Queen Charlotte and King George III really did have a loving marriage

Netflix Official Trailer: Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story landed on Netflix yesterday (May 4) and many fans across the globe have binge-watched all six episodes following the love story between the titular monarch (played by India Amarteifio) and her husband King George III (Corey Mylchreest) after the pair were betrothed to each other and only met briefly before exchanging vows.

The pair had a passionate and steamy marriage but initially, the couple kept their distance with questions over whether King George and Queen Charlotte had done their marital duty and consummated their marriage.

The show’s creator Shonda Rhimes has already stated her story is a fictitious flight of fancy, telling the story of Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte and not Queen Charlotte of England. The American writer and producer has stressed her series isn’t a history lesson or a documentary.

Nonetheless, many viewers are eager to know more about the real history behind the costume drama.

Did Queen Charlotte and King George III really not consummate marriage on their wedding night?

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, historian Lisa Hilton addressed whether the royal couple did consummate their marriage.

She said: “[T]o my knowledge, everything proceeded as it ought to have done on the night without too much fuss on either side.”

As the show Queen Charlotte depicts, there was no one in the marital chamber on the wedding night to ensure the deed was done – something which frustrated King George’s mother Princess Augusta (Michelle Fairley).

Reflecting on this tradition, Hilton said: “They weren’t watched as they would have been in previous generations.”

She continued about why the custom of watching the marriage consummation was fazed out: “I think it was thought to be – towards the end of the 18th century – it was rather medieval and unsophisticated.”

“Certainly that had died out but that didn’t of course mean there wasn’t a great deal of gossip about it and certainly the bedsheets would have been inspected – at least not publicly but quietly and the royal physician would have been consulted as to whether the bride had lost it as it were.

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“But it certainly would have been more discreet than it was a century previously.”

Hilton went on to reflect on the couple’s marriage more generally: “It was a remarkable success royal marriage because we know he had never met her and went down the aisle only six hours after she landed in England.

“It was an unusually happy marriage and most marriage were not arranged for love, they were matters of diplomacy and alliances and so she was considered a suitable person for George to marry and no choice was really given to either of them.

“But they had a long, devoted and very loving relationship, obviously had lots of children. But quite usually, he didn’t have a mistress, which was not normal for most European kings of the time.

“They were quite devoted to one another and seemed to be a very happy and affectionate couple. I think that’s so much more interesting and unusual.”

Hilton said Queen Charlotte was chosen because there was a “very small pool” at the time for King George, most notably she was selected because she was a Protestant and of a “suitable age” to have children.

Adding: “Obviously, she was German, George was a German speaker – that was considered to be a reasonable affinity between them, something they both felt linguistically and culturally comfortable with.”

Queen Charlotte is streaming on Netflix now

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