The Untold Truth About Bridgerton's Golda Rosheuvel

Actor Golda Rosheuvel plays Queen Charlotte in "Bridgerton." Netflix's hit series from TV queen Shonda Rhimes follows British high society in Regency-era England. "Bridgerton" is fiction, but Queen Charlotte is rooted in history. According to People, many historians believe Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz to be the first biracial royal, a fact that Rosheuvel celebrates about the character.

Rosheuvel was born in Guyana, but her family moved to the U.K. while she was growing up. She is a British actor and singer who is well known for her theatrical work, and she has received international attention for her work as Queen Charlotte. A few of her film and television credits include "Lady Macbeth," "Luther," and "Silent Witness."

Much of Rosheuvel's life has been spent honoring her dual heritage and celebrating traditions from her mother and father. This translated into her work, too, where — more often than not — she found herself playing a character that represented her father's Guyanese heritage. Finally, with "Bridgerton," Rosheuvel has opened up about what an honor it is to play a role that pays homage to her mom's English traditions, too.

Keep reading to discover the untold truth about the Guyana-born British actor.

Golda Rosheuvel comes from a creative family

Golda Rosheuvel started pursuing a creative career in acting and theater at the age of 16, but her love of the arts started long before that. In fact, it was instilled in her from birth. "I come from a very musical family," she explained to Broadway World. "We've always sung, my father played instruments, my mom was in an orchestra, my brother too. So it's in the blood, I suppose!" Along with a love of singing, the "Bridgerton" star admitted to Shondaland she's absolutely "mad about country music."

Music wasn't just an important part of Rosheuvel's childhood, but also a large part of her family history. In fact, music had a special place in her parents' love story. Her mom was staying with family in Barbados, and while there, she started singing with the local church choir, where she met her husband-to-be. "My dad started to sing and my mum said that it was the most beautiful thing she had ever heard," the actor revealed to Tatler. "It ignited the flames of love," she added.

It wasn't just music she was exposed to from a young age, either. Theatricality was "always an everyday thing," she said to Broadway World. So, it's probably not a surprise that Rosheuvel became an actor and musical theater star!

She's a lover of poetry

"Bridgerton" star Golda Rosheuvel's love of the arts extends beyond music to literature, too. Rosheuvel, who is very active on social media, often shares images and captions of her favorite poems with her fans online. Notably, she has shared the poem "Pretty Ugly" by Abdullah Shoaib multiple times on her Instagram page, once in 2019 and again in 2020. "One of my favourites," she wrote alongside a picture of the poem. The "clever" poem can be read traditionally and in reverse, and is a powerful commentary on self-worth and inner beauty. This is a topic which Rosheuvel regularly highlights on her Instagram feed by sharing quotes and cartoon memes.

Rosheuvel doesn't just love poetry; the British actor loves reading in general. In a Q&A with Shondaland which celebrated the release of "Bridgerton's" first season, Rosheuvel revealed that one of the books she loves to read is the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, "The Secret Garden." "My mother read it to me and it stuck," she recalled, noting that it is her favorite book from childhood.

As a teenager, Rosheuvel preferred athletics over acting

Golda Rosheuvel's acting career, which began when she was a teenager, spans more than three decades. The actor has starred in everything from Shakespearean theater, to British soaps, to Netflix's comedy-drama "Bridgerton." However, up until the age of 16, acting wasn't on her radar as anything more than a hobby. In fact, she had another wildly different passion that she was more interested in pursuing as a career.

She wanted to be an Olympic athlete. "From a very early age I thought, 'I'm going to be in the Olympics. I want to be in the decathlon' — it was the time of Tessa Sanderson, Daley Thompson, Flo-Jo Joyner. But I loved it all. I played hockey and netball and swam for my county. I broke records for my four-by-four relay, my javelin, my long-jumping. It was full-on," Rosheuvel revealed to Tatler.

However, Rosheuvel's Olympic dream came crashing down after an ankle injury at the age of 16. She had to take a break from sports and started seriously pursuing acting instead. Though this injury meant she had to give up playing sports at a competitive level, Rosheuvel remains very active and shares snaps from her hikes and adventures on Instagram.

This is where you might have seen Golda Rosheuvel before

While she may have only gained international recognition in 2020 for her role as Queen Charlotte in "Bridgerton," Golda Rosheuvel has spent decades in the entertainment industry. The actor got her start on the stage, appearing in productions of "Macbeth," "Angels in America," and "The American Clock."

In the early aughts, Rosheuvel also began transitioning into screen roles, bagging guest spots in popular British television shows like "Casualty," "Eastenders," and "Luther." Rosheuvel then scored a two-episode arc in the British crime drama "Silent Witness," which she called "a dream come true." She told Broadway World that, as a fan, she's watched the series since it first premiered on BBC One in 1996. "It's one of my most favourite British TV shows," Rosheuvel explained, adding that she would always be up for a regular role in the series. "That would be another dream of mine, to be a regular in it. I'm going to put that out there into the universe, that's what I would like!"

After the premiere of "Bridgerton" on Christmas Day 2020, Rosheuvel scored her most notable film role to date. She shared the screen with Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Timothée Chalamet, and Zendaya in "Dune," one of the biggest films of 2021. Celebrating her role in the film franchise, Rosheuvel took to Instagram to share a photo of her character. "Here she is! The Shadout Mapes! Played by the wonderful Talented Linda Hunt in the 1984 Dune Movie and now ME!" she wrote.

Golda Rosheuvel considers herself 'blessed' to be a gay Black woman

"There's not a lot of us around who are gay, female, Black, and I'm very privileged and blessed to be one of them," Golda Rosheuvel told Page Six in 2021. The out and "proud" actor has always known she was a lesbian, even from a young age. "Like everything in my life, I just knew what I was; it was natural," she explained to Tatler. Since coming out in her 20s, Rosheuvel has gravitated toward roles which reflect who she is — a proud Black lesbian. The actor does her best to facilitate representation in every role she plays and to create space for others like her — not just as Queen Charlotte in "Bridgerton," either.

In 2017, she played a female version of Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet." She enjoyed breaking down the barrier on what is traditionally known as a male role and, thanks to the direction of Gemma Bodinetz, she had a "wonderful time" starring in the production, per Broadway World. Rosheuvel continued breaking gender barriers, playing the typically male Othello in the Shakespeare play of the same name. "This is the first time I've played the lead ... I could jump on a bandwagon and say it's because I'm Black, I'm a woman, and gay. But maybe it's also because my career has always been very eclectic. And I love that. I'm always looking for things that interest me, that are different," she told The Guardian.

She's a passionate vegan

A whole host of celebs — from the likes of Joaquin Phoenix and Maggie Q — have been leading plant-based lives for decades. Among their vegan ranks is actor Golda Rosheuvel. "I've been a vegan for, God ... 15 years now or so," the "Bridgerton" star revealed to The Outnet. "I was a vegan before it was cool to be vegan," she quipped. However, Rosheuvel later revealed to Tatler that before her passion for veganism took over, she ate very traditional meat-heavy meals with her family that celebrated her dual heritage. "I used to love jerk chicken and rice," she admitted.

Although the actor didn't reveal why she now prefers a plant-based diet, she did explain that her veganism extends beyond just food. "I'm really interested now in sustainability and fashion being sustainable," Rosheuvel said, noting that vegan fashion is all quite new to her. Although, it's not new to the "Bridgerton" fashion department who, according to the actor, have quite a circular approach to Queen Charlotte's wardrobe. Instead of a "brand new wardrobe," Rosheuvel's character will be "mixing and matching" items from the first season, she told The Outnet. "There possibly could be some stuff that you've seen before but twisted in a different way, matched with something else," she explained.

Rosheuvel speaks out about politics and social justice whenever she can

From Leonardo DiCaprio to Alyssa Milano, celebrity activists are doing their part to support important environmental and social causes wherever they can. Actor Golda Rosheuvel is another star who uses her platform to discuss politics and social justice. After Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn in, Rosheuvel celebrated her appointment during an interview with Forbes. "Gosh, isn't it a wonderful time to be alive?" she gushed. "The celebration of Black people and people in privileged and poignant positions of power is an amazing thing, and it is to be celebrated, definitely. The time is now, the time is so right for this, to move us forward into a more positive, a more inclusive, a world that represents everybody," Rosheuvel said.

As an actor, she's doing what she can to bring an end to racism, too. Rosheuvel acknowledges the parallels between Harris and her character, Queen Charlotte, who are both women of color in leadership positions. Even though her character is rooted in historical fiction, her appearance goes a long way to improving representation on and off the screen. "Racism is learned. And if it's learned, I think it can be unlearned. And I think storytelling can help with that unlearning," Rosheuvel told the Stabroek News.

She celebrates the representation in Bridgerton

As Queen Charlotte in "Bridgerton" — Netflix's fifth-biggest original series launch of all time — Golda Rosheuvel has earned rave reviews.

Rosheuvel told Glamour that Queen Charlotte was a role she never even dreamed about playing. "I just wasn't represented. There weren't people that looked like me playing roles like this," she said. "But in terms of representation of color, it's a beautiful, enriching time now. And Netflix is the perfect platform for a show like ours because it's global. The audience can see themselves be represented. And I feel very, very blessed to be part of that."

With the support of the "Bridgerton" book series author Julia Quinn, Rosheuvel was cast to reflect Queen Charlotte's suspected African heritage. She told Insider that it was "empowering" playing this character and knowing that "a person in the 1800s could have been fighting for her people and could have been fighting for representation." However, with that said, "Bridgerton" is a series very much rooted in fiction, so Rosheuvel didn't do too much research to transform herself into this historic character. "Our 'Queen Charlotte' is the 'Queen Charlotte' of the world of Bridgerton," she told Forbes. "We're not doing a biopic ... We're creating a fantasy world of which a historical character has been put into," Rosheuvel explained.

Her mom helped her get into character to play Queen Charlotte

"Cream teas, country houses, and the English countryside" are the things Golda Rosheuvel said she has in common with her "Bridgerton" character Queen Charlotte, per Shondaland. It's thanks to her mom that she didn't have to brush up on these English traditions before filming.

In a January 2021 interview with Essence, the British actor discussed how she brought Queen Charlotte to life. Rosheuvel revealed how her British mother helped her channel the queen: "This is the first time that I wasn't playing a role that didn't completely revolve around me being Black. So for me, this is the first time [I've] been able to tap into my mother's side. Do you know what I mean? That side of me that loves afternoon tea and scones with clotted cream and jam, that loves horse riding through the countryside. So when channeling Queen Charlotte, I thought about my mom. I don't know whether my mum pouted, but [I] definitely channeled her with great pride and honor."

Rosheuvel's mom sadly died in 2020, before "Bridgerton" aired, so she never got to see her daughter bring these English traditions to life in the series. However, the actor thinks her mom would be proud, and she enjoyed having the opportunity to channel her for the project. "To be able to celebrate her is a real, real joy and blessing," she said during an appearance on "The Graham Norton Show."

The star originally auditioned to play a different character in Bridgerton

Believe it or not, the role of Queen Charlotte wasn't even on Golda Rosheuvel's radar when she originally auditioned for "Bridgerton." She came in and read for the part of Lady Danbury which, as viewers will know, went to Adjoa Andoh, per Forbes.

Despite not getting the part she auditioned for, Shondaland execs were so impressed with Rosheuvel's performance that she was asked back to read for the role of Queen Charlotte. This time, she sent in a self-tape. "I did it in half an hour. It was the easiest tape I've ever done," Rosheuvel told Tatler.

When she was offered the part a few weeks later, Rosheuvel was ready for it. "I'm a great believer in waiting, in biding my time, being confident enough in my craft and who I am as a person to know that it will happen, that one day someone would see me and go, 'Right, you are perfect for playing the Queen of England,'" she said. When that day finally came, the actor acknowledged that her theater background was invaluable in helping her prepare for the role. "There's a certain kind of grounding and gravitas and empathy that your theater training teaches you that helps you when you're on a screen," she explained to the Stabroek News.

Golda Rosheuvel needed a medic to help her get out of her Bridgerton costume

Golda Rosheuvel's physical transformation to become Queen Charlotte was a time-consuming process. It takes two hours to fit her wigs (yes, plural!) and, when she's wearing her corset, there's no such thing as a quick toilet break. "Peeing can take around 20 minutes," she admitted to Tatler.

Rosheuvel's costume is topped off with two wigs to complete Queen Charlotte's look. "It's a wig on top of a wig!" she told Glamour. "And the three feathers are real hair that Adam James Phillips [the show's principal hairstylist] crafted by hand. It's genius. Every look is different."

With such an extensive and precise costume, mishaps are bound to happen. However, some have been so extreme that on more than one occasion Rosheuvel ended up needing the help of a medic to escape her costume at the end of the day. "There have been some scary times when my body has heated up and sweated, so at the end of a long day I can't get out of the corset and for insurance reasons they've had to call a medic to help me," she revealed to Tatler. Thankfully, she was never injured, but talk about a wardrobe malfunction!

Rosheuvel considers the Bridgerton cast 'family'

Golda Rosheuvel was already "dear friends" with one of her co-stars, Adjoa Andoh, but she really bonded with her other castmates while filming too, the actor revealed to Tatler. Rosheuvel told the outlet that she and her co-stars Ruth Gemmell (Lady Bridgerton), Hugh Sachs (her on-screen butler), and Geraldine Alexander (the Bridgerton housekeeper) had a monthly Zoom catchup during the pandemic. "It was what kept us going," she said.

The cast were finally able to reunite when they returned to set to film the second season of "Bridgerton." "It was like [a] family getting back together," Rosheuvel gushed. "Our favorite scenes are the ball scenes because it's the only time we're all together and you get to catch up on people's children, their husbands, their dogs. The directors find it quite difficult with everybody chat, chat, chatting away. They're like, 'Come on!'" Rosheuvel revealed.

This is what she wants for her Bridgerton character in the future

Golda Rosheuvel's Queen Charlotte was the unsung treasure of "Bridgerton's" first season. Thankfully, she has a bigger role in the show's second season, and she's excited for viewers to see her character develop. "I'm pleased they keep pushing the journey of her private life, so it's not just about the glamor of the balls but also a deep delve into her heart," Rosheuvel explained to Tatler. "You'll see a lot more of the yin to her yang. I just love that she's such a complex character; she's mischievous, dedicated to the Crown, dedicated to the gossip and the pomp and ceremony. It's so fun to play," she added.

In one of the trailers for Season 2, Queen Charlotte is shown contemplating Lady Whistledown's whereabouts and intentions for the new season. Given that the show has already been renewed for a third and fourth season (and there's still plenty more Bridgerton siblings' lives to explore), it doesn't look like she'll be uncovering the identity of the Ton's notorious gossip any time soon. While the investigation continues, there's one particular plotline Rosheuvel is keen to see unfold. The actor told Insider that she wants Queen Charlotte and Eloise Bridgerton to team up again and "form an alliance" to try to uncover Lady Whistledown's identity.

While we don't know what the future holds for this investigative duo, we do know everyone in the Ton will be trying to do the same.