How Queen Charlotte Leads Into Bridgerton Season 3

What do you need to know about the Queen Charlotte prequel to understand Queen Charlotte's arc in Bridgerton season 3?

Bridgerton. Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in episode 303 of Bridgerton.
Photo: Liam Daniel | Netflix

This article contains spoilers for Bridgerton season 3 part 1 and Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Last year, the six-episode limited series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story introduced fans to the beginnings of the world of Bridgerton. Shonda Rhimes combined historical details of Queen Charlotte and King George III’s early years of marriage with scenes featuring Violet, Lady Danbury, and the succession crisis set between seasons 2 and 3.

Den of Geek interviewed Bridgerton showrunner and executive producer Jess Brownell to find out the plans for tying in Queen Charlotte’s backstory into the main Bridgerton series.

Bridgerton season 3 is based primarily on Julia Quinn’s original novel Romancing Mister Bridgerton which centers Colin and Penelope’s storyline. Queen Charlotte has only a fleeting mention later on in the novel series, while Violet and Lady Danbury are present only as supporting characters guiding their families in the Ton. Viscountess Violet Bridgerton and Lady Agatha Danbury’s enduring friendship is one of the plotlines from Queen Charlotte that continue into season 3.

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“Whether or not fans have seen Queen Charlotte, we try to delve more deeply into Agatha’s backstory in this season in a way that would make sense to any viewer,” Brownell said. “It was important for us to deepen that character, and also to deepen the friendship between Violet and Agatha, and show just how meaningful Lady Danbury is to the Bridgertons in the same way the Bridgertons are meaningful to her.”

Lady Danbury’s brother Marcus appears in season 3 as a noble who prefers the countryside and is absent from Queen Charlotte. It is revealed however, that part of their strained relationship is due to Marcus backing his sister’s unhappy marriage with Lord Danbury. Those events are detailed extensively in Queen Charlotte but viewers can quickly grasp there are unresolved tensions between the siblings without those details. Violet’s feelings towards transitioning away from grieving Edmund and the possibility of a new relationship are also part of Queen Charlotte, but are explained for non-viewers by Violet’s ease in her chats with Marcus. 

Fans will see Queen Charlotte reigning over the Ton but there are some aspects from the limited series that won’t appear in season 3.

“I’m so grateful to Shonda Rhimes for creating such a wonderful and rich backstory for Queen Charlotte, and you’ll see hints of that backstory continuing into season three,” Brownell said. “I would love personally to continue the story with her children. I think they’re so fantastic, and we played around with it, but the truth of the matter is we just don’t have story space to bring in a lot of new characters.”

The screentime that Queen Charlotte’s family would have taken up has been reallocated to establishing Francesca Bridgerton’s importance as a future main character after book fans noticed her absence from family scenes in the first two seasons. 

Will and Alice Mondrich’s move from the outskirts back to society to fully join the Ton has a thematic connection to Queen Charlotte. The series explains that Queen Charlotte marrying King George III forced society to accept Black elites as full members of British society via the Great Experiment. The Mondrich’s entry into society via their son Nicholas inheriting the title from Alice’s great aunt would not have been possible without Queen Charlotte and Lady Danbury establishing the legal and social protocols of the Ton to do so. Viewers already accept that the world of Bridgerton is racially diverse without the detailed explanation from the limited series. 

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Rhimes said in an interview with Variety that she is not currently working on a sequel series to Queen Charlotte but won’t rule it out entirely if the right continuation story comes along. This doesn’t mean that Queen Charlotte won’t have a part to play in season 3. 

“The Queen is up to her usual high jinks in terms of finding more and more absurd ways to entertain herself, and create drama and gossip around her,” Brownell said.

Queen Charlotte indeed has a new set of debutantes to evaluate and only one can be named the next diamond of the season. After Edwina Sharma’s failed match and Lady Whistledown loudly proclaiming her opinions; Queen Charlotte is eager to reassert her authority over the Ton.

Bridgerton season 3 is currently streaming on Netflix.