Let’s talk about Queen Charlotte - a Bridgerton story!
Actually, this is my lousy attempt at click-baiting to catch your attention (or perhaps, repel you instead). As much as I would love to discuss “Bridgerton,” this post is about something more important.

Two weeks ago, I binged “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story”. It’s a beautiful and dramatic plot based on a true story (trust me, I have done my historical research comparing fiction with facts) with a brilliant cast and stunning production. But that is not why the show hit a nerve and felt so personal to me, even throwing me off my wagon for a few days.

Attention! Spoilers alert!

It wasn’t that long time ago when the barbaric and heart-breaking methods of treating mental health patients displayed in the series were considered normal. In the Soviet Union, treating dissidents (those who dared to speak up against the regime) in mental health institutions was one of the cruelest forms of punishment (shamefully, still somewhat used in present-day Russia).

Thankfully, mental health has gradually stopped being a stigma in recent years, and there are more and more conversations about its importance and the struggles that people with mental health issues go through.

But it seems that we don’t talk enough about the enormous toll that it takes on someone loving and caring for a person with mental illness and just how traumatiс it is for them, too. And, in my opinion, the show’s creators have succeeded in delicately showing it on screen.

Caregiver stress syndrome, also known as caregiver burden, is a condition characterized by physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. It typically results from a person neglecting their own physical and emotional health while focusing on taking care of their loved one with mental health struggles (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, severe depression, dementia, etc.)

My own experience lasted for only 6 months, but it broke me to pieces and took a couple of years to repair. I was very young and far less pragmatic than I am today, and it taught me a great deal. And I cannot comprehend sacrificing oneself for multiple decades like both fictional and real Queen Charlotte did.

According to historians, Charlotte developed severe depression and change in personality when King George III completely lost his lucidity. The royal couple had 6 daughters and 9 sons (with only 7 of them reaching adulthood). Out of 6 daughters, only one got married, and all of them had no children, staying by their mother’s side.

If you have watched or are planning to watch “Queen Charlotte,” I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

MAY 2023