Was Queen Charlotte The UK’s First Black Queen? 

New Netflix show Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story has gained a 95% popularity rate on the streaming service, and it tells the love story between young Queen Charlotte and King George of England.

The show has been sparking conversation about whether she was the first black Queen. On today’s The Briefing, British historian Cindy McCreery joins co-host Jan Fran to explain why. 

McCreery said some historians suggested that Queen Charlotte had African ancestry, and the evidence went back to an individual in the 11th century. However, Charlotte was born in 1774, in the 18th century.  

The other point to make is that in the 18th century, the concepts of race were very different from what they are today,”

McCreery said. 

She said that people didn’t see race in the 18th century as based on a distinct scientific difference in people’s background DNA. Instead, they understood it more in cultural terms. 

McCreery said there was not much evidence here to prove Queen Charlotte’s African heritage, and most importantly, people at the time didn’t see her as African. 

I think that’s a huge liberty that the show is taking, and I must say, as a historian, I think it’s super dangerous. They say that this is fiction based on fact; I think this is fiction based on fantasy, and it’s dangerous fiction,”

she added.

McCreery said the fiction was dangerous because the fantasy showed that black people were accepted, and there were managed to have access to status and wealth, denying Britain’s involvement in the salve trade.

We don’t need more fantasies about the one per cent. We need more histories and more shows that talk about the experiences of ordinary people. So as a historian, I feel like this reinforces the sense that only rich title people matter.” 

Subscribe to The Briefing, Australia’s fastest-growing news podcast on Listnr today. The Briefing serves up the latest news headlines and a deep dive into a topic affecting you. All in under 20 minutes.