‘Queen Charlotte’ Gets Crowned a Netflix Hit

In its first week, the "Bridgerton" spinoff logged 148.28 million hours viewed.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. (L to R) India Amarteifio as Young Queen Charlotte, Corey Mylchreest as Young King George in episode 101 of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2023
"Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story"

Dearest gentle reader: “Queen Charlotte” has been declared a jewel of Netflix’s spring season.

The “Bridgerton” spinoff had a regal first week of streaming, logging 148.28 million hours viewed on Netflix. The streamer announced the viewership numbers via its weekly Top 10 Global English Language TV Show viewership chart, dated May 1-7, which the good Queen unsurprisingly topped at No. 1; the limited series made that ascension with just four days of viewing, after dropping all episodes May 4.

If every viewer who started “Queen Charlotte” finished it during the week, the show would have received roughly 22 million viewers, according to Netflix’s estimates based on the show’s running time. That means the fictionalized King George’s coronation this weekend was likely watched by fewer people compared to that other coronation going on, although it did manage to surpass Charles and Camilla’s UK ratings at the very least.

“Queen Charlotte’s” first week numbers do fall slightly behind the opening viewerships of other recent Netflix hits from this year, including “The Night Agent” (168 million hours), “Ginny & Georgia” Season 2 (180 million hours), and “Outer Banks” Season 3 (154 million hours). That said, all three shows are significantly longer at 10 episodes a pop, whereas “Queen Charlotte” runs a comparatively brief six.

Like a monarch in first place in the line of succession, “Queen Charlotte’s” smash hit status was preordained from its lineage as a “Bridgerton” spinoff. Both seasons of that lusty romance series are among the most widely viewed original titles in Netflix’s library; 2020’s Season 1 ranks at No. 5 on Netflix’s All-Time English TV original list, with 625 million hours viewed, while last year’s Season 2 is at No. 4 with 656 million hours. Netflix determines a show’s “final” viewership number based on its first 28 days of availability.

“Bridgerton” is based on the series of popular Regency-era romance novels by Julia Quinn. Each season focuses on a different sibling in the titular wealthy London family as they navigate the city’s courting scene, get entangled in steamy sexual situations, and ultimately marry their one true love. “Queen Charlotte,” which isn’t based on one of Quinn’s books but did get a novelization that released today, focuses on the show’s version of the real-life Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; in the show’s canon, Charlotte is a Black woman, and her marriage to King George III resulted in the integration of British society. The spinoff tells the story of how the royal pair became engaged, met, married, and eventually fell in love, despite the prejudices Charlotte faces and George’s struggles with severe mental illness.

“Bridgerton” is a production of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland production company. Rhimes doesn’t have any writing involvement in the main series, which was created by Chris Van Dusen, but created “Queen Charlotte” and wrote all but one of the six episodes. Tom Vercia directed all the episodes of the series, which is led by India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest as Charlotte and George. Golda Rosheuvel reprises her “Bridgerton” role as the older Queen Charlotte, with main series cast members Adjoa Andoh and Ruth Gemmell also appearing. Michelle Fairley, Arsema Thomas, Sam Clemmett, Freddie Dennis, and Hugh Sachs round out the cast, and Julie Andrews reprises her “Bridgerton” narration duties as Lady Whistledown.

“Queen Charlotte” isn’t the end of the “Bridgerton” Netflix reign; the main series has been renewed for two more seasons, with Season 3 having already wrapped production.

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