The Real Queen Charlotte from Bridgerton

If you’ve been watching Bridgerton, you may be familiar with Queen Charlotte, the gossip loving Queen – but who was the real Queen Charlotte?

Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was born in The Holy Roman Empire, a collection of territories in central and western Europe, where her father was the Duke and held power over Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland after her marriage to King George III in 1761.

Becoming Queen Charlotte

At just 17-years-old she was shipped off to England to marry the King – despite never meeting him! The journey from what is now modern-day Germany to England wasn’t smooth sailing and the royal party suffered through turbulent storms. To make matters worse, Charlotte didn’t speak a word of English when she arrived, but it didn’t stop her becoming a queen – her wedding took place just six hours after she set foot on land.

Once Queen, Charlotte fulfilled one of the most important duties of a Queen, producing an heir to the throne. She had her first child within a year of her married, giving birth to George, Prince of Wales. She went on to have 15 children with King George III throughout their marriage.

The first black British Queen?

Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Some historians believe that the Queen was one of the first biracial members of the royal family. Historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom argues that in her portraits she has African features, claiming that accounts from the period use derogatory, racially-charged language, such as the royal physician, Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar, who wrote that she had “a true mulatto face”.  Other historians dispute the theory that she was the first black queen of Britain. 

In an interview with The Guardian, royal historian, Hugo Vickers, said, “The theory does not impress me, but even if it were true, the whole thing would have been so diluted by this stage”.

Pomerians

Netflix

In Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte is often seen surrounded a group of Pomeranians. In real life, Pomeranians were her favourite breed of dog, she even brought two with her when she sailed across the ocean to marry King George III. She even gave Pomeranians as gifts to other members of the royal family.

She was penpals with Marie Antoinette

Queen Charlotte was good friends with Queen Marie Antoinette of France – however they remained only pen pals, never meeting face to face. The Queens confided in each other about the French Revolution, with Queen Charlotte arranging a place for the French royal family to seek refuge during the revolution. However, Marie and Charlotte never got their chance to finally meet in person, as Marie Antoinette was executed during the revolution.

Marie Antoinette was charged with depletion of the national treasury, conspiracy against the internal and external security of the State, and high treason. She was condemned to death, and drew her final breath on a guillotine in 1793.

Image Credit: By Vigée-Lebrun / KMH

King George III’s health

Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Charlotte lived through the end of the Georgian and during the regency period from 1811 to 1820.

King George III suffered from episodes of mental illness throughout his reign, which got increasingly worse as he got older. As a result the Regency Bill of 1765 stated that if the King became permanently unable to rule due to illness, Queen Charlotte would become Regent. The Queen’s eldest son became acting regent when his father became unfit to rule and became King George IV in 1820 after the death of King George III. Throughout her time as royalty Queen Charlotte founded many orphanages and became a patron of the General Lying-in Hospital – today it is the Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital. 

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