time with Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) and Lady Violet Bridgerton neé Ledger (Ruth Gemmell), who are two of the most noteworthy matriarchs from past seasons.
Amarteifio delivers a fantastic performance as Queen Charlotte and appears tailor-made for the part. With a distinct progression from one woman to the next, there are echoes of Rosheuvel’s interpretation.
But this is the tale of Queen Charlotte’s sexual awakening, coming of age and decision to assume great power, as well as exercise it for her own political and personal purposes. Watching Queen Charlotte simply to see Amarteifio perform is time well spent.
The production design is also deserving of appreciation. It maintains Bridgerton’s luxurious and exquisite aesthetic with elaborately crafted sets, lavish costumes and extravagant historical elements. The Regency era, which has been meticulously recreated, envelops viewers in a realm of magnificent beauty and indulgence.
In terms of storytelling, Queen Charlotte succeeds in retaining the mystery and allure of its forerunner. The story delves into the queen’s origins, connections and historical political forces as it traces the complexity of her life.
This series strikes a balance between Queen Charlotte’s individual hardships and the larger social challenges of that time, resulting in an engaging and thought-provoking viewing experience.
Queen Charlotte also presents a novel perspective on diversity and representation. The series builds on Bridgerton’s basis by embracing a diverse cast and questioning stereotypical characterisation. This dedication to diversity emphasises the value of representation on film while giving the narrative depth and relevance.
Raunchy and entertaining, Queen Charlotte offers more than the occasionally ambiguous pleasures of the previous Bridgerton seasons. It delivers on the ‘great love story’ it promised between Queen Charlotte and King George, and provides us with more than gossip (Dame Julie Andrews’ Lady Whistledown narration is still present).
The strength and depth of their love becomes a wonderful source of strength for them because of the authority they have as monarchs over their realm. Finally, their love story is especially heartbreaking and captivating because of the persistent challenges that stand in their way.
QUEEN CHARLOTTE: A BRIDGERTON STORY
Shonda Rhimes and Julia Quinn
India Amarteifio, Corey Mylchreest, Golda Rosheuvel, Arsema Thomas, Adjoa Andoh and Ruth Gemmell
★ ★ ★ ★ ★