The cast and crew of “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” have promised an “intimate story” in the prequel series to Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix hit.
At a global fan event at Claridge’s in London, host Gena Mour-Barrett welcomed showrunner, writer and executive producer Rhimes over Zoom, with cast members Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh and Ruth Gemmell attending in person to discuss their characters in the new series, first introduced in the flagship Netflix show launched in 2020.
Also in attendance were the three main cast members new to the “Bridgerton” universe: India Amarteifio as young Queen Charlotte (with Rosheuvel reprising her role as the Queen in adulthood), Arsema Thomas as young Lady Danbury (her older counterpart played by Andoh) and with Corey Mylchreest joining the cast as young King George III.
Rhimes explained that the impetus for the show was to delve into “how the ‘Bridgerton’ world came to be” and to tell a “romantic” story focusing on “women of a certain age” through the characters of Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury and Gemell’s character Violet, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton.
The showrunner revealed that “Queen Charlotte” will largely focus on the beginning of Charlotte and George’s romance, exploring the pair’s emotions of being “married off to someone they do not know.” In an exclusive clip, Charlotte (Amarteifio) can be seen in a carriage with her brother Adolphus (Tunji Karim) discussing her uncomfortable corset (“I am angry and I cannot breathe,” Charlotte says) and her reluctant “duty to her country” when discussing her forthcoming marriage to the king of England.
Amarteifio shared her excitement at joining the ‘Bridgerton’ universe, saying she had binge-watched the show upon release and recognized that it “changed pop culture and the roles I could be considered for.” For their part, Thomas and Mylchreest only got to know the universe after being chosen for the roles.
The cast and crew stressed that “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” encourages the cast members to take “liberties” with the established characters to “create complete different characters” with their own storylines, due to the spinoff series taking place many years before the events of “Bridgerton.” Of “passing the baton” to Amarteifio for the new season focusing on her character, Rosheuvel said: “I wanted India to be authentic in her own skin — to be able to give that to the next generation is such a privilege.”
“[Shonda was] clear that they didn’t want me to emulate Golda,” Amarteifio said on her preparation for young Queen Charlotte. “They were clear that this Charlotte is her own. I am in control of how she becomes. The writing is so strong that you do get glimmers of Queen Charlotte anyway.” Mylchreest said he read a biography of King George III written by Andrew Roberts and explored countless written archives released since 2015, but agreed that “it’s not a historical documentary, it’s fiction.”
Mylchreest went on to explain that the relationship between Charlotte and George is built on both royals “experiencing oppression.” He added: “On the queen’s shoulders it’s much more systemic, and for George it’s on a much more familial and personal basis from the Crown, which for him is his family — but the stakes of that involve the entire country. These two people are constantly trying to escape their duty.” The actor also teased that George, who fans of “Bridgerton” currently know very little about, is “a massive geek, an enormous nerd of the highest magnitude” who shows an interest in science and astronomy.
On the evolution of fan-favourite character Lady Danbury, one of the Queen’s confidantes, Andoh said of her younger counterpart played by Thomas that the breakout actor is “magnificent” as Agatha. The performer herself added that playing a new version the senior matron felt like “a breath of fresh air” and “chewing gum for the mind.”
Andoh summarized the forthcoming series by explaining there was more work on “navigating feelings space,” with Rosheuvel agreeing and calling “Queen Charlotte” a “more intimate show”. Andoh continued: “There’s less structuring of who’s with who and what’s happening, it’s more about how you respond to those circumstances. There are more intimate scenes, and there’s a cross-fertilization and an enriching of who you are in ‘Bridgerton’ because of some of the stuff in ‘Queen Charlotte.’ I hope audiences will feel that enrichment too, it’s a virtuous circle in a way.”
Elsewhere, Rosheuvel revealed that the next location for immersive event “The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience” will take place in New York City in the spring, although no specific date was revealed. An official trailer for “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” which premiered at the event showed signs of a rocky marriage between Charlotte and George, and introduced both versions of all main characters in the “Bridgerton” universe fans know and love.
The first season of “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” is currently slated to air globally on Netflix on May 4.