The trips that made me: Golda Rosheuvel
As Bridgerton’s imperious royal, she steals every scene. Now, the doughty Charlotte is getting her own origin story in Netflix’s highly anticipated spin-off. Helen Whitaker hails the queen of the screen
Main photography: David Titlow Styling: Karen Preston
I’m double corseted,” Golda Rosheuvel says with a laugh about the complexities of her two-hour transformation into Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte – a character as well known for her towering wigs as for her scathing remarks in Netflix’s instant and enduring hit period drama. “I have a proper corset, which is the one you know and love, and then my jacket is corseted up at the back. It’s got a breastplate that you hook up and then pull the corset tight.” In wardrobe weighing up to two stone, Rosheuvel at times wears a neck brace between scenes to counteract the effects of the heavy wigs, and she weight trains three times a week to stay in gown-bearing health. “It’s an extraordinary balancing act,” she adds. “I take a few minutes to adjust to the weight of the costume, because it can be quite disorientating, and one of the ladies helps me get to set. After that I’m acclimatised to it.” She pauses, a mischievous look on her face, before adding in a regal voice: “She is birthed for the day.”
She is birthing an entire Bridgerton prequel starting this May. Delving into Queen Charlotte’s backstory, Rosheuvel shares the titular role with India Amarteifio, who plays her younger self as she enters into an arranged marriage with King George. “You get to see how she and Lady Danbury and Violet become the women they are in Bridgerton,” she says. “We are deep diving into the emotional side of these characters and the love story of her and George. It is a little darker, which I like.” The series also broke the record for heaviest wig to date (look out for the scene at the opera).
Comparatively, getting ready for our cover shoot at The Laslett Hotel in Notting Hill was a breeze, although Rosheuvel does share the Queen’s taste in impactful clothes, favouring designs by Roksanda, Issey Miyake and Simone Rocha. Unlike her on-screen persona, she says she’s “not that much” of a gossip in real life (“although if there’s juice to be known, why not?”), but there are “several” Bridgerton WhatsApp groups that super-fans would no doubt love to be added to. “We have ‘the old bastards’, which is the older people,” she laughs again. “I think we’re on ‘Bridgey 3’ at the moment.”
As Rosheuvel prepares for the Queen Charlotte press tour, taking in South Africa and various US states, she talks about the other journeys that have made her who she is today
I was still at college and did a nine-month European tour of Hair, the musical, on a bus going to lots of different places. One of them was Berlin. It was a few years after the wall had come down and nothing had been built there, so we performed Hair in a tent in the middle of Potsdamer Platz – no mans’ land – which was extraordinary. I also did a bungee jump. There was one across the road from the marquee that we were performing in. It was a press thing, and some of the cast did it. I was like, “Yeah I’m game.” I’ve never been so terrified in my whole life. Never again have I ever done anything like that again.
The first trip that did something to me as an adult was when I was 35 or maybe even 40. I wanted a place to go to learn my lines, and I chose Barcelona, and it turned out to be a love story that continues to this day. I don’t think I’d ever been away on my own. I’d always been with family or friends or a partner. I got to my Airbnb, which was just a room in this guy’s house, and I made up a routine – and I still do this when I’m in Barcelona. I go to the tourist information office on my first day to ask where there’s traditional music or dancing, and that will be one of my nights out. I book a bike for the week and each day, I get up, make myself a little packed lunch, and go and have a coffee on one of the squares on the way to the beach. In the afternoon I come back, have a siesta and then go out in the evening. For me, it was a rebirth experience of adulthood and Barcelona has become this sanctuary for me. I try and go every year.
I did a lot of travelling to Wales, the Brecon Beacons, and to Scotland as a child. We didn’t have the money to go abroad, so it was always in the UK. That’s why I know some of the manor houses in Bridgerton, as I’ve been dragged around looking at them. My parents were always interested in travel and people from other communities.
I’ve been to Cyprus the last two Christmases. I go with my partner [playwright Shireen Mula] for three weeks and we get a villa, hunker down and have Christmas and New Year there. Last year, my mother-in-law came for Christmas week, which was just beautiful. We’d already been the year before, so kind of knew where to go, and we hired a car and went hiking up mountains where, as you look out, you could be on top of the world. We swim in the sea and the food is excellent.
We did a three-week drive of the East Coast of America, which was incredible. It was before Shireen and I moved in together, so it was a little trial. It was a success – eight years later, we’re living together! I’m the driver, as I love driving. Shireen’s very good at navigating. Road trips are great. I would love to do the North Coast 500 in Scotland.
Queen Charlotte airs on Netflix on 4 May
Hair: Dionne Smith at 7even; Make-up: Kenneth Son at The Wall Group; Styling assistant: Rosie Smythe; Photography assistant: Jomile Kazlauskaite; Creative Direction: Jamie McPherson; Production: Matt Richardson. Shot on location at The Laslett, London
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