Since its premiere in 2020, Bridgerton has charmed millions viewers’ and captured their hearts with its ultra-stylized, yet modern spin on the Regency-era aesthetic. Whether you’re a fan of the series for its steamy romances and witty takes on social politics or simply the elegant attire and towering hair accompanied by exquisite English accents, the newest extension of the Bridgerton will leave you with nothing but a warm heart.
With the most recent addition to the Bridgerton universe — Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, premiering just last month on Netflix — comes even more extravagant embroidered gowns and updos reaching new heights.
A prequel to Bridgerton, the six-episode miniseries created by Shonda Rhimes follows Queen Charlotte’s rise to royal power following her wedding to King George. When we first meet young Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio), she’s in quite a defiant yet vulnerable time. On top of being thrown into her foreign roles and duties as the Queen of England, Charlotte endures various microaggressions — individuals trying to rub the “brown” off her skin, her skin tone being lightened in portraits, and the lightness of skin tone of her and the king’s potential heirs being put into question.
There is a memorable moment in the series when young Queen Charlotte is about to walk down the aisle, on full display of the disapproving royal court, to meet her new husband, King George (Corey Mylchreest). Denying her soon-to-be-mother-in-law’s wishes, she wears an ornate custom-made gown rather than an old-fashioned satin garb. Her hair is styled in its proud natural state — a large afro, which is an example of her standing her ground and refusing to conform to royal ideals by hiding her “moor” heritage.
This scene plays a key role in the origin of the story of the uncompromising Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) that we have all come to know and love in the Bridgerton series, whose large stature and extravagantly adorned textured wigs are a friendly reminder that, just like her hair, Queen Charlotte is THE main character.
When cultivating the many hairstyles of Queen Charlotte, it was crucial for Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’s lead hairstylist Nic Collins to revolve the creation of the wig collection around each character, their story progression, and most importantly their natural hair texture. The series’ collection included roughly 1,500 wigs,15 of those dedicated to Queen Charlotte’s character. Some wigs were composed of up to eight separate parts, with toppers individually molded to the actors’ heads to help distribute the immense weight they offered.
Using the Regency period’s original hair shapes and styles as core inspiration, the hair department worked within those parameters leading with a more contemporary and diverse direction. The hair team incorporated centuries of Black hairstyles like coils and braid work to create something that has yet to be represented when it comes to 18th century style. Collins and her team wanted to include every type of hair texture that authentically exists.
“From the tightest, curliest coil of hair to the straightest, smoothest of hair, we wanted all the textures in there. We wanted them to be represented equally across the board. It was really important that we did that” says Collins.
With the help of her team, Collins relied on anything from thin skewers and wood doweling to 18th century influenced wire cages to achieve the desired Regency era results — lots and lots of curls. The thin skewers, like matches, were used to create extremely tight textured curls while the larger wooden dowels were used to create looser curls. From there, the wigs were quite literally baked in the oven to ensure the curls’ vitality. Similar to the 18th century, the team built wire cages inside of the wigs to hold the hair’s shape in place.
By the time production on Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story was in full swing, Collins and her team were able to effortlessly execute Amarteifio’s extravagant hair and makeup designs, nailing the full process in just an hour! First, Amarteifio’s hair was braided and then the wig was secured on top. To achieve Amarteifio’s various looks, Collins and her team used her natural hair tone and texture and combined it with an 18th century afro style.
To no surprise, Rosheuvel’s looks are much more over the top and unique than Amartefio’s — double the height and much bolder. The older Queen Charlotte is known for her gigantic hairstyles coming in all different shapes and adorned in anything from bows and flowers to pearls and jewels. In true Queen Charlotte style, she chooses to go against societal norms by wearing wigs that embrace a lighter color palette, gray wigs. As the series continues, we see the evolution of Queen Charlotte’s hair. With each ball comes a slightly larger and more detailed wig — a familiar resemblance to the Queen Charlotte that we know from Bridgerton.
Don’t worry, the story doesn’t end just yet. With the announcement of Bridgerton’s renewal for a fourth season, there is no better time to catch up with the series. Sit back, relax, and get ready to sip on your favorite tea because along with all of the scandalous drama, Queen Charlotte’s hair moments are just as good!
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now streaming on Netflix. Be sure to follow @bridgertonnetflix to stay updated on everything happening with the show.