Queen Charlotte: What is King George III’s illness?

Corey Mylchreest as King George III
Corey Mylchreest as King George III in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Pic credit: Netflix

Warning: This article contains spoilers from Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is, first and foremost, a love story, but what is a Shonda Rimes love story without drama?

Based on Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, the Netflix x Shondaland series combines real-life history with fictional events and romances for a juicy and steamy series. 

One thing fans had seen in Bridgerton before the prequel spin-off debuted is that King George, Queen Charlotte’s husband, is not very sound of mind and often doesn’t know where he’s at, who he’s with, or what’s going on. 

This is hinted at in Queen Charlotte and used as a major plot point as King George III is determined not to let Charlotte know that he’s ill. 

Of course, this doesn’t work for him, as his wife will learn all and love him anyway despite his concerns. 

King George’s illness in Bridgerton has similarities with the real King George III, with some dramatized aspects.

The real King George III’s illness

In real life, it’s hard to say what King George III struggled with. He was famously dubbed “the mad king,” and extensive studies have come up with a few possibilities as far as what illness he was suffering from. 

The Royal College of Physicians claimed that King George suffered from acute porphyria, which can impact the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. There is no cure. 

Other sources and studies have come up with other possibilities. Some report that he suffered from bipolar disorder and that he could have suffered from hypomania. 

The Royal Family’s official website says that George became “permanently deranged” in 1801 after severe illness(es). The official website also backs up that George’s instability was caused “by a hereditary physical disorder called porphyria.”

George’s condition reportedly was worsened during “turmoil at home, including the premature death of his youngest daughter Princess Amelia from tuberculosis.”

Exploring King George III’s illness in Bridgerton

In the series, George’s illness debuts early on in Episode 2 and continues to escalate from there. From nervous symptoms to fainting and shaking, George is clearly not stable. 

Bridgerton’s King George has many different diagnoses from different doctors, including nervous disorders and a possibly inflamed cerebellum. 

He employs Dr. Monro, who uses inefficient methods to try to treat George. Dr. John Monro was a real doctor as well who spent his life studying and treating mental illnesses. 

In Queen Charlotte, Dr. Monro is an antagonistic character that Charlotte eventually saves George from, as Dr. Monro’s treatment is only making George’s condition worse.

Although George is worried he will never be able to be a good husband to Charlotte because of his illness, Charlotte assuages his concerns and advises him that she’ll be there no matter what.

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is now streaming on Netflix.

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