‘Queen Charlotte’ A Bridgerton Story Review: Bold and Romantic

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story official poster featuring Charlotte and George

Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, based on the newly created character for the television adaptation, is a dazzling feat in more ways than one. It’s the period drama that works in some areas and fails in others. No matter, we can believe that Shondaland listens to critiques and offers changes in areas; thus, some things here are an improvement from Bridgerton, even when they still fumble in the grand scheme of providing satisfying happy endings. 

Ultimately, the series succeeds because of the cast, set design, hair, costumes, Kris Bowers’ indescribable score, and the new string covers. It succeeds because it focuses thoroughly on romance, catering to the very reason why audiences are obsessed in the first place. True connoisseurs of the genre don’t care a modicum about familiar archetypes or replicated tropes—it’s why we devour countless novels yearly. We want it all. And in truth, so much of what we see in Queen Charlotte is the type of romance I hoped we’d see with Kate Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton Season 2. It’s brimming with all the enthralling and tenderly soft moments that make romance novels so special. 

Charlotte and George dancing in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

But more than anything, the limited series is profoundly vulnerable. To fully relish in the story, one must be able to separate the fictional reimagining of history from the truth. (The concept of romanticizing King George only works when doing so.) Additionally, as numerous critics in the past have pointed out, the series should do better in addressing racial injustices and England’s colonization. Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story does far more than Bridgerton Season 1 does, and while I’m not one to speak on whether the portrayal feels justified, it certainly feels more intentional. 

Some pacing issues are scattered throughout, and some of the back-and-forth between the past and present meander, yet it’s mostly well done. The contrived love story between King George and Queen Charlotte is indeed gripping and heartwarming where it matters with a specifically beautiful scene, adding nuance and stunning depth to the moment we get of them in Bridgerton Season 2, Episode 6, “The Choice.” Here, theirs is indeed a love story—it’s dark at times, painful to watch when it addresses George’s condition, and thoroughly careful when working with character development.

Young Agatha Danbury in Queen Charlotte a Bridgerton Story

Further, there’s much to say about the cast portraying the younger versions of the characters we know and love. India Amarteifio is exceptional in matching Golda Rosheuvel’s mannerisms while she simultaneously grounds the character as a young woman making discoveries, finding her footing as a ruler, and her place in the world. Corey Mylchreest is both utterly charming as King George (as the sneak peek and trailer showcase) while concurrently heartbreaking when diving into the dark corridors his character ventures to.

And Arsema Thomas is an undeniable star as young Agatha Danbury, aka Lady Danbury. Like Amarteifio, she picks up on Adjoa Andoh’s mannerisms, yet we thoroughly watch her grow into the person who speaks some of the most powerful words in Bridgerton’s Shock and Delight.” Sam Clemmett, Connie Jenkins-Greig, Michelle Fairley, and Freddie Dennis are all astounding too. Ruth Gemmell continues to bring some exceptionally warm performances to Violet as the character gets a chance to gleam apart from her children’s stories.

Netflix’s Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is far from perfect, but it’s a lovely romance, nevertheless, bursting with a talented group of actors. The set design flourishes as always, and if nothing else, it provides the necessary escapism to a heartwarming love story that prevails despite all the shadows consistently threatening to come in their way.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story premieres exclusively on Netflix on May 4.


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