Do I need to watch 'Bridgerton' before 'Queen Charlotte'?

Want to start 'Queen Charlotte' but haven't watched 'Bridgerton' yet? We'll give you all the scoop à la Lady Whistledown

Do I need to watch Bridgerton before Queen Charlotte'? Pictured: India Amarteifio and Golda Roscheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Queen Charlotte on Netflix
(Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix)

Fans keep asking, "Do I need to watch Bridgerton before Queen Charlotte?" 

Shonda Rhimes has a knack for drawing us into steamy Regency-era romances, and the Bridgerton spinoff is no exception. Since Her Majesty (India Amarteifio) and King George III (Corey Mylchreest) arrived on Netflix on Thursday, May 4, we've been hooked. 

But we'll admit, characters and storylines can get confusing. (Heck, we're still trying to keep track of the Bridgerton siblings.) Even the actors bringing the story to life find it somewhat intimidating. 

“You hear about the Bridgerton world and the sphere, and it's quite daunting, but I was excited,” Amarteifio told InStyle Australia. “I'm always up for a challenge.”

So how does Queen Charlotte fit in with the rest of the Ton? (Or should we say "rule the Ton"?) And can you watch Queen Charlotte as a standalone series without having seen Bridgerton first? Here's what you need to know. 

Do I need to watch 'Bridgerton' before 'Queen Charlotte'?

Queen Charlotte is a Bridgerton prequel miniseries, meaning the events take place before Bridgerton seasons 1 and 2. However, "present-day Queen Charlotte," played by Golda Rosheuvel in the prequel and original series, aligns both worlds. 

Sure, you'll recognize certain characters, like Rosheuvel, in Queen Charlotte, but it's not necessary to binge-watch the Bridgerton series before indulging in this new release; the story is able to stand on its own. However, a prior knowledge of Bridgerton is always welcome.

"The universe sort of swirls round within itself, so it will be fascinating to see whether the fans notice little nuances and Easter eggs that we've put in both productions," Amarteifio told Radio Times. "It's a fascinating way of telling the story."

While yes, Queen Charlotte is real, don't be surprised if the events taking place in the series are a tad different than what you learned in history class. 

"Shonda has taken the real-life characters of Queen Charlotte and King George and has kind of Bridgerton-ified," Amarteifio further revealed to InStyle

How does 'Queen Charlotte' fit into 'Bridgerton'?

"Present-day Queen Charlotte" is in power as the regular Bridgerton season is underway. The prequel, however, follows two storylines, the first with Charlotte as a teen (Amarteifio) in 1761, meeting her soon-to-be husband King George (Mylchreest), and the second with the royal as an adult (Rosheuvel) in 1817. For reference, Bridgerton season 1 reportedly takes place in 1813 and season 2 the year after. 

In the Queen Charlotte, you'll also catch appearances by Bridgerton regulars like Lady Bridgerton—seen both as the young daughter of Lord Ledger in the early timeline as well as an adult (played by Ruth Gemmell) in the latter timeframe—as well as Lady Danbury, portrayed by Arsema Thomas as a younger woman during her marriage to Lord Danbury and by Adjoa Andoh later in life as a widow. For Bridgerton devotees, Danbury informs the Queen during the spinoff that Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) is off enjoying his honeymoon, having married Kate Sharma, (played by Simone Ashley) in season 2 of the original series.

Does Queen Charlotte exist in the 'Bridgerton' books?

Unlike the rest of the Bridgerton series, Queen Charlotte was not adapted from one of Julia Quinn's books. However, the romance novelist did team up with Rhimes to write a book based on the prequel. 

When these creative powerhouses get together and put their own twist on history, there's bound to be plenty more material for us to sink our teeth into...which is why we're crossing our fingers for Queen Charlotte season 2. (Please, oh please!)

Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn & Shonda Rhimes

Queen Charlotte by Julia Quinn & Shonda Rhimes
$20.08 | See at Amazon

Venture back to England in 1761 when King George and Queen Charlotte first met. From there, the couple's love took over and changed the ways of the world.

Catch Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, now streaming on Netflix. While you're at it, enjoy the Queen Charlotte soundtrack and read the Bridgerton books in order.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.