'Queen Charlotte' writer Julia Quinn on writing explicitly Black characters for the primary time with Shonda Rhimes, screen-to-book modifications, 'Bridgerton' season 3, and her secret cameo

  • Warning: Minor spoilers for “Queen Charlotte” season one and its tie-in novel
  • Julia Quinn instructed Insider that she used Shonda Rhimes’ scripts to jot down a brand new e book.
  • Quinn additionally mentioned she needed to be sewn right into a gown for her first “Bridgerton” cameo.

In her newest novel, “Queen Charlotte,” Julia Quinn needed to work with characters she did not initially create for the primary time in “Bridgerton” historical past.

Earlier this month, Netflix premiered a brand new “Bridgerton” spinoff, “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story,” which does not adapt considered one of Quinn’s eight novels within the sequence, however as an alternative tells a completely new origin story set round actor Golda Rosheuvel’s beloved character, Queen Charlotte, within the Netflix present.

This time, Quinn needed to reverse-engineer her writing to adapt present creator Shonda Rhimes’ scripts right into a e book, which is co-authored by Quinn and Rhimes, and is offered in bookstores now.

“Queen Charlotte,” in its novel kind, is just not an actual reproduction of the sequence. For instance, it focuses — save for 2 small scenes — virtually solely on the younger Queen Charlotte’s marriage, coronation, and relationship with King George III. In the meantime, the present has two timelines: one following the younger queen, and the opposite, the older queen. And the e book even delves a little bit deeper by incorporating moments and scenes that have been minimize from the TV present.

Right here, Quinn speaks to Insider about working alongside Rhimes on the novel, how she got here up with a primary title for “Bridgerton” fan-favorite character Brimsley, and her first “Bridgerton” cameo.

Julia Quinn determined early on to not have a twin timeline within the ‘Queen Charlotte’ e book

Shonda Rhimes and India Ria Amarteifio

“Queen Charlotte” is the primary “Bridgerton” sequence the place Shonda Rhimes is the showrunner.

Mike Marsland / WireImage / Netflix

The “Queen Charlotte” novel is an ideal companion piece to the brand new Netflix sequence because it usually reveals a unique standpoint to what we see on display. You wrote the novel based mostly on the script, however how did you resolve what to maintain within the e book and what to vary?

I needed to take issues out, however then I used to be in a position so as to add issues or flesh issues out which you could’t essentially do in a present as a result of, for one factor, in tv, the scenes aren’t as lengthy. You do not go into folks’s heads. I obtained to go of their heads.

I obtained to provide Brimsley a primary title. That was actually enjoyable. I stored emailing all people going, “Does Brimsley have a primary title? Does anyone know if we ever gave him a primary title?” And eventually — it took some time — folks have been like, “No, I do not suppose he does.” And I used to be like, “Sure!”

It taught me rather a lot about what makes a superb script, too. I clearly learn all of the “Bridgerton” scripts, however I by no means needed to analyze them the way in which that I analyzed these scripts. I needed to actually dig in and pull out items and attempt to match them. It was a puzzle, and it used a really totally different a part of the writing mind than I am used to. 

The e book is extra chronological than the sequence. We see King George’s standpoint from the start of the novel, quite than it being a plot twist, like it’s within the TV present. The novel additionally leaves out some storylines from the sequence, equivalent to Woman Danbury’s affair with Violet Bridgerton’s father. How did you resolve the timeline for the novel?

The primary huge resolution was to not embrace the [later] timeline. I simply did not suppose I used to be going to have sufficient room within the e book to do all of it, however I wished no less than the Charlotte and George arc to learn like a romance novel — like what you get in a Julia Quinn romance novel.

Everyone knows what’s gonna occur to him, however we do not essentially want it in our faces as we’re watching them fall in love. After which, after that, I actually wished to run chronologically in a method that it did not within the present. Particularly as a result of I used to be going to be in 4 totally different factors of view, and I did not need George to return in midway via. 

I ended up not together with the entire subplot about Agatha and Violet’s dad, primarily as a result of I had taken out the opposite timeline — I felt like a lot of that needed to do along with her later friendship with Violet.

bridgerton lady violet

Ruth Gemmell performs Woman Violet on “Bridgerton.”


Since Queen Charlotte’s marriage ceremony was in 1761, Violet’s inclusion within the “Queen Charlotte” present makes her virtually 20 years older than followers beforehand thought. Did this affect your resolution to not embrace Violet within the novel, because the earlier books set up that she was born in 1766?

No, it was actually what labored for the story. Already, the timeline was off even earlier than they did “Queen Charlotte.”

If you happen to have a look at the “Bridgerton” present, Queen Charlotte needs to be older than she is. So, they have been already fudging all of the timelines. And I feel the showrunners are very upfront about that.

It is like a cleaning soap opera the place any individual goes away to summer season camp and comes again they usually’re like 25. 

To what extent did “Queen Charlotte” showrunner Shonda Rhimes will let you select what to chop from and add to the story?

I just about had free rein. For the bigger issues, I checked it out first, as a result of I truthfully did not wish to put in a ton of labor on one thing after which have somebody be like, “Whoa, no, you possibly can’t do this.”

Earlier than I actually obtained transferring on the truth that we weren’t going to incorporate Violet’s dad, I emailed Shonda and I mentioned, “I feel I am gonna depart this out as a result of X, Y, Z,” and he or she was superb. She’s like, “No, no, you understand how to jot down a novel. You do what you do greatest,” which was extremely gratifying particularly as a result of I like Shonda a lot.

Quinn mentioned that the historical past of Reynolds, the king’s secretary, was minimize from the ‘Queen Charlotte’ sequence regardless of being within the authentic script

Sam Clemmett and Freddie Dennis as young Brimsley and Young Reynolds.

Sam Clemmett and Freddie Dennis as younger Brimsley and Younger Reynolds.

Nick Wall / Netflix

How did you choose Bartholomew as Brimsley’s first title?

It simply appeared proper. I used to be identical to, “Bartholomew Brimsley. Effectively, there you go. That is his title.”

After I launched him within the very starting of his chapter, I felt like I needed to put his full title. And solely as soon as did anyone ever use it. I feel one time Reynolds goes, “Bartholomew,” and in order that was this second of intimacy as a result of no one ever referred to as any individual’s first title. I do not suppose Reynolds obtained a primary title although.

We be taught extra about Reynolds within the e book than within the sequence, particularly the second when he tells Brimsley about being assigned as a playmate to King George as a toddler.

Effectively, here is an fascinating tidbit that comes from the script. And for some cause, it did not find yourself within the present. I embellished it a little bit bit nevertheless it actually comes from the script. And after I watched the present, I bear in mind ending being like, “The place was that dialog?” I am trying on the script, I am like, “I do know that was right here.” I do not know why that did not find yourself within the script.

Have been you instructed why it by no means made the ultimate minimize?

No, however I by no means requested. Who is aware of? Most likely time. I do marvel in the event that they obtained it on movie someplace. I might be excited to see whether or not it was filmed as a result of I feel it is a phenomenal second. I want I might made that every one up. I like that backstory.

Cyril Nri and Arsema Thomas as Lord and Lady Danbury in "Queen Charlotte."

Cyril Nri and Arsema Thomas as Lord and Woman Danbury in “Queen Charlotte.”

Liam Daniel / Netflix

One other fascinating distinction between the e book and the sequence is the portrayal of Lord Danbury. Within the e book, we solely see him via Woman Danbury’s eyes, and it’s a extra light portrayal of the character than within the present. Did you’ve this in thoughts once you have been writing the novel?

His character was most likely a part of the e book that I had essentially the most enter from Shonda about. You’ve got obtained the factors of view of two Black girls, however you do not see that a lot kind of Black manhood. And one of many issues that Shonda talked to me about was wanting to essentially present this nuance with Agatha. I imply, she actually did not like this man, however she understood what he had been going via, and he or she hated how he had been handled.

I used to be very aware when writing him to have that little spark of sympathy in her, and questioning what may he have been if he’d ever been allowed to shine.

I actually labored onerous on it as a result of, clearly, I haven’t got the expertise of a Black particular person, and so that’s one thing that I actually did flip to Shonda for recommendation on. It did not happen to me how a lot we wanted to convey it in, and he or she actually helped me perceive that.

The “Bridgerton” e book sequence has been criticized prior to now for not being various. What was it prefer to convey each race and LGBTQ+ illustration into the e book sequence for the primary time?

It was thrilling, truthfully. I feel for a very long time, too, I actually thought, “I am unable to put Black characters within the books as a result of I do not wanna whitewash issues. I do not wanna sanitize traumatic previous.”

And so, I’m extremely grateful to the world of Shondaland for exhibiting me how it may be finished, and for inviting me to participate on this venture the place I can do that, and work with Shonda, and develop a lot as a author and a human.

Quinn mentioned she determined to cameo in ‘Queen Charlotte’ on the final minute and needed to be sewn right into a gown

Julia Quinn and her son in "Queen Charlotte" episode six.

Julia Quinn and her son in “Queen Charlotte” episode six.


I feel you’ve got talked about earlier than a Woman Featherington or Violet Bridgerton spinoff sequence. Who would you most prefer to see in one other “Bridgerton” spinoff e book or sequence?

I might be enthusiastic about any of the characters, truthfully. I like the Mondriches, too. 

I am afraid to say anyone particularly as a result of I am afraid folks suppose I do know issues and I don’t. Typically folks suppose, “Julia Quinn’s leaving hints on her web site in secret code.” I am actually impressed you suppose I am that good, however, no. I am not leaving any secret hints in any method.

Season three of “Bridgerton” is at the moment in manufacturing. Have you ever learn the scripts but?

I’ve learn it. It is superb. I am unable to inform you something apart from that.

When season three was introduced, it was revealed that the present will concentrate on Colin and Penelope, quite than Benedict, who’s the following brother in line going by e book order. How do you are feeling about that?

I feel they’d simply felt they’d laid down a lot groundwork as a result of we already know Penelope.

We’ve not met Benedict’s love curiosity. I suppose individuals are gonna say, “They may have launched her.” However the reality of the matter is, we have not. And what I attempt to inform folks is, look, as soon as a personality has their season, we do not see them as a lot, proper? So, for those who love Benedict, you need him to attend so long as attainable.

He may very well be the final one…

Effectively, I do not know if he may go after Hyacinth and Gregory as a result of they’re so little, however nonetheless, push him again so we get extra Benedict this fashion.

Violet Bridgerton playing with two babies.

Violet Bridgerton taking part in with two infants in “Queen Charlotte” episode two.


I seen that within the present, there is a scene in episode two the place Violet Bridgerton is taking part in with two infants. Now we have already been launched to Simon and Daphne’s first baby in season two. Is that this affirmation they’ve had one other child?

I feel that should have been. I truthfully cannot bear in mind if it is talked about in season three, however I feel it was simply kind of like, that is how time goes.

However I’ll present you one factor that you simply clearly missed: My cameo.

I missed that. Which scene have been you in?

I am in episode six. It is the scene the place Agatha and Adolphus are strolling and he or she sees Lord Ledger and will get type of upset. I am simply on a bench gossiping, however you undoubtedly see me.

What was it like to have the ability to lastly seem in “Bridgerton,” and did you request the cameo?

It was tremendous enjoyable. I’ll inform you, it was scorching. Do you keep in mind that heatwave England had final summer season? It was really proper earlier than it, so it was not as unhealthy because it may have been, however that week was actually scorching and all people was complaining concerning the warmth.

I do not put on wigs and stuff, so it was an expertise. They actually needed to sew me into that robe.

It was a complete last-minute factor. My son is definitely in it with me, and he was going to do it. After which on the final minute, I used to be like, “Oh, I am going to do it too.” I hadn’t wished to earlier than as a result of it really takes numerous time and I need to have the ability to see every thing. [I live] so distant from the place they movie, so I do not get to go fairly often. However that point I made a decision to as a result of I had extra time on set than I’ve had earlier than.

Do you suppose you may make an look within the flagship “Bridgerton” present?

I do not know. If I play the identical particular person, they’ve to essentially age me. Positively not in season three, as a result of they completed filming, and I did not do it. 

“Queen Charlotte,” written by Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes, is that can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and different bookstores. “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” is offered to stream on Netflix.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.