Queen Charlotte - The Bridgerton Story

A colorful women's novel about taking responsibility, entering adulthood, and accepting your husband for who he is
Author of the article: Tatiana Zhakova
Journalist, linguist, teacher of storytelling with 10 years of experience
In 2015, she created and promoted her project about Nizhny Novgorod nnstories.ru, after which she created the author's course "Storytelling: How to Tell Your Story" on its basis. More than 4,000 students have taken the course.

A linguist by training, she is very quick to master new fields. Now she is actively studying screenwriting and storytelling in films/series, about which she writes in the blog of her project.
"The Bridgertons" is a very special show. In our feminist 20s, it promotes big families, love for your husband, acceptance and the desire to be there for you no matter what. While not at all overshadowing the feminist agenda through a number of heroines.

After the first two seasons of the main line about the friendly Bridgerton family and their personal happiness, the spinoff, "Queen Charlotte," came out, introducing us to why all the early 19th century nobility is somehow very racially diverse here.

I'm a fan of the Bridgertons in general.

Not only have I watched everything that's come out, but I've also read the book series that the show is based on. I know what's coming next, but I'm still really looking forward to the sequel.

This is some kind of women's romance, colorful, vivid and unfortunately, absolutely not real.

"The Bridgertons" is filmed in an alternate history style. This is when the creators of the series fantasize on the theme of "What would be if". The story is quite popular, for example, in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" it happens exactly the same.

So here we see a kind of alternative London, where the dark-skinned part of the population has probably never been slaves, and then occupies a very equal footing in society with the "whites". In the main timeline with Daphne, Simon, Anthony, Penelope, Colin and others, we see marriages between different races being arranged left and right. But just in "Queen Charlotte," we learn that this wasn't always the case. It was the marriage of the dark-skinned Charlotte to the light-skinned Prince George that gave rise to the titles for the African race of the population, and the name of this phenomenon was "The Great Experiment". That is, Queen Charlotte's marriage itself was an experiment in this branch of alternate history.
The creators of the series resorted to the Age Cut technique - the narration is conducted in two time lines at once, 1814 and 1760s. And the narration focuses on the youth of three heroines, that in the main line are already honorable ladies, and here are still young and full of hope girls - Queen Charlotte, Lady Agatha Danbury and the future Viscountess Bridgerton (Violet Ledger). The only thing missing is the scheming Featherington, but for some reason she wasn't included in the cast of the series.
The plot starts with Plot-triggering death - when death triggers all other events. This is a very popular technique, used in many famous movies and TV series, such as Black Panther, Get Knives, Citizen Kane, Thor, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time, Twin Peaks, Umbrella Academy, Wendesday. And that's just to name a few.

In "Queen Charlotte", the only granddaughter and heir to the throne dies, and so the Queen asks her 13 children to create heirs for her. What's interesting here is that first of all, it's true: Queen Charlotte and George had 15 children, of whom 13 lived to adulthood, and they did have many children on the side, but none legitimate ones. At least not until the birth of the future Queen Victoria, which, unlike the serialized one, the real Charlotte didn't live to see for a full year. In general, both she and all her offspring are shown much younger than in reality, the real children at the time of the events of the series should have been 30-50 years old. And this technique is already called Age lift and is used, for example, with Spiderman's aunt in Marvel movies (in contrast to the comics).

Well, secondly, as our on-camera "Gossip Girl" Whisldown correctly points out, it sheds light on why the Queen is so actively pandering - we remember that she appoints her "diamonds" among the debutantes and seeks out suitable husbands for them.

Well here we are actually transported back in time and see how the king and queen's relationship began with her attempts to climb over the hedge and his madness.
Many articles have been written about what is true and what is not in the events of the series, but we are more interested in the storytelling aspect. So let's literally go over the top:
  • King George was indeed insane, and even got that nickname. But this affliction occurred a few years after the wedding, and the ghastly treatment - in the year 1780m. So there was no such factor at the time of the marriage. What exactly the king was ill with is still unknown. It was probably some kind of mental disorder.
  • Queen Charlotte really loved him very much and, despite all the difficulties, was there for him until her death (she died first). She was softer and less charismatic than in the series, and definitely had a light skin color, even though she had African ancestry.
  • The show says that the children didn't want to leave Charlotte and marry, in reality they were kept close by their mother.
  • Queen Charlotte really did have excellent taste, including in music, so she did have Mozart in her palace one day.

And now about each character in turn

What kind of trails does each of them represent?

A trope is an artistic technique in storytelling. It is a combination of several factors that form a character/appearance. And that character is something we encounter in different movies/books/series.

Our brain identifies that there is something in common, but unless we know for sure the name of the trope and its characteristics, we are unlikely to be able to explain it

Queen Charlotte
I really liked the queen herself: despite her young age (only 17 years old!), she is shown as bright, charismatic and confident in her decisions. I was especially struck by her mature attitude and desire to take responsibility for her life - you don't often see that in modern serials.

Runaway bride. It is clear that this is a popular image, giving at once a beautiful and understandable conflict to the narrative

Smart people play chess - Queen Charlotte loves to play chess, which is undoubtedly an indicator of a young girl's high intelligence. Very often the love of chess is attributed to the hero precisely to show his wisdom. Even if we do not take into account the "Queen's move", which is entirely about chess, remember Jamie from "Stranger Things"

Wise beyond their years - according to the show, Charlotte is only 18 when she discovers her husband's mental problems, but takes on the responsibility of his guardianship and decides to stay with George "for better or for worse." This is definitely a very serious and mature decision, wise beyond her years.

Canon foreign - there was no queen in the original Bridgerton book, but being introduced in the series, she plays a very important role here.

Love freak - despite all the difficulties, the Queen believes in love, including the love between our characters - Daphne and Simon, Kate and Anthony - and that is why she promotes their union in every possible way
Lady Agatha Danbury
Perhaps the most unexpected and tragic line is that of Lady Agatha Danbury.

From a very young age she was raised to marry a rich and old man, in essence she was the adopted child of the very man she later married. This maximally nasty act is called Wife Husbandry. It is what affected young Agatha's maturing - married life is not enjoyable, and then she decides to stay single forever to enjoy her life on her own.

Cool big sis is literally a big sister to Queen Charlotte, as she is the one who prompts her and tries to help her.

Parental substitute for Simon in season one.

Cool old lady - and she admits it herself. Lady Danbury says that she is really very closed off, and always acts reserved and aloof. But at the same time she has a very warm attitude towards her characters, always tries to help and advocates for true love.

Violet Ledger
It is interesting to note in which family the future Viscountess Bridgerton was born. Violet is obviously a very lively, inquisitive and bright girl, very much in love with her father, but her mother is presented in a very unfavorable light. While Violet herself is almost the best example of a mother for her children - always supporting them, rooting for them, wanting them to find love and not just marry out of convenience.

Nice girl & Daddy's girl - young Violet is very sweet, inquisitive, with a lively mind and great manners. And she is definitely "Daddy's girl" because it is with Lord Ledger that she has an understanding and deep emotional connection.

Proper lady - and in adulthood Viscountess Bridgerton continues to be a proper lady. She has given birth to many children whom she truly loves, remains faithful to her husband, and holds an honorable place in society. Another example of this trope is Emily Hamilton from Gone with the Wind.

Parents as people - but nevertheless, Violet always remains human with her flaws and life's complexities, which are not hidden from her family or from us as readers. And that only adds to her charm and likability.

It's funny how together Lady Danbury and Violet Bridgerton make up the trope Red oni, blue oni - the contrast of the lady in red and the lady in blue. It's like the blonde-brunette pairing in other shows.
King George
Prince Charming is the Prince Charming that every girl dreams of. At least, that's how he is presented to us in the beginning - charming and sweet. In reality, life with him turns out to be far from a fairy tale.

But he is still The Good King - a wise, hardworking and honest young man.

King George is crazy (literally) about space, indicating not only his curiosity and modernity, but also his coldness. Think of the men in the TV series who are usually constantly looking through a telescope. The same Serkan Bolat in "Knock on My Door".

Also noteworthy:

  • Almost all the heroines of the "young" line of the narrative are bad mothers. Agatha does not communicate with her children at all, having given them to the nanny, Mrs. Ledger is presented as a real meger, and Queen Charlotte does not even know that her daughters had miscarriages. The fact that she has always been a queen and not a mother is told to her by the children, who come at some point to set the record straight. It's called Calling the old man out.
  • Among the "dark nobility" we see Simon's father, the future protagonist of the first season. Thus, the creators make Continuity nod - as if hinting at the continuation of the line.
  • As in other seasons of the story, there are a great many balls, at which we can now see two variations in fashion - elegant gowns during the Regency period and more elaborate ones in the George era.
  • The big and important conversation about sex between the two characters is called The talk - where Agatha explains to Charlotte what goes in and where and how it happens.
  • Violet, on the other hand, uses the metaphor of flowering gardens when talking about her sexual desire. She is probably still a young woman, not more than 45 years old, and maybe this is a future plan, and in other seasons we will see her settled personal life. It's not in the books, but the show's creators have already moved very briskly away from the narrative canon.
  • Secret relationships - the relationship between the two footmen. One of the saddest moments is when they planned to take care of the royal family together for a long time to come, and in the end the LAKEY danced alone because Reynolds died.
And of course, the last 3 minutes, where the already aged Charlotte lies down under the bed again to talk to her farmer Georg, are beautiful. And how no difficulties are ready to break true love, and how they see themselves young (you know that we don't see what a partner looks like right now, but some average image of him/her that is imprinted in our brain, right?). All this gives hope that true love is out there, and it's still bound to win out.