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Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
Courtesy of Netflix

With Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, which debuted all six episodes on Thursday, we know exactly how the titular monarch’s marriage to King George III sparked the diverse world presented in Bridgerton.

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It all began with an arranged marriage in the series premiere. A young, strong-willed Charlotte (played by India Amarteifio) was not happy to learn that her brother Adolphus (Tunji Kasim) set her up to marry the King of England (Corey Mylchreest). On the carriage ride to the palace, she threatened to leap from the moving vehicle and impale herself with her delicate and sharp corset made of whalebone. But as Adolphus pointed out, they had no choice in the matter. Their small German provence saying no to the British Empire? Preposterous.

George may have chosen Charlotte as his bride (without first meeting her), but no one from the royal court expected her to be Black. That presented a huge problem, given that she was darker than they anticipated. Since calling off the wedding was out of the question, Princess Augusta (Michelle Fairley) came up with a quick solution: invite other Black people and make it appear that George intentionally agreed to marry a Black woman.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton StoryA young Agatha (Arsema Thomas) and her much older husband were among the invitees, and they were gifted the titles of Lord and Lady Danbury.

In the present day, Queen Charlotte was awoken in the middle of the night with the somber news that the princess royal (Charlotte and George’s granddaughter) died in childbirth along with her baby. This left the Crown in crisis, since none of Charlotte’s 13 children has produced a royal heir.

Back in the past, Charlotte, understandably, was not thrilled about the wedding. Being inspected like cattle, given no choice in what she wore, and having virtually no privacy would make anyone feel trapped. Plus, she had no idea who George was or what he looked like, and all anyone could tell her of her would-be husband was that he was the sovereign ruler of England.

Fearing he could be a troll or a beast, Charlotte attempted to climb over the garden wall to escape. However, her elaborate dress made that impossible without help. Enter George, who wasn’t a beast like she suspected. He was handsome and charming, and encouraged her to address him by his first name. George even gave her the choice to marry him or walk away, and Charlotte decided to go through with the wedding. And yes, the show went with a classical rendition of Beyoncé’s “Halo” to see the newlyweds off.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton StoryHowever, their wedding night was not the romantic affair Charlotte had hoped for. George surprised his new bride with a lavish house he expected her to live in while he stayed at a different estate in Kew. When Charlotte pushed back against this, George threw his rank in her face — a stark contrast to their earlier conversation — and Charlotte politely retreated.

In the present day, Queen Charlotte assigned her children a new task: make her a royal baby.

Meanwhile, in the past, young Charlotte hugged her knees and expressed regret for not climbing over that wall.

What did you think of Queen Charlotte’s series premiere? Grade the episode below, and then share your thoughts in the comments.

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