‘Queen Charlotte’: Arsema Thomas Explains How Falling in Love Sets Lady Danbury Free

WARNING: If you’ve not seen Queen Charlotte, you might not want to read this.


Netflix’s new hit series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story finally gives fans of the Regency romp the backstory on how young Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) changed the ‘Ton forever with her royal love story. It also, shockingly, reveals that young Lady Danbury (Arsema Thomas) was the true power behind the “Great Experiment.”

As a young woman trapped in a loveless marriage to an abusive older man, Agatha Danbury saw inclusion in the highest echelons of society as her ticket to freedom. Freedom from the racist slights of England’s white upper class, freedom to enjoy privileges she never had before, and — most importantly — freedom from her husband Herman Danbury’s (Cyril Nri) unwanted sexual advances.

While Charlotte’s mixed race background spurred Princess Augusta (Michelle Fairley) to make social concessions to the ‘Ton’s wealthy landowners of color, it was Lady Danbury’s tenacity that really shaped the post-racial society of Netflix’s Bridgerton series. And Lady Danbury’s Queen Charlotte storyline might have came with the most surprises for Bridgerton fans…

We learn in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story that Agatha Danbury was groomed from a young age to marry Herman Danbury, a displaced African king who saw his wife as nothing more than a submissive sex object. When we meet her in the prequel series, she’s already had several children and suffers through routine bouts of marital rape.

Even though the Danburys were invited to the Royal Wedding of Charlotte and her King George (Corey Mylchreest), they and their fellow Brits of color soon learn that not all doors are opening for them the way they should. Every time the newly installed Lord Danbury finds himself rebuffed on racial grounds, he goes to his wife’s bed.

This pushes Lady Danbury to do all she can through her friendship with Queen Charlotte and her arrangement with Princess Augusta to forward her people’s cause in society.
Lord Danbury (Cyril Nri) and Young Lady Danbury (Arsema Thomas) in ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’

While Agatha might have loathed her Lord Danbury, Arsema Thomas told Decider that actor Cyril Nri was “amazing” to work with on set.

I mean for the discomfort that I show in a lot of those scenes, he is one of the most gracious people and really made me feel quite comfortable. He’d be singing between takes. It just became a joke the moment they yelled ‘Cut!’ And so that allowed me to be, I don’t know, more into the character rather than worrying about my own comfort as Arsema.

But I think those situations just show that she had never really had any opportunity to be her true self until when she does. I think in all different ways, a lot of the characters are imprisoned until they can step into their own freedom.


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