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The Many Meanings Behind Queen Charlotte’s Hair in Netflix’s Bridgerton

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It’s no secret that just about everyone has fallen in love with Shondaland’s newest period-drama for Netflix, Bridgerton. Set in 19th century England, the show, which was adapted from Julia Quinn’s bestselling book series, follows Daphne Bridgerton (played by Phoebe Dynevor) as she makes her grand debut into high society London’s super-competitive marriage market. It definitely gives off Downton Abbey meets Gossip Girl vibes, especially if you add in the fact that the series is narrated by the mysterious Lady Whistledown, an anonymous gossip-columnist voiced by Julie Andrews.

From all of the delicious scandals to the gorgeous gowns and the classical covers of modern-day pop songs like Ariana Grande’s “thank you next” and Maroon 5’s “Girl Like You”, there was so much to obsess over. But, we have to admit a definite highlight for us was all of the show’s over-the-top hair moments, particularly the ones that came from the scene-stealing Queen Charlotte (played by Golda Rosheuval). Her endless parade of ever-fabulous (and often sky-high) wigs were hard to miss each and every episode.

The mastermind behind these stunning hairstyles is the show’s lead hair and makeup designer Marc Pilcher. Lucky for us, Pilcher (and his team of hairstylists) have been sharing a few of the Queen’s hairstyles on their Instagram pages, showcasing the inspiration behind some of the killer looks as well as behind-the-scenes secrets about them.

All the Hair Looks Started Off With Sketches

When it came to the hair looks for the Queen (as well as the greater Bridgerton cast), Pilcher worked with a talented team of hairstylists to carry out his designs. According to Adam James Phillips, one of the stylists for the show, the starting point for any of the hairstyles was always an initial sketch.

“For every look, Marc and I would discuss his ideas, decide on an idea, then I’d do a little working sketch to check that I’d interpreted what Marc wanted correctly,” he said. “When building so many wigs from scratch, whilst busily shooting at the same time, it really helped me to have a solid plan to follow.”

The Queen’s Massive Afro Wig Was Inspired By Beyoncé

Who could ever forget that ginormous afro that Queen Charlotte wore to a ball in Episode 3?  Well, according to Pilcher the statement-making style was inspired by Queen Bey!

“This wig I designed is a tribute to the Gainsborough style wing of the 1800s but with a modern twist and inspired by the fantastic Beyoncé Knowles as Foxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers,” he wrote in a post. “I think our queen looks just as Foxy.”

While Pilcher was responsible for designing the afro wig, Phillips brought his design to life.

“This wig was comprised of five wigs set on kebab sticks and wooden Dowling, for the tumbling ringlets and then sewn together to create this glorious afro,” Pilcher shared, noting that this was his favorite design for the Queen. “[The wig was] maintained on set with products, provided by  Hask Hair.”

Fans of the show will be surprised to know that this wig was actually uncomfortable for Rosheuvel to wear as it made her scalp feel like it was burning. Phillips revealed that he had to insert metal combs inside the afro to keep her head cool.

The Hastings Ball Hairstyle Paid Tribute to Daphne and Simon

Of all the incredible hair moments that Queen Charlotte had throughout the series, the most significant one is definitely her intricate white wig worn for the Hasting Ball in Episode 8.

Pilcher, who designed the wig, shared that this final look was largely kept a secret from Rosheuval until it was placed on her head.

“The silhouette is of a powdered wig of the period but carried out with a myriad of dreadlocks and bows,” he wrote in a post. “And to top it off with two birdcages, and jewel-encrusted gold cuffs, provided by our brilliant costume designer, Sophie Canale.”

According to Phillips, what makes this wig so special is that it represents both Daphne and Simon Basset, aka the Duke of Hastings (played by Rege-Jean Page).

“The locs are Simon, the bows are Daphne,” he shared on Instagram. “ Are the bows taking over? Two birds living in their own separate gilded cages. Is one about to take flight, or simply stretching their wings…?”

This wig was a massive undertaking for Phillips to execute, who painstakingly worked on this look for weeks, building it one layer at a time.

“I had a lot of help to create this in any spare moment I had in between shooting,” he explained. “Started life as a long, straight wig. Set on 100’s of skewers, baked, turned into locs, cut off, built and stitched on a cage, restitched locs back on and into position, made about 70 hair bows with each one hand-stitched on, added beautiful custom-made cuffs, attached the two cages, gold leafed by hand plus the two birds. A LOT of teamwork!!”

Some of the Queen’s Wigs Never Made It on the Show

According to Phillips, not all of the wigs that he constructed for Queen Charlotte were used for the show, as some were left “on the cutting room floor.” He shared on Instagram a behind-the-scenes look at yet another massive design featuring locs that he created with direction from Pilcher.

“‘Ooh, how about locs? Big sexy one!’ I believe were [Marcs’s] words,” said Phillips, regarding the inspiration for the wig. “The style took 2 wigs to build. Who doesn’t love a wig on a wig?”

As for what went into the wig’s construction process, he had much to say about that as well.

“Straight hair, set on 100’s of skewers, steamed, turned into locs, cut one wig apart and sewn onto the other one, stitched into style, adorned with vintage cuffs from Marc, a light powdering, and topped off with a fabulous crown from the costume department,” Phillips wrote in a post.

At the moment, there has yet to be a confirmation on whether we will all be getting a second season of the scandalous period drama. But after learning all these new details about Queen Charlotte’s major hair moments in the show, it might be a good idea to give the series a rewatch while we wait.

Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix. Be sure to follow @bridgertononnetflix to stay updated on everything happening with the show.

Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor, based in Georgia, covering all things hair at The Tease. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches.