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Bridgerton is More Historically Accurate Than You Might Assume

Bridgerton is the background image, overlaid by key characters in the series. An African American woman sits atop the photo saying “hmmm.”
Source: Wikipedia/Canva

Between Netflix hits Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, theories have flown about regarding the true historical accuracy of each period drama. While each series hits the mark for diversity and quality, are they truly accurate? Here’s what we know.

Previous period dramas haven’t even been close to correct. 

Enthusiasts at Empoword Journalism concluded that prior historical dramas focused more on the storyline and characters rather than the history textbooks, opting for creative liberty rather than adherence to historical happenings. 

The Queen Charlotte series is the most recent example of historical accuracy, beginning with the diversity that we see in the series. Many experts estimate that there were about 20,000 people of color living in England at the time, especially in urban locations (like London).

Exploring intersections between history and diversity 

While the Ton might not have been as accepting as the version we see in Queen Charlotte, there were few exceptions — allowing for some level of diversity visibility even in the olden days of the queen herself. 

Empoword Journalism references Dido Elizabeth Belle, specifically, who was a prominent socialite and a person of color herself. She is thought to have lived during the same period as Queen Charlotte, living the life of an aristocrat in Britain at the time. 

She made historical headlines for her background, as her birth was out of wedlock. Her family, members of the Ton, had raised her proudly — which was a rarity for families of the time. 

Another example that Empoword points to is John Blanke of the Tudor period, who was historically recognized as a prominent trumpeter for Henry VII and VIII, respectively. He was shown on tapestries and in paintings, further enforcing him as a person of power and worth to the kingdom at a time when diversity came under fire. 

Lastly, we’d like to reference Catalina of Motril — Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Katherine of Aragon herself. She was a notable servant who had been called to be a witness to her annulment trial, as there was doubt circulating that the marriage had been consummated. 

Areas of divergence: How does Bridgerton vary from history’s view of races and diversity? 

While Bridgerton is generally believed to have “ace” the area of diverse representation as we would have seen out on the Ton, Empoword noted that there was little reference of the strain and malignment that many people of color would have experienced in England at that point in time. 

It is widely known historically that those in the region were thought to have been harsh at best and fairly racist at worst to those who they saw differently. 

While the series misses these realities that were commonplace for so many at the time, it is one of few period dramas to emphasize diversity — pointing to a more hopeful and inclusive future as others see representation on the silver screen.


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