Before ‘Bridgerton’, Queen Charlotte may have been Black
The fan favorite character is based in truth
Bridgerton, Netflix’s first official show from Shondaland, has captured the world by storm, becoming a trending topic on Twitter in its debut weekend alone.
Fans and critics alike have praised the series for its on-screen diversity, specifically in casting Black actress Golda Rosheuvel as the Queen. But according to history, Queen Charlotte may have been Black during her reign after all.
According to The Washington Post, some historians believe that Queen Charlotte (who this fan-favorite character is based on) may have been Britain’s “first Black Queen.” According to history, Charlotte was 17 years old when she came to England and married King George III, only six hours after arriving in London.
Charlotte was a German princess who was the youngest daughter of Duke Carl Ludwig Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen.
Historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom has argued for years that Queen Charlotte was of African descent. A 2009 piece in The Guardian highlighted Valdes’ claims, stating the Queen was, “directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family, related to Margarita de Castro e Souza, a 15th-century Portuguese noblewoman nine generations removed, whose ancestry she traces from the 13th-century ruler Alfonso III and his lover Madragana, whom Valdes takes to have been a Moor and thus a black African.”
According to Valdes, who began researching the Queen after he moved to Boston in 1967, the Queen’s official portraits are “visibly African.” He also discovered that the Queen was honored in British colonies by Black people who “were convinced from her portraits and likeness on coins that she had African ancestry.”
Rosheuvel, who portrays Queen Charlotte in the Netflix series, certainly thinks the history adds to the richness of her character. She told Insider, “It’s so empowering for an actress…to have that background and that feeling that a person in the 1800s could have been fighting for her people and could have been fighting for representation.”
Bridgerton, currently the number one show on Netflix, is streaming now.
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