Netflix’s ‘Queen Charlotte’ reimagines royalty — and natural hair

The prequel to Netflix's hit show, "Bridgerton," honors England's Queen Charlotte and the majesty of natural hair.

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Netflix’s “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” has captivated audiences since its release last week. From the set and costume design to its unique soundtrack, the Shondaland-produced show takes fans into a reimagined 18th-century England.  

However, beyond the heart-wrenching love story, viewers were particularly impressed by the representation within the show’s cast and storyline. And they have found a new ingenue in India Amarteifio, who elegantly plays young Queen Charlotte while redefining beauty standards by showcasing natural textures. 

“The fact that they reimagined how our hair would look back in the day, I think, is just so cool,” Amarteifio told People magazine.

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India Ria Amarteifio attends a photocall for “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” on Feb. 14, 2023 in London.. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The “Bridgerton” prequel recounts the unique journey of Queen Charlotte, rumored to be of Moorish descent, from German nobility to the British monarchy as a mixed-race woman. While embodying the real-life queen, Amarteifio says breaking beauty norms of “making [the character’s hair] neater” via hair straighteners and up-dos, instead opting for her hair to “just exist in her natural kind of way and to be accepted and fully loved by someone else” was “the cherry on top.” 

Despite wearing a series of wigs on the show, the 21-year-old actress said Queen Charlotte’s kinky-curly texture mimics her own natural hair — and as an actress, that meant the world. 

“I think people are becoming a little bit more aware that afro hair is not something to be frightened about,” Amarteifio told Teen Vogue. “[A]ny show where I was having to have my hair in it, it was a bit of added pressure in the morning. I’d wake up a little bit anxious, like, ‘God, am I going to get heat damage this morning, or are they going to take a chunk out of my hair?’ […]  That shouldn’t be something that I come into work worried about.” 

Through Shondaland and its newest show, Rhimes pushes the envelope in diverse storytelling with her inclusive storylines and casts. But as a British actress, Amartfefio never imagined starring in a period drama, let alone as the lead. 

“I never saw myself in a regal crown, or I never saw myself [portrayed] in a positive light,” the star told People. “To be loved unconditionally for who you are exactly is, I’m sure, basically the root of what Charlotte wants and the root of what a lot of us want.” 

Ultimately, Amarteifo says Rhimes makes people “feel included.” Now, Bridgerton’s young Queen Charlotte hopes the next generation can “see themselves represented in any way, shape, or form, especially for young Black children.” 

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