Tale of Tales – Style

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Kommersant Style talks about the most discussed moments of the new Queen Charlotte series and why historical fiction is so in demand today.

Classics are everywhere today: in addition to the return of the silhouettes of the late 19th century to the catwalks and the expected surge of interest in the mass culture of the nineties and zero, there is a request for costumed historical dramas. With a touch of fiction and fantasy, of course, which makes these stories so attractive. Among the most popular is the HBO Bridgerton saga, which received the most positive reviews from critics and viewers alike. A prequel recently released that focuses on the personal history of Queen Charlotte, née Mecklenburg-Strelitzka, who is one of the main characters in all three seasons. “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” is a six-episode thrilling action in which, in beautifully decorated interiors, beautifully dressed and meticulously coiffed people fall beautifully in love and suffer. The series is about the early days of Charlotte’s reign as queen, and as such, we see younger versions of several of the original Bridgerton’s key characters, including herself, the King, Lady Danbury, and Violet Bridgerton, and how their stories began.

The emphasis in the narrative, as in all of Julia Quinn’s historical romance novels based on which the saga is based, is on the love story. Charlotte (played by India Ria Amarteifio) and King George III (played by Cory Milkrist) are shown at the very beginning of their journey together as spouses. And therefore, the main disputes, of course, are about whether the real George III was actually ill (yes, he was) and how ethical it was to publicize all his fears and weaknesses (why not, the matter is very much in the past). No less interesting is the “Great Experiment”, which allegedly took place in the 1770s and consisted in introducing into the high society people with dark skin, rich aristocrats from African kingdoms who graduated from Eton and live the life of ordinary English gentlemen. It’s all so funny that it looks very entertaining and fresh.

Costumes are interpreted as freely as manners: the queen wears wide skirts, tight and luxuriously decorated corsets and, of course, wigs. The Bridgertons as a whole are known for their diversity and inclusiveness, and the new season is no exception. Like many characters of color on the show, Queen Charlotte, as well as her naturally textured locks, her tall wigs, is another beautiful anomaly in the genre. Every hairstyle of Queen Charlotte is a wig, even if it is a regular afro, but which one is richly decorated with either ribbons or jewels: everything to convey the queen’s regal essence.

“Alternate history television series” is what they call everything that came out under the name “Bridgertons”, but it seems that this alternativeness does not bother anyone. Because when a story is filmed beautifully and with talent, you can turn a blind eye to historical inconsistencies.

Irina Kirienko

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