See the first trailer for the guilty-pleasure period drama.
Ever since the second season of Bridgerton landed on screens last spring – replete with secret assignations, lavish balls and bees—fans of Shonda Rhimes’s record-breaking Regency romp have been counting down to its third, Penelope-and-Colin-centric installment. But, they also have another candy-colored period drama series to look forward to in 2023: Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, the show’s upcoming spin-off which will centre on the titular monarch. Though the formidable, extravagantly dressed ruler, believed by many to be Britain’s first Black queen, is played by Golda Rosheuvel in Bridgerton, it was revealed back in March 2022 that newcomer India Amarteifio would portray her as a teenager in the prequel.
On 23 September 2022, Netflix released a dazzling first still from the production, which showed Amarteifio in costume—a delicately embroidered white ballgown worn with a glittering silver cloak and diamond-encrusted head piece—as she stares into the camera, her expression uncertain as she embarks on a new chapter in her life that will change the course of history.
In the series, the actor, who’s had small roles in Doctor Who, Line of Duty and Sex Education, will be joined by a host of other new additions to the Bridgerton universe: Corey Mylchreest as the young King George; Michelle Fairley as Augusta, the dowager princess who will do whatever it takes to secure her son’s position; and Arsema Thomas as the young Agatha Danbury, who uses Charlotte’s arrival to find her own way into high society. A first look at the latter, resplendent in feathers, jewels and a silver corset, was also unveiled on 1 January.
Adjoa Andoh, who embodies Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, will also appear, as will Rosheuvel and Ruth Gemmell, the original show’s Lady Violet Bridgerton. Rounding out the cast are Hugh Sachs and Sam Clemmett as the older and younger iterations of Brimsley, the queen’s trusted secretary; Rob Maloney as the royal doctor; and Cyril Nri as Lord Danbury.
The first teaser for the series dropped on 14 February—and it has raised expectations even further. It shows an apprehensive Charlotte arriving at court and meeting the handsome King George for the first time. We then see the pair exchanging secret glances while dancing, becoming intimate, and Charlotte finally taking charge of her own life. “You are the first of your kind,” Arsema Thomas’s Lady Danbury tells her. “You must secure your position.” The clip also confirmed the show’s release date: 4 May.
A full trailer followed on 23 March, giving more of a sense of the trouble that Queen Charlotte stirs up at the Georgian court – including railing against strict British etiquette and finding herself at the centre of an adultery scandal.
Rhimes has penned the eight-episode Netflix series and serves as showrunner, supported by executive producer Betsy Beers and director Tom Verica. The latter has helmed episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Inventing Anna and Bridgerton, but is perhaps best known for playing Sam Keating, the ill-fated husband of Viola Davis’ Annalise in How to Get Away with Murder. Under their guidance, the spin-off tracks Charlotte as she arrives in London at the age of 17, having grown up in a small north-German duchy in the Holy Roman Empire. Despite being betrothed to King George against her will and never having met him before their wedding day, the pair fall madly in love and Charlotte settles into her new position of power, sparking—in this version of the story, at least—the societal shift that creates the diverse world inherited by the characters of Bridgerton. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing as, in reality, King George’s battle with mental illness began shortly after their marriage.
Also due to be covered in the new series? Agatha Danbury and Violet Bridgerton’s formative years as eager debutantes. Here’s hoping it’ll feature as many scandalous affairs and spurned suitors—not to mention as much unbearable sexual tension—as the original show.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.