‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending, Explained

Bridgerton is a well-received alternative history show on Netflix that made much blush and gush thanks to a very cheesy storyline that somehow appealed to many. One of the interesting characters in the show was the gossip-loving Queen Charlotte, who always wanted to hear rumors flying around during the society season and read gossip booklets published by one Lady Whistledown. Netflix now brings you a spin-off on the tale of Queen Charlotte, who has a tough life being a queen and the only wife of King George III. The show begins with her marriage, but it focuses on her initial years with King George III. What were the obstacles she faced as a newly married woman?

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Spoilers Ahead


Charlotte Betrothed To King George

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story begins with Charlotte witnessing the signing of a marriage contract at her home in Mirow, in modern day Germany. Charlotte herself belongs to a German royal family, and she is aware of how marriage and alliances work. Even with this awareness, she is not keen on getting married at all. She is a seventeen-year-old girl who probably has plans and ambitions, and amidst all of that, she is being sent off to England. On her way to England, Charlotte was asked to wear an elaborate dress as her way of impressing the groom’s family. The groom happens to be King George III of England. Her distaste for this marriage is resulting in having to wear an elaborate uncomfortable gown and head to England only to impress the mother of the King. She has yet to come to terms with the fact that she will not be returning to her home and will be in England from now on. Adolphus, her brother and the heir to the seat of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Germany, is excited to have received this alliance. With Charlotte becoming the Queen of England, his family would be made an ally for life by a powerful nation. This is an opportunity he does not want to miss, and he politely lets his sister know the political ramifications of this marriage. Charlotte, though, believes in getting to know someone before one gets married, but here she is not given any chance to do that. She is not the kind of woman who would just swoon over the idea of becoming a queen. She wants to be a good and loyal partner, and her expectations do not change even when she is about to be married to the King of England.

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On reaching England, dowager Princess Augusta is not happy to see Charlotte because the woman who is King George’s mother has issues with the skin color of his son’s fiancée. Since it is an arranged marriage, Princess Augusta was aware of Charlotte’s mixed race, but she had issues with the girl being darker than she was told. Racism was an inherent part of English society, especially in the 18th century. The white-skinned people were not that tolerant of having people of color around them, let alone getting them married to their families. The princess is not willing to end the engagement because the marriage is just a few hours away. She also makes it clear that since the King has the ultimate power, if he does anything, people will consider it to be the right thing. That’s why they go ahead with the marriage plans and invite people of color who are also a part of the high society in London to let them know about their being inducted and accepted. Princess Augusta, along with the royal court, are skeptical that this marriage will work out. For them, it is just a transaction because once Charlotte gives them an heir, she will not be a topic of discussion. The whole idea of marriage is to make the parliament believe that the King is willing to marry and is ready to produce heirs with his newlywed wife.


Queen Charlotte’s Bereavement

Moving ahead to older Queen Charlotte’s life, it is filled with the lady in waiting and her good friend Lady Agatha Danbury, who has always been a friend of the Queen, and they love to chit chat and gossip about what Lady Whistledown has published in her booklet. Queen Charlotte has become a different person altogether after all these years. She is now aware of her power and the influence she has over her King and her children as well.

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One night, the Queen is made aware of her daughter’s death in childbirth. The Queen and King, in total, had 15 kids. Unfortunately for Queen Charlotte, their daughter’s child too passed away with her, leaving the King and Queen without any legitimate heir to the throne from the family. Charlotte is ashamed to know that of all the fifteen kids she has had, none of them could give her grandkids through a suitable marriage. She has countless illegitimate grandchildren from her sons, but because they were born out of wedlock, they cannot be considered heirs to the throne. She brings up a meeting with her sons and daughters and announces that she now wants a legitimate heir to the throne, and she would not accept any commoner as the future spouse of her children. Queen Charlotte, after all these years, comes across as a little hypocritical for expecting and forcing their kids to marry someone not of their choosing. She had an issue with her spouse being chosen without her consent, and she is imposing the exact same behavior with her children and forcing them to give her a grandson or a granddaughter.


Why Was Charlotte Planning To Run Away From Her Marriage?

Young Charlotte, who is being prepared for the upcoming marriage with King George, has an issue with the fact that she has been assigned a guard named Brimsley, who follows her everywhere. He lets her know he must be next to her all the time and never lets her out of his sight. Charlotte is just getting used to the life she is going to lead as Queen, and she has no clue what expectations people and her family have of her. Charlotte was not allowed to wear a dress she chose for herself in Paris. She was forced to wear traditional English to go with the traditions of the country she was marrying into. This is like an act of erasing her past and making her into a new person in England.

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In the next few hours before the wedding, all she asked the staff assigned to her to do was let her know what type of person the King was. She receives no response from anyone. All of them responded by praising the King and congratulating her on the upcoming wedding. She also questions Brimsley about the King, but since he is a staff member at the palace, he is unable to give her any answers. The palace staff is terrified of speaking ill of the King, which would be considered treasonous. Charlotte wanted to know what kind of man she was going to get married to. Is he kind, a monster, a womanizer, a drug addict, or an alcoholic? She would like to prepare her mind for the worst, and that is the reason behind her inquiries. She has no staff in her household who could do spy work for her. With no way of finding out what the King is like, Charlotte tries to run away from her marriage by jumping off the wall of the palace garden. She would rather run away from this impending marriage than marry a person she does not know at all. She has no choice but to elope on her own and leave the King at the altar. She is not even sure what the ramifications of her actions will be, but all she knows is that she can’t get married to a man she does not know. She is quietly stopped by a good-looking gentleman, who asks her why she would try to jump off the wall. She had her answers prepared and let the man know that she was to be married to the King, and she did not know how the man was supposed to be. She will not marry anyone she doesn’t know, even slightly. The man introduces himself as the King himself, and Charlotte is taken aback by his soft-spoken demeanor and the candor with which he is handling the situation. He also asks her to refer to him as George so that things between them don’t remain formal. Charlotte did not expect King George to be this kind and light-hearted person who would want to talk to her in such a casual manner. She was smitten.

King George III sweeps Charlotte off her feet, and they are married. As they are on their way to spend their first wedding night together, Charlotte is more than happy to have married the man of her dreams. Her dreams all shatter when George brings her to Buckingham House, which is going to be her new residence. He specifically says it is going to be her house, not their new home. Taken back by what he just said, she inquires why Buckingham House is not their home. He lets her know that he would be living in a palace at Kew. This sends Charlotte into a full rage about why, as husband and wife, they would not live in one room and one place. George is livid at her questions, and he simply says she would not understand him and walks away. Charlotte, as a young girl, assumed that since they were married, they would be living under one roof for the rest of their lives. She was unable to understand what George’s plan from here was or what he even expected from her. Charlotte feels she has been betrayed, and she has a life of boredom ahead of her. The last scene of the first episode of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story has Charlotte on her giant bed alone and murmuring to herself, “She should have jumped the wall.” Charlotte has a small regret about the wedding, but she knows there is a spark she saw in him for the first time. She knows that man is hidden somewhere, and she would like to bring him out. She saw a friend in him in those few moments they shared.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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