Bridgerton is back for season 2 on Netflix, and with it comes more high-society hijinks and romantic power plays during the Regency-era social season.
Actresses Golda Rosheuvel And Adjoa Andoh, who play both Queen Charlotte and Lady Danbury respectively sat with ESSENCE alongside Ruth Gemmel who portrayed Lady Violet Bridgerton, to talk about what’s in store for fans during season two, and how their portrayal as aristocratic Black women in Recency London actually reveals historic truths through societal misconceptions.
As Rosheuvel and Andoh reveal, this season delves deeper into each of their individual characters. We see more of The King, and how his relationship with the Queen impacts her moves. Lady Danbury is actively attempting to redeem an old mistake through her dealings with the new family in town, the Sharmas. As she guides them through social season, she’s confronted with a view of her younger self and desperately trying to correct old wrongs.
All of the social matriarchs, Lady Bridgerton, Lady Danbury, and Queen Charlotte, forge a deepening bond while playing the marriage game in high society.
With that, the impact of portraying rich, powerful, respected Black women in a society notorious for its mistreatment of African descendants is not lost on these actresses. However, they see it as important to note that they aren’t portraying a fantasy or remixing our history on the show – they’re actually portraying what’s real.
“We’re putting history back into history. These women were there,” Andoh said. “Queen Charlotte was descended from Alfonso III of Portugal and an African woman from a nation that Portugal traded with, the kingdom of Benin. So, she may well have been part of the royal household.”
In fact, Andoh explains, there were many people of African descent living in Regency London, making their own fortunes, marrying into wealth, and living this highly respectable, well-moneyed lifestyle.
“There were lots of women who had bought themselves out of slavery in the West Indies who made fortunes, who came to the UK not impoverished, she continued. “British aristocracy married these women because they needed them.”
“1/5 of the British Navy was of African heritage. 20,000 black people, many of them who had fought with the British in the independence wars in America, ended up in London in this period,” she explained. “So it’s not a documentary, it’s a fabulous drama…there’s a whole world of storytelling of history from this time period.”
For Rosheuvel, the impact of the representation the show provides for millions hit her during one of this season’s more iconic scenes.
“One of the really powerful moments in Bridgerton season two for me was when the Sharmas are introduced. They go to the ball and the doors open and you see Simone [Ashley], Charithra [Chandran], Shelly [Conn], and your good self, Adjoa, all walking towards the camera,” she said. “These beautiful black and brown faces walking towards the camera, in their full glory and celebration.”
Bridgerton Season 2 premieres on Netflix today, March 25, 2022.