Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story review: India Amarteifio, Corey Mylchreest star in this royal romance that delivers

BySonal Pandya
May 06, 2023 07:16 AM IST

Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story review: India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest anchor an epic royal romance in this emotional spinoff series by Shonda Rhimes.

Netflix's newest series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story reminds us that it is 'fiction inspired by fact' and that 'liberties taken by the author are quite intentional'. Created by Shonda Rhimes, the series focused on the early lives of King George III and his wife, Queen Charlotte. Their grand but tragic love story spanning decades and 15 children, tackles issues and challenges, both contemporary and past. (Also read: Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story trailer: Period drama goes back in time for an epic, royal love story)

India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest star in the period drama.
India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest star in the period drama.

The spinoff series from Bridgerton brings the character of Charlotte to the forefront. While she was an imperious royal match-maker (Golda Rosheuvel) in the first two series, here she is an unsure young woman (India Amarteifio), who becomes queen of an empire by her arranged marriage to a stranger, the King of England. The couple has a lovely meet-cute in the garden where they are instantly intrigued by one another. But George (Corey Mylchreest) is hiding some pretty big inner demons and they must endure some angst before reuniting as one before the world.

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Queen Charlotte also features two other women from the Bridgerton universe, Lady Agatha Danbury (Arsema Thomas as the younger version and Adjoa Andoh as the older one) and Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell). The show gives more depth to these women than we've previously seen just as matriarchs and explores their "untold stories" as well. The other important characters in the series are Princess Augusta (Michelle Fairely) as Charlotte's racist, overbearing mother-in-law and Brimsley (Sam Clemmett) and Reynolds (Freddie Dennis) as the royal aides and confidantes to the queen and king respectively.

Switching between the past and the future, the historical drama gives a bit of a history lesson on the fate of the royal bloodline. Despite 13 children, Queen Charlotte has no legitimate heir to the throne and she begins to push her children to do their duty. In the past, we also get a glimpse of a reel coronation ahead of a real-life one for King Charles III on May 6.

Writer and executive producer Rhimes also hits upon those thorny race issues in Queen Charlotte as the young queen becomes the representation needed for the people of colour who are her subjects. Called 'The Great Experiment', titles and privileges are granted to these subjects for inclusivity. Agatha's storyline also has her championing for their rights as she tries to rise up the society ladder for her family.

Above all, Queen Charlotte is a romance between two strangers who fight against the odds to survive. Over six long episodes, the series builds the narrative of Charlotte's loneliness in a new country, and offers a much needed perspective from George which highlights his fears and insecurities about assuming his rightful place as king. The young royal's bout with anxiety and mental illness is sensitively handled. There is a groundbreaking romance between Brimsley and Reynolds as well, which is shown as matter-of-fact, but is also a product of those times.

The world shown in the first two series is larger and more encompassing with so many characters to delve into. Here, the scope is just as grand but it more than stands on its own as we are swept behind the doors into the world of imperial duty and desire to live life for oneself.

While the costumes and production design in Queen Charlotte, like Bridgerton, are top-notch, the casting department deserves a round of kudos for choosing such seamless actors for the younger and older versions of characters like Agatha and George. Newcomers Amarteifio and Mylchreest carry the show quite well as the chemistry between the two is very palpable. The rest of cast from Thomas to Rosheuvel are also standouts. The latter in particular shows how she is grown into the role of queen over time. Gemmell also gets an interesting development, which might be explored in further Bridgerton seasons. While we wait for season three, this has been a most wonderful sojourn.

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