Glamorous, powerful and a total gossip. The character of Queen Charlotte won her way into viewers’ hearts in the first two series of Netflix’s hit series Bridgerton.
Set decades before the events of Bridgerton, the show follows the formidable Queen Charlotte, played by India Amarteifio, as she experiences her first passions in Regency Britain.
But what viewers of the show may not know is that the character of Queen Charlotte is based on a real 18th century royal family.
Born in May 1744, Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was born to a German duke and a princess.
Queen Charlotte was married to King George III for 57 years and shared 15 children with her mentally ill husband
Queen Charlotte played by India Amarteifio portrayed as Queen Charlotte in the new Netflix series
According to the Royal Family website, Princess Charlotte was chosen to be George III’s wife when he became king in 1760.
As such, the 17-year-old German royal had to distance herself from everything she knew and start a new life in England with a man she barely knew.
When she arrived at her husband’s court, historians noted how the new queen was seen as an outsider – a theme explored in the new Netflix series.
But despite this, Charlotte and George had an exceptionally happy marriage.
The couple were the first royals to live in London’s Buckingham Palace – which was called Queen’s House at the time.
In recent years, the Royal Collection Trust has published love letters Charlotte wrote to George while he was away on royal engagements.
The 250-year-old correspondence read: ‘You shall have the advantage through Your travels of bringing Spirit into every Body, to be more known by the World, and if Possible more loved by Men at large.
“That must be so, but not equal to the love of her enrolling as Your most affectionate Friend and Wife Charlotte.”
Coronation portrait of Queen Charlotte from 1761. Since her death in 1818, historians have debated Charlotte’s ethnicity – as paintings and descriptions of her suggested she may have been biracial
King George III painted in his coronation robes. The royal family began to suffer from mental health problems only five years after his marriage to Charlotte
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in the Netflix original series. The actress played Charlotte for the past two seasons
Although the couple fell madly in love, their marriage was not entirely smooth sailing – and the Queen was dealing with George’s mental illness – which is documented in the Bridgerton series, where the King becomes a virtual hermit.
King George III suffered his first bout of mental illness in 1765 – just five years after the couple’s marriage.
Historians believe that his ‘permanent madness’ started around 1810 and that he would have become violent during his attacks.
Although Queen Charlotte remained his devoted companion, she would never have visited her husband alone as his mental illness worsened.
In the last 10 years of his reign, the couple’s son, George IV, acted as Prince Regent.
According to the Royal family websitesome historians believe that George III’s illness was caused by a hereditary physical condition called porphyria – which can cause hallucinations and confusion.
Corey Mylchreest as Young King George, India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte in the new Bridgerton series
Set decades before the events of Bridgerton, the show follows the formidable Queen Charlotte
Over the course of their 57 years of marriage, Queen Charlotte gave birth to 15 children over the age of 22.
Since her death in 1818, historians have debated Charlotte’s ethnicity—as paintings and descriptions of her suggested she may have been biracial.
While it’s impossible to know the full legacy of the late Queen, the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, told The protector“We took the idea that Queen Charlotte was from the black Portuguese royal family and ran with it.”
Shonda discussed how the royal family inspired Charlotte’s character, adding, “She was outsized, very glamorous, held herself above everyone else.” There was a lot about mine.’
In the show, the character of Queen Charlotte is always dressed up to the nines in glamorous dresses and impressive jewellery.
According to the Royal Collection Trustthe real Charlotte loved the finder things in life just as much.
They explained: ‘Queen Charlotte’s tastes were somewhat less clear-cut than her husband’s and she had some very luxurious rooms in the new Queen’s House (Buckingham Palace)’.
During their reign, Charlotte acquired an “extensive” collection of diamonds and pearls.