Netflix and Shondaland hosted a special screening of the highly anticipated upcoming series QUEEN CHARLOTTE: A BRIDGERTON STORY at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, inviting local Bridgerton fans to be among the first to preview the new spin-off series.
Prior to the screening, guests enjoyed a reception in the museum atrium with themed cocktails and canapés, mingling with Creator and Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes, Executive Producer Betsy Beers, Director and Executive Producer Tom Verica, and cast Golda Rosheuvel (Queen Charlotte), India Amarteifio (Young Queen Charlotte), Corey Mylchreest (Young King George), and Arsema Thomas (Young Lady Danbury) before descending into the Oprah Winfrey Auditorium to see the first in the six-part series.
Among those in attendance for the screening were Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, an admitted Bridgerton fan, said she was looking forward to the entertainment (though she does lament the lack of “the Duke” after Bridgerton Season 1!).
From the podium before the screening, Rhimes called Queen Charlotte, “a celebration of women, a celebration of love of all kinds, and most importantly, it’s a celebration Black women in particular,” which writes onto the screen what she said is “so often erased: Black hair, Black skins, Black intellect, Black beauty.”
“I wasn’t planning it,” she insisted. But fans and producers found Queen Charlotte’s story so popular that they insisted on a series for the matchmaking monarch.
“It was such an amazing concept to me that we would do this series. The way Golda plays Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton made me want to write a whole world for her,” Rhimes said in a discussion after the screening. “I wanted to know where she came from and how this person came to be. And it got really exciting for me, so I just sat down and started writing.”
Rhimes worked with historians and made personal visits to Kew Gardens and other properties associated with the historic Queen Charlotte, where she said she saw portraits that “make it hard to suggest that she didn’t come from where we say she came from,” and made the story of Queen Charlotte as the United Kingdom’s first Black royal come to life for her.
Queen Charlotte is not a documentary, but a Bridgerton prequel, centered on Queen Charlotte’s real-life rise to prominence and power. Viewers will enjoy this “political” (the one word Rhimes used to describe the show) tale of the young Queen’s marriage to King George and how it sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the ton inherited by the characters in Bridgerton.
“These women are making political moves like no one else and really controlling the society that they live and they’re learning how to do it,” said Rhimes.
Queen Charlotte: A Brigerton Story releases globally on Netflix on May 4, 2023.