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The Real Queen Charlotte  (Hardback)

Inside the Real Bridgerton Court

P&S History > British History > Georgian History P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History

By Catherine Curzon
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: The Real...
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 20 mono
ISBN: 9781399097017
Published: 24th August 2022

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Hear author Catherine Curzon's full interview about Queen Charlotte on the Dress:Fancy podcast!

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Known to millions as the imperious matriarch of Bridgerton’s court, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was still a teenager when she was chosen to be the bride of King George III. Shy, innocent, and sheltered, the orphaned princess and her youthful groom carried the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.

The placid and unassuming young couple symbolised a new beginning, but soon those hopes began to sour. Charlotte and George’s marriage lasted for nearly 60 years and produced more than a dozen children, but it was beset by unrest at home, war in the colonies, and the king’s encroaching madness.

As the royal couple battled against their critics, their political opponents, and sometimes even their own family, Charlotte learned what it really meant to be queen. Locked in a bitter struggle with her eldest son for the king’s future and with her daughters for their freedom, the timid young girl grew into an insular and domineering woman that few dared to cross.

Shouldering the burden of family disputes, ambitious courtiers, and the care of the man she adored, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz presided over one of the most tumultuous eras that the monarchy has ever seen. As tragic as it was glittering, this is the story of her extraordinary life.

"The Real Queen Charlotte: Inside the Real Bridgerton Court" is well-researched and readable. Her marriage to the King of England lasted nearly sixty years until her death, eighteen months before the death of her husband. The marriage saw the birth of fifteen children (and the death of the three youngest), unrest at home, the loss of the American colonies, the beheading of France's king and queen, and the king's descent into madness. I am ashamed to say I didn't know much about this queen and her era. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of the American Revolution, the history of the British Royals, or fans of "The Bridgertons."

NetGalley, Lora Angley

This was a thorough and interesting book about George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, now so well known from popular TV shows Bridgerton and the spin-off Queen Charlotte. The writing style is engaging and very readable, and I also enjoyed the addition of the portraits and cartoons at the end of the book.

NetGalley, Melanie Dolhun

I really enjoyed this one. The author has written other Georgian biographies that I've enjoyed, so I was pleased to get a chance to review with one for #NetGalley. Curzon has a distinctive style of writing, and you can tell that she is well-informed about her biographical subjects. This would be a great book for anyone wanting to get the real scoop on Queen Charlotte after watching the Bridgerton series.

NetGalley, Jenny K

As featured in Cosmopolitan Indonesia!

Cosmopolitan Indonesia, May 2023

No.6 of 14 Best Books about Queen Charlotte in Town & Country magazine

Emily Burack, Town & Country

As featured by Insider magazine 7 things 'Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story' gets right and wrong about Queen Charlotte and King George III's epic love story

Maria Noyen, Insider magazine

Author interview in the News & Record

Ben Villarreal, News & Record

Featured by GEO France

GEO.fr

As featured in The Smithsonian

The Smithsonian

Author interview on BBC Radio 4's PM programme discussing the lure of the costume drama.

Listen here!

BBC Radio 4

Hear author Catherine here on BBC Radio Essex discussing badly-fitting corsets and TV shows banning them for the good of actor’s health!

BBC Radio Essex

"I totally enjoyed reading this book!"

A Tudor Reader

I didn't know enough about her, but Catherine's book has put that to rights, thankfully.

Books Monthly

Yet another excellent book from Catherine Curzon.

Read the Full Review Here

The History Fella

Article: Book about Queen who inspired TV matriarch

Yorkshire Post

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful and in depth look at a woman lost to a world history that focuses so much on her husband and her sons. While those interested in history know that Queen Charlotte wasn’t the social leader she’s portrayed as in Bridgerton, it’s still nice to have the spotlight on Charlotte for once.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer

The story of a real life princess from a small court who had an arranged marriage with the king of one of the most powerful countries in Europe. They loved each other, had a big family and lived happily ever after. Ok, the happily ever after didn't quite happen. She didn't get along with her in-laws and her husband preferred she stay somewhat isolated from court doings and politics. Then her eldest son and husband didn't agree on politics. But all lives have some problems. She did have her daughters for company. But then her husband went mad....

Yes, this is the life story of Queen Charlotte, King George III's wife. There were a lot of wonderful things and not so wonderful in her life. It is kind of ironic that when she was young and recently came to London she complained about being kept somewhat isolated and then turned around and did that to her own daughters. In fact, she kept them very close, didn't encourage them to participate in court life and very much discouraged them from getting married. The public made comments about the daughters being kept living like a nunnery.

The work was well researched and easily readable. I learned a lot of things I didn't know.

NetGalley, Juliane Silver

The author is a historian specialising in the 18th Century and the author of a number of popular books on the Georgian royals. Her latest is a biography of Queen Charlotte, whose fictional counterpart plays a pivotal role in ‘Bridgerton’, the highly popular Netflix series set during the reign of George III.

When only seventeen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was chosen to be the bride of King George III. While it began as an arranged marriage, the shy princess and the young king were well matched. They were married for nearly sixty years and were parents to fifteen children. Yet political issues, social unrest, wars, and the king’s health including his madness all took their toll.

I found this a straightforward, concise, and accessible biography that focused on Charlotte’s relationships with her husband and children as well as detailed her long reign as Queen Consort.

As is usual with Pen & Sword titles the book contained notes, a bibliography, and an index.

NetGalley, Vivienne O'Regan

Having read and heard only a little about Queen Charlotte before ever reading or watching Netflix's Bridgertons, I was interested in finding out more about the real woman. Curzon gives a good account of Charlotte's life as queen of Britain, a life which definitely wasn't all gowns and balls.

The writing was easy to follow, because it wasn't info-dumps and big chunks of facts. Facts and information was woven nicely into the story of Queen Charlotte's life.

NetGalley, Julia Guttzeit

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As shocking as this may sound, I’ve only watched one single episode of the Netflix saga “Bridgerton” before deciding this wasn’t a show for me. And yet, the short mention in the blurb of this book was, amongst other things, why I requested an ARC, the main two reasons being that I had never previously heard of Queen Charlotte and am, by nature, a very curious man.
It was very interesting, too, to delve into this woman’s story. Born into the royal Mecklenburg-Strelitz family in 1744, she grew up in that tiny and rather obscure duchy in northern Germany, one of those countless minor principalities of the rag rug that constituted the territories of the Holy Roman Empire before its inglorious end during the Napoleonic Wars. As a Protestant princess with no political weight whatsoever, she was deemed the perfect bride for king George III of Great Britain and of Ireland. They married in 1761 and in the first years led a perfectly happy and monogamous life—her husband was the rare example of a monarch not frolicking about with concubines and mistresses—which was graced with fifteen (!) children, thirteen of which should reach adulthood.
What should have been a tranquil river for the Queen consort, however, turned out to become a quite tumultuous reign. Not only did the French Revolution happen during that time, then the rise to power of Napoleon, his becoming emperor and fighting a nearly constant war in Europe for two decades, but her husband fell ill, too. A mental illness for which, back then, there was neither cure nor adequate treatment but what today we would consider imprisonment and regular sessions of torture of the sovereign.
Not an easy situation for a woman like Charlotte, who was always more interested in more etheral activities (arts, floriculture, and parks) than politics. As if that weren’t hard enough for her, her children turned out to be nothing like their sobre royal father, especially her sons, who rebelled against their upbringing by scandalous behaviour and liaisons.
Yes, Catherine Curzon’s book drew me in right from the start and remained a pleasant and interesting read all the way till the end. It was the right mix of historical data, well-researched explanations, with personal insights into the Queen’s character, her reactions, her feelings, as far as those can be narrated with accuracy. The book remained devoid of pedantic listings and details but was rich enough to paint a compelling picture of the times the Queen lived in and the characters involved. I don’t regret for a second having requested it and feel like I know more about Queen Charlotte now.

NetGalley, Dieter Moitzi

This is a very approachable book for someone wanting to learn more about Queen Charlotte, British royal history, or 18th century England. Charlotte's life was long, and leads to many plot lines that are interesting, including how her children turned on her when they were grown. I especially enjoyed how Curzon focused on the changing of her relationship with her husband, which lead to many triumphs for their family, but also many heartaches as he spun into a mental health crisis.

NetGalley, Beth Yurs

This book is extremely informative and a nice read. I watch the show Bridgerton on Netflix, so I was really interested to read about the real thing and this was perfect. I know so much more than I did before reading this. The super cool bonus is that it comes with pictures of the real Queen Charlotte and King George III that were really fun to look at. I enjoyed this book quite a lot.

NetGalley, Angel D

As featured in

The Bookseller

I really enjoyed this book, finding it very informative yet in no ways dull. It follows the life of Queen Charlotte, who ruled beside King George III of England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
While it may appear at first to be a short book, a lot of detail is contained within the pages. It clearly traces Charlotte's quiet early life, her early years as Queen, and the struggles that she endured once George's health began failing. Along with the 'narrative' (as this is presented more narratively,) there is an abundance of primary quotations from Charlotte herself, newspapers, and those around her...

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants information on the real "Queen from Bridgerton" or who is interested in the royal families of England.

NetGalley, Elizabeth Weber

This book was super interesting and I really appreciated learning so much about Queen Charlotte and King George III in such an in-depth way. It just adds more layers to Queen Charlotte's story and life, instead of simply "the wife" of King George III.

NetGalley, Nat Anne-Marie

The real Queen Charlotte was very different from the dominating, but likeable Queen in the Bridgerton series. This insightful and sympathetic portrayal gives readers an account of her character, and her many trials and tribulations. She remains likeable, but her tragic life understandably changed her temperament somewhat.

Queen Charlotte and George III had a remarkably happy marriage, enjoying a secluded life. Her main interest was botany and she also kept a menagerie, introducing kangaroos to England. (The kangaroos started to take over the menagerie)! However, the loss of children, her husband's illness and her fight with the Prince Regent sharpened her temper, and she could be difficult. She was definitely very hard on her poor daughters, not wanting them to get married, and keeping them in a 'Windsor nunnery'!

This was an interesting look at Queen Charlotte's tragic life by Catherine Curzon. You really feel for the poor Queen, having to deal with a husband who seemed mad, a rebellious son, and unhappy daughters.

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

I really enjoyed this, a must read if you’re a fan of the time period but anyone with a general interest in women in history will find this fascinating. Really well researched and explained, not too heavy and well written.

NetGalley, Laura Faulkner

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting I never much thought about this historic Queen but I found this book quite interesting and engaging.

NetGalley, Heather Bennett

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story! Highly recommend for history buffs out there.

NetGallley, Heather Michael

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Bridgerton fans love Queen Charlotte. Her wigs, her gowns, her love for gossip...they all make her a most entertaining character. But what I liked about her was her reaction in season 1 to Simon's explanation for why he and Daphne needed to marry: friendship. Catherine Curzon provides an excellent bio of Queen Charlotte, especially with regard to the early years of her marriage to George III. It was a match made out of duty, but friendship blossomed and bloomed into love. That was the lesson Simon and Daphne discovered in their 'courtship'.
What makes Charlotte a tragic figure is how she had to watch her friend and love disappear bit by bit with each crisis the king had. Not only did she have that to deal with, she also had unruly sons bent on gaining power. She also had daughters that she kept on such a short rope that 3 didn't marry until they were in their 30s/40s. Today, that's not such a huge deal; in Charlotte's day, that was absolutely scandalous, especially for royalty. Ultimately, Charlotte suffered much loss, but none so great as the loss of her husband King George.
The book itself is a fast-paced read, separated into 3 acts. One could read it in one sitting or do what I did: read over the course of a several days. Doing the latter will allow for better understanding and empathy. Bridgerton gives a glamorous Queen Charlotte; Curzon gives us the real meat and potatoes Queen Charlotte. Trust me when I say the latter gives more depth and nuance to the former that all who read this book will appreciate.

NetGalley, Mariama Thorlu-Bangura

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I would love to thank Pen & Sword Books for sending me an e-copy of this book and totally enjoyed while reading this book! This is the first book I’ve ever read about Queen Charlotte.

So, let me tell something about this book. It’s a book which tells some informations about the real Bridgerton Court.

The calm and unassuming young couple, Queen Charlotte and King George III, represented a new beginning, but those hopes soon faded. Charlotte and George's marriage lasted nearly 60 years and produced over a dozen children, but it was marred by domestic strife, war in the colonies, and the king's growing insanity.

When Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was still a teenager when she was chosen to be the bride of King George III. She was very shy, pure, and sheltered and also she was an orphan princess. Her youthful groom carried the hopes of a nation on their shoulders.

Charlotte learned what it meant to be queen as the royal couple faced criticism, political opponents, and even members of their own family. The timid young girl grew into an insular and domineering woman that few dared to cross, locked in a bitter struggle with her eldest son for the king's future and with her daughters for their freedom.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz presided over one of the monarchy's most turbulent eras, juggling family feuds, ambitious courtiers, and the care of the man she adored. This is the story of her extraordinary life, as tragic as it was glittering.

NetGalley, Ece Karadag

About Catherine Curzon

CATHERINE CURZON is a historian of old Hollywood and even older royalty.
Catherine has appeared on Radio 4’s PM programme and Dan Snow’s Story of England, as well as radio stations across Europe and the UK. Her work has been featured online by BBC News, BBC History Extra and the Daily Express, and in publications including All About History and Who Do You Think You Are?. Further afield, Catherine’s expertise has been featured by Smithsonian Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, Town & Country, Elle Australia, Der Bund, La Vanguardia and Metrópoles, among others.
She has spoken at venues including Kenwood House, Wellington College, the Royal Pavilion, the National Maritime Museum and Dr Johnson’s House. As one half of Ellie Curzon (with Helen Barrell), her World War Two sagas for Bookouture and Orion have achieved bestseller status in the UK and the US.
Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not cheering for the Terriers, can be found by following the distant strains of Dean Martin. She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill with a rakish gent and a very woolly dog.

Marriage of George III and Queen Charlotte

8th September 1761

Marriage of George III of the United Kingdom to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Queen Charlotte)


View all events View all anniversaries

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