Every respectable queen has an origin story. Queen Elizabeth got The Crown, while Queen Charlotte is getting her own Bridgerton prequel that will document her rise to power. Called Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the series was announced on Bridgerton's Instagram and even revealed its queen. But have no fear, because the new series isn't straying too far from the familiar: Golda Rosheuvel, the actress who originated the role of Queen Charlotte, is stepping back into the girdle for the upcoming series. But she isn't the only woman with plans to inhabit the role.
Netflix has revealed that India Amarteifio will debut as the younger version of the royal. Sharing the screen with her will be Arsema Thomas as the younger version of Lady Danbury, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Bridgerton, and Corey Mylchreest as a young King George. In Rosheuvel's character's timeline, Adjoa Andoh will remain on board as Lady Danbury. So keep an eye out, because the social season is about to play out on multiple timelines.
The mention of "the once divided social scene" offers a clue about what we might expect in the way of world-building. As Bridgerton fans know, the story takes place in a world where King George, at the suggestion of Queen Charlotte, has elevated people of color to dukedoms and positions of nobility, creating a world where possibility, opportunity, and romance abound for every character. As the show's lore goes, it's the interracial love between these two royals that inspired the king to create the same possibilities for everyone else. As we watch the king and queen's relationship grow from an uneasy arranged marriage to true love, no doubt we'll see how their union changed the world. Rosheuvel teased as much, telling E! News, "We want modern stories. We want stories that reflect the world that we're living in today. We want diversity, we want inclusion. And I think you can see from the popularity and the success of the show globally that this is what people want in their storytelling nowadays."
The Bridgerton universe is also expanding even further with a new book tied to the unnamed prequel, penned collaboratively by Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and Rhimes herself. The novel will chronicle Queen Charlotte's rise to power and unpack “how the young Queen’s marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in Bridgerton.” Though the book's publication date remains unknown, Avon Books promises that it will be timed to the Netflix series.
“Queen Charlotte has been such a moving character to write and now having the opportunity to work with Julia to adapt this story into a book is such an exciting opportunity,” Rhimes said in a statement. “I can’t wait for fans of this universe to read the story of a character that has resonated so deeply with our audience.”
Quinn went on to add, “Taking Bridgerton from book to screen was fascinating for me to watch, and it’s such an exciting challenge for me to take it in the other direction, this time crafting Shonda’s brilliant vision into a novel. I’m especially thrilled to have the opportunity to write about Queen Charlotte, who was not in the original novels. Her character—and Golda Rosheuvel’s brilliant portrayal of her—was a tour de force, and I think readers will love getting a chance to know her more deeply.”
If Bridgerton—which has been picked up for a Season Three and Four, by the way—is any indication, we're in for a spectacular new series. Check out the first image of the two Queen Charlottes together below, and stay tuned for updates as we learn more.
This article was first published on Esquire.