Whether or not you’re watching, Netflix’s “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” has taken the world by storm. An extension of the “Bridgerton” universe, “Queen Charlotte” delves into Queen Charlotte and King George’s marriage and the expectations placed on the young queen.

The show has garnered more interest than other “Bridgerton” stories — namely due to the fact that “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” is rooted in a real, historical story. But how accurate is “Queen Charlotte”? And what liberties did the creators take?

Here’s everything you need to know about the true story of Queen Charlotte and King George.

Who was Queen Charlotte in ‘Bridgerton’ based on?

Queen Charlotte was only 17 years old when she married King George III and became queen of England and Ireland, according to National Geographic.

Charlotte was born in 1744 in a German duchy called Mecklenburg-Strelitz, which is now northern Germany. Per National Geographic, Charlotte had an “unremarkable childhood” in a “mediocre and provincial dukedom.”

But this was all regarded as beneficial to George’s — who took the throne in 1760 — political advisers. Charlotte was relatively unknown and, as a result, likely had “no political connections or aims,” according to National Geographic.

An emissary “proposed marriage on (George’s) behalf,” even though the pair never met, and Charlotte accepted. King George and Queen Charlotte were married in 1761, even though “she spoke no English and had never met her husband before her wedding day,” per National Geographic.

Was Queen Charlotte Black?

While “Bridgerton” creators are known for casting actors of color in stereotypically white roles, casting a Black actress as Queen Charlotte wasn’t out of left field. Rumors have been swirling around Queen Charlotte’s race for years.

Queen Charlotte was a direct descendent of Margarita de Castro y Sousa, which was, according to PBS, “a Black branch of the Portuguese royal house.” It is this Portuguese lineage that has caused historians to debate — did Queen Charlotte have brown skin or not?

According to National Geographic, some historians point to Charlotte’s portraits, which they believe depict the queen with having “African” features. They argue that Charlotte was a light-skinned person of color, but was likely hiding her race to “conform with the era’s Eurocentric beauty ideals.”

But other historians argue that Charlotte’s Portuguese lineage was “so distant” that it most likely didn’t impact her physical appearance. Per National Geographic, these historians “argue that modern conceptions of race are what’s driving the belief that Charlotte was Black.”

Descriptions of Charlotte’s physical appearance at the time were varied. According to Vox, “A Tale of Two Cities” described Charlotte as “a queen with a plain face.” Charlotte’s physician called her “small and crooked, with a true mulatto face.” According to a prime minister, “Her nose is too wide and her lips too thick.”

While the debate continues, according to National Geographic, we’ll probably never know if Queen Charlotte was Black. “Since it’s impossible to determine how Charlotte really looked in real life, the argument will likely never be settled.”

Did King George love Queen Charlotte?

By all accounts, King George and Queen Charlotte had a very loving relationship. According to National Geographic, “the king and queen had an unusually happy marriage, and George III was a devoted father and husband.”

Speaking of Charlotte, King George said, “The queen is my physician, and no man can have a better; she is my friend, and no man can have a better.”

The king and queen reportedly slept in the same bed, which was unusual for the time, until King George’s madness separated them, according to a paper published in the London Review of Books.

What caused the madness of King George?

In 1765, King George underwent a mental affliction “so serious” that “his ministers proposed having Charlotte temporarily take the throne while the king was incapacitated,” according to National Geographic.

The king recovered quickly, but continued to have multiple relapses. King George would experience “mania, depression, hallucinations, and convulsions,” per National Geographic, and even attacked and sexually assaulted members of his family.

Francis Burney, one of the queen’s attendants, wrote, “The queen is almost overpowered with some secret terror. I am affected beyond all expression in her presence, to see what struggles she makes to support serenity.”

Over time, George’s manic episodes turned lengthy, forcing him to be “isolated and even incarcerated.” After his son, George, took over the throne as king regent, King George “would remain ill for the rest of his life,” according to National Geographic.

But what caused George’s madness? Historians have offered a few theories.

Porphyria

Some historians had suggested that George suffered from porphyria — a physical and genetic blood disorder with symptoms such as “aches and pains, as well as blue urine,” according to BBC.

But researchers have disputed the theory. “The porphyria theory is completely dead in the water,” Peter Garrard, a researcher studying King George, told BBC. “This was a psychiatric illness.”

Bipolar disorder

On the other hand, researchers suggest that George experienced mania — potentially bipolar disorder. In a paper published in Clinical Medicine, researcher Timothy Peters said that recent studies and research implies that “the King suffered four/possibly five episodes of bipolar disorder.”

In a research paper, Garrard and his fellow researchers came to the same conclusion, saying that “in the modern classification of mental illness acute mania now appears to be the diagnosis that fits best with the available behavioural data.”

Did Queen Charlotte have 15 children?

Queen Charlotte and King George had 15 children, according to Today. Thirteen survived to adulthood — and two died as children. Here’s the complete list, per Today:

  • George, Prince of Wales (1762).
  • Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (1763).
  • Prince William, Duke of Clarence (1765).
  • Charlotte, Princess Royal (1766).
  • Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (1766).
  • Princess Agusta Sophia (1768).
  • Princess Elizabeth (1770).
  • Prince Ernest, Duke of Cumberland (1771).
  • Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773).
  • Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (1774).
  • Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (1776).
  • Princess Sophia (1777).
  • Prince Octavius (born 1779, died 1783).
  • Prince Alfred (born 1780, died 1782).
  • Princess Amelia (1783).

Prince George of Wales took the throne from his father at 48 in 1811 due to King George’s mental illness, according to the royal family’s official website. He was the uncle of Queen Victoria, who took the throne in 1837 at 18, per the Royal Family — which makes Queen Charlotte Victoria’s grandmother.

How was Queen Charlotte related to Queen Elizabeth?

According to People, Queen Charlotte is Queen Elizabeth’s great-great-great-great-grandmother.

How did Queen Charlotte die?

According to Historic Royal Palaces, Queen Charlotte died of pneumonia in November 1818 at the age of 74. Per Smithsonian Magazine, King George died two years later. Charlotte and George are buried close together at Windsor Castle in the royal vault.

How accurate is ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’?

While “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” gets some historical facts right, the series makes no promise of historical accuracy. In fact, the opening credits of the show sets the record straight, saying, “It is not a history lesson. It is fiction inspired by fact.”

As mentioned, the show gets a few things right — most notably the portrayal of George’s madness and the mention of George and Charlotte’s 15 children. The pair also did meet on their wedding day and were married six hours after Charlotte arrived in England, according to National Geographic.

Also, more endearingly, George was known as “Farmer George” because of his “agricultural interests,” and he had “a love of botany and plants,” per National Geographic.

Unsurprisingly, “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” takes some liberties. Charlotte is played by a Black actress, but there is no historical evidence that indicates that Charlotte was Black in real life. Therefore the “Great Experiment,” which is a major plot point in the show, never happened, according to USA Today.

Where can I watch ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’?

All six episodes of “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” can be found on Netflix.

What’s ‘Queen Charlotte’ rated and why?

According to Common Sense Media, “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” is for those aged 16 and up, but it might be best for adults only. The series is TV-MA, according to IMDb. The show contains:

  • Intense sexual situations (simulated sex scenes, etc.)
  • Nudity.
  • Discussions of sex.
  • Sexual innuendos.
  • Mild language.