Bridgerton Scene. The Queen Charlotte's Ball Now Open To Women Around The World

The Queen Charlotte's Ball scene in Bridgerton

Bridgerton is Netflix's most-watched series so far, amassing 82 million viewers worldwide according to Netflix. It's a period drama sets in 1813 Regency Era in London or a period where the British throne was under the regency of Prince George, the Prince of Wales because his father, King George III was insane and could not perform his duty as monarch.

It is based on Julia Quinn's books and created into a Netflix streaming series by Chris Van Dusen. However, the original book did not include the character of Queen Charlotte. Van Dusen created the character for Bridgerton series to add spice to the story.

Scene in Bridgerton

But he created another layer of controversy when he depicted the wife of King George III as a black woman.  In the series, the character is played by Golda Rosheuvel. 

Golda Rosheuvel played Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton

Anyway, the main point of this discussion is about the highlight scene of the series, the debutantes ball or in a more formal sense, The Queen's Charlotte Ball.

The Queen's Charlotte Ball

Bridgerton is a fiction, presenting an alternate history in the writer's imagination. However, its highlight of organizing a "debutante ball", where the plot of the first season largely evolved, is actually a classic British social tradition founded in honor of Queen Charlotte. 

Phoebe Dynevor who played Daphne Bridgerton, one of the debutantes in Bridgerton series

Debutante Ball has been part of the "coming of age" party of the London elites. It is a formal ball where women from the upper-class are presented to the British monarch in a formal ball, marking its first appearance in the fashionable society and somewhat "declaring its availability to be wooed or married" by eligible bachelors.

The event serves as a matchmaking ground between the young elites from the upper-class, and those families from nobility can spot for the most perfect partner to their offspring.

The dress code has always been an evening white dress with white opera gloves. And debutantes must adhere to a specific instruction of social etiquette.

Queen Charlotte's Ball began on May 19, 1780, organized by King George III (during his sanity) for his wife to mark her birthday. It commenced the social tradition of presenting debutantes at the royal court annually on the Queen's birthday. 

Originally, it was organized as a fund-raiser for Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea hospital but progressed to a social formal ball event with debutantes being introduced to the society. 

It continued even after the death of Queen Charlotte in 1818. Succeeding British monarchs and its consorts hosted the ball at Buckingham Palace.

Debutantes presented during the formal ball would curtsy to the monarch and would stand beside a large cake in honor of Queen Charlotte

Discontinued by Queen Elizabeth II

However, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, the ball received criticism from her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and her sister, Princess Margaret. They both disapproved of organizing such event due to its stained reputation.

Prince Philip expressed disgust over the ball that the Queen discontinued it in 1958

Prince Philip was heard saying, "bloody foolish", and insisted the ball must never held again at Buckingham Palace. While Princess Margaret complained "every tart in London is getting in". 

The criticism from two royals came following information that candidates were bribing former debutantes to gain sponsorship and participate. 

Debutantes needed sponsorship to participate tat he formal ball.

Thus, in 1958, Queen Elizabeth II announced she would no longer have debutantes presented at royal court. The Queen ultimately discontinued the practice and in 1976 thoroughly stopped when the ball became less popular with fewer participates.

Revival of The Queen's Charlotte's Ball

However, in the 21st century, the Queen Charlotte's Ball was revived by a former debutante, Jenny Hallam-Peel, citing its importance in building network, fundraising, social etiquette awareness and the need to connect with the society.

She began recruiting girls from private schools and elite background to be presented as debutantes. The modern ball's focus however shifted, from making first appearance in the society, the ball now aims to foster social connection, building social and business skills and fundraising for charities.

Debutantes of the modern Queen Charlotte's Ball

It is still a glamorous, champagne-filled event for the rich but there's a difference. 

In the past, participants were young women from the aristocracy and landed gentry, presented to the monarch at Buckingham Palace in an immaculate white gown to announce their coming of age entry into the society.

Today, it's no longer an event for the upper-class and is now open to anyone who can afford it. This new version of Queen Charlotte's ball is now welcoming upper-middle class from UK and foreign countries. The requirement should be "ladies must be already attending universities". 

They are required to participate in England's traditional society scenes like Royal Ascot, Chelsea flower Show, Henry Royal Regatta among others. 

A debutante cutting the cake

They must undergo also trainings on social etiquette that involves diplomacy and the order of precedence in the United Kingdom and other countries.

The Queen Charlotte's Ball is organized during London season, either spring or summer where there are many glamorous society events. So, it is an event where there are plenty of opportunities for young ladies to meet potential partners from elite background.

Leeds Castle, one of the venues of Queen Charlotte's Ball in UK

The modern Queen's Charlotte Ball is no longer hosted by the British monarch and its consort but hosted by the Duke of Somerset and his wife. And usually held in a large estate house, castle or palace.

It still has patronages from royals but from non-reigning royal houses. The current being Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia, a great niece of Prince Philip, and Princess Olga Andreevna Romanov, a distant cousin to both Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II.

The tradition of curtsying is still practice at the ball but instead of curtsying to the monarch, which no longer hosted the ball, the debutante will curtsy to a large cake and will cut a slice with a ceremonial sword. The event will choose a "Debutante of the Year" at the conclusion of the ball.

A season "to be seen"

While the current focus of the Queen Charlotte's Ball is charity fundraising, building network, acquiring new social and business skills, it is still an event where opportunities to be seen by a potential partner are plenty.

There are social activities leading the formal ball. Garden tea parties, sports, incredible feasts and table discussions. An opportunity for young women to explore the world and be discovered.

Practically, any young women from anywhere in the world who have the money can now join as debutantes at the Queen Charlotte's Ball. 

A chance for women to experience some Bridgerton moment and hopefully find a belted British Duke to swoon over and complete the fairy tale feel.

But with table ticket to the formal ball usually costs $3,500.00, it is clearly an event for the wealthy and the famous families around the world.

Apart from the United Kingdom, Queen Charlotte's Ball is also held in Shanghai and Dubai. Here are some of the rich debutantes around the world who have participated the event.

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