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Queen Charlotte—The Battle Against Mental Health Stigma

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Providence chapter.

All fans of Bridgerton have been flocking to Netflix and obsessing over the binge-worthy new spinoff, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Fans of the original show know the strong, stubborn, manipulative queen who resides on the throne of England. However, we knew minimal information of how she became the queen she is today. Her story is a riveting one, and it has come to light through this prequel series.

In Bridgerton, viewers were granted only a peek into the life of Queen Charlotte. It was clear that though she could be meddlesome—and at some points cruel—with the young couples on the show, she loved her husband dearly. It was apparent from even the first season that the queen knew what it was like to love and be loved. We also knew that although the king was still alive, he was ill and not often lucid. 

Through Queen Charlotte, viewers not only watch her rise to power, they also watch her battle for her husband’s sanity. The theme of mental health was embedded throughout the 6 episode series, even though viewers were kept in the dark about the King’s disorder in the first few episodes. Charlotte stood by her husband for the entirety of his life and swore that she would be there to anchor him. In a heartfelt moment after firing his doctor, she stated, “I care not for his sanity. I care for his happiness. I care for his soul. Let him be mad if mad is what he needs.” Every other character in the show looked at George as a problem that needed fixing or a mess that needed cleaning. Charlotte was the only one who saw him as he was—just George.

Mental health awareness is still commonly stigmatized in today’s society. The stakes for being a “madman” were certainly more dangerous in the era of Bridgerton, yet it speaks volumes that the problem still persists today. People should not need to hide themselves for the comfort of others. People should feel free to seek the help they need without fear of judgment. Most importantly, people are made up of more than just one piece. When everyone looked at George, they saw “the Mad King.” That is all they saw. They didn’t see the loving husband and father, the astronomer, the farmer—George. 

People with mental health issues are more than their diagnosis. They deserve to be treated like the humans they are. It should be understood that their diagnosis is just one piece of their story and it does not define them. His whole life, George was defined by his illness and undertook numerous inhumane treatments to try to find a cure to appease those around him. Charlotte was the only person who saw him. It is a hope that in today’s society we can end the stigma and recognize that mental health is real and important. It is crucial to look beyond labels and see the person as they are.

Samantha Dietel

Providence '23

Samantha Dietel is a senior Psychology and Elementary/Special Ed double major and is co-president of the Providence chapter of HC. She loves to stay involved on campus and is a choreographer for Dance Club, participates in Active Minds, PAWS, and is a member of the Psi Chi honor society. As a local near Providence, she enjoys guiding her friends around the city and showing them what it has to offer. Samantha also enjoys reading, spending time with friends, and a good binge-watch.