Listings

One of those whirlwind ‘pinch me’ moments’: Bridgerton star Golda Rosheuvel on Netflix’s Queen Charlotte prequel

Undated Handout Photo from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Pictured: India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte and Corey Mylchreest as Young King George. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Queen Charlotte.
Undated Handout Photo from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Pictured: India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte and Corey Mylchreest as Young King George. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Queen Charlotte. Undated Handout Photo from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Pictured: India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte and Corey Mylchreest as Young King George. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ TV Queen Charlotte.

A pinch me moment.

That’s how Golda Rosheuvel describes the moment she found out her popular Bridgerton character was going to be the central figure for a prequel to the Netflix series that’s become so hugely popular since it debuted in 2020.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story will give fans a chance to see the rise of Rosheuvel’s Queen Charlotte and the story of the young Charlotte’s marriage to King George.

The series sees The Evermoor Chronicles star India Amarteifio, 21, playing young Charlotte, with a young King George played by Corey Mylchreest, whose other credits include The Sandman.

“Gosh, it was one of those whirlwind kind of ‘pinch me’ moments,” reflects Rosheuvel, 53, whose portrayal of the monarch in the Netflix series, with characters based on those in the books by Julia Quinn, has resulted in an army of fans who can’t get enough of her quirky ways and her desire to track down the identity of Lady Whistledown.

“You know, when you hear Shonda Rhimes saying the words ‘Oh, we’re going to create a spin-off and you know, a prequel of your character’, it’s like: ‘OK, that’s great. That’s really great!’

“And it’s humbling. And you always want your work to be appreciated, when it goes out there, but for Shonda Rhimes and Netflix to really invest in this character and want to kind of explore a deeper dive into her and her history, and I think it was really clever to keep it in the world of Bridgerton, which was really great.”

Showrunner, series creator and executive producer Rhimes, who is also behind long-running hit medical series Grey’s Anatomy, shares her excitement at wanting to show fans a new part of the Bridgerton puzzle.

She explains: “I’m really excited for fans to see Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, as we’re calling it, because it is part of the Bridgerton universe, but also because it’s a completely new world.

“We’re going back in time to a very different era of costumes, customs, the way things were done. And we’re going back to the beginning of how the society that we know of in Bridgerton started.”

Directed by Tom Verica, who previously worked with Rhimes on the Viola Davis fronted hit series How To Get Away With Murder, the prequel also features a number of familiar faces from the original Bridgerton series including Roushevul, Adjoa Andoh as older Lady Danbury and Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton.

Asked about exploring themes of race, royalty and class in the storyline, Rhimes, whose Shondaland company produces Bridgerton, said: “I didn’t think of it in that much specificity, in terms of exploring race, class, and royalty — but it’s inherent.

“You can’t write those characters or be in that world without really exploring race and class. And there are some moments that I found vital to really showing the difference between the life Queen Charlotte was used to and the life Queen Charlotte has now. And how she comes to realise that.

“She comes from a place that was already well formed and integrated, but here in England she’s an outsider, she’s new.”

Talking about how the series discusses themes of race and race relations in this historical period through the lens of a period drama, Rosheuvel says it is a conversation moved forward through storytelling.

She says: “I think it’s fascinating to be doing a period drama, something of history, but yet, through our storytelling, we can discuss these difficult, uncomfortable discussions, situations, ideas.

“And I think that takes the pressure off a little bit. That people can dress up as Queen Charlotte for Halloween. And that that, the idea of this biracial person, woman, can be then pushed out into the modern world, a young child, a biracial child, or a black child of five or six years old, dressing up for a birthday party as Queen Charlotte, that to me, is moving the conversation forward through storytelling, through affecting people by just telling the story in a really beautiful, fantastical way.

“I think that’s the way forward for our industry.”

For Amarteifio, taking on the part of Young Charlotte was “daunting” and “exciting”.

“It was daunting because I think, you know, the show carries a lot of weight and it means a lot to a lot of people, and it’s incredibly important in moving and creating change in the industry as well,” she says.

“But also really exciting – I’d not been on a job for almost a year and a half, so to get back on set was great and then for it to be this job is everything I could expect and more.”

She didn’t consult too closely with Rosheuvel, whose theatre credits include Macbeth and Jesus Christ Superstar, on the younger iteration of the character.

“Just because Tom, our director and the team at Shondaland were very kind of… not stern, but they were very clear that they wanted a very different Charlotte that we see in Bridgerton, so they didn’t kind of want me to emulate or have anything translated, any of her characterisations that she has taken on board and created such a beautiful character with,” Amarteifio explains.

“But Golda was kind of always there to give me a hand if I needed anything and a shoulder to lean on. We had a brief discussion about how she thought Charlotte’s kind of upbringing was in her interpretation of Charlotte, but yeah, there wasn’t too much kind of back and forth.”

For her co-star, Mylchreest, taking on the role of a young King George was “a pleasure the whole time”.

“I didn’t feel maybe like a massive pressure to enter it just because it felt like such a different beast, and there was so much work to do in this series, but also on that character that it was like a great sort of fidget spinner, like there was no time for my mind to do any other anxiety stuff, it was just like ‘OK, right, I’ve got to dive in’”, he says, adding: “And it was a pleasure the whole time.”

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story streams on Netflix from Thursday May 4.