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Queen Charlotte's Bedroom and Ante-room

A queen's simple and pretty retreat

A queen's simple and pretty retreat

Queen Charlotte used her bedroom and dressing room whenever she visited Kew Palace. These rooms are decorated as they would have been in the early 1800s, when much of the palace was renovated for extended royal occupation on account of George III’s illness. Queen Charlotte died in her bedroom in 1818, after catching pneumonia. 

While the Queen was in residence, anyone wishing to enter the Queen’s bedroom was required to wait in the adjoining ante-room. The observance of etiquette was of the highest importance to the royal family; bedrooms were never entered directly from a public corridor. 

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A staff member attends to a large grey wig with accompanying tiara on a red display board

Image: © Netflix / Historic Royal Palaces

New for 2024: Queen Charlotte wig from Shondaland and Netflix's hit series

From 29 March 2024, a wig worn by Golda Rosheuvel in Shondaland and Netflix's hit series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story will go on display in the Queen's dressing room at Kew Palace.

The bold grey wig with accompanying tiara, which was worn in the series, will be showcased alongside a lock of the real Queen Charlotte's hair.

Created by the award-winning team of Hair & Make-Up Designer Nic Collins, with Assistant Designer Giorgio Galliero, the wig is one of several spectacular pieces created for the series to reflect the styles of the Georgian era, as well as being a celebration of Black hair.

See this talked-about hairpiece on your visit to Kew Palace, in context within the private rooms where Queen Charlotte herself spent precious time away from the royal court with her family.

A Queen's Simple Tastes

Charlotte decorated her rooms with portraits of her family, religious pictures and simple furniture. In contrast to Princess Elizabeth’s fashionable Grecian couch bed, the Queen’s bed has been re-created with the plain coloured, cotton cloth that she favoured. The room was conserved to its original appearance in 2006, after major repairs. 

As you stand in this private space, take a moment to admire the horseshoe-shaped reading table, made for Queen Charlotte in 1789 for the White House at Kew. The Queen must have approved of the design as she ordered a second in mahogany for Buckingham House (later Palace). The design is a curious combination of a sophisticated inlaid top and pierced ‘Gothick’ style legs. It has its original steel reading desk mechanism, released by a hidden catch, still in perfect working order.  

The portrait of Queen Charlotte on the wall is a version taken from Thomas Gainsborough’s full-length portrait of 1781. The original was acclaimed as a happy and honest portrait of the Queen. 

Queen Charlotte's Bedroom.

Queen Charlotte's Final Days

In 1818, Charlotte’s health began to deteriorate rapidly and on 22 June 1818, newspapers reported that she had ‘gone to Kew for a few days’. She spent most of her time here in her bedroom and was wheeled to her boudoir for meals in a specially made chair. 

Charlotte’s eldest son, the Prince Regent, visited his mother every day and sent her a reclining chair to provide her with some comfort during her illness.  

During the last stages of suffering from dropsy, Queen Charlotte’s body became so swollen that she was unable to lie down in bed. The Queen caught pneumonia and died aged 74, here in her bedroom at Kew Palace on 17 November 1818. She died sitting upright in an armchair, quite possibly the one in her bedroom. The chair has an early inscription recording Charlotte’s death underneath. A contemporary visitor to the palace after Charlotte’s death wrote “…the old housekeeper shewed us the room in which she died – her chair tied across with a piece of tape that no one might rest on it since she left it”. 

Queen Charlotte lay in state in the Dining Room downstairs before being laid to rest in Windsor. 

We had the consolation of seeing her expire without a pang and a sweet smile on her face

Princess Mary, after witnessing the death of her mother, Queen Charlotte in her bedroom at Kew Palace

Queen Charlotte's granddaughter, Queen Victoria, said she wished the room to be kept as it had been during her grandmother's lifetime. You can see these words on a plaque on the side of the fireplace in the Queen's Bedroom, which was placed here when Victoria opened the palace to the public in 1899. 

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BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

Queen Charlotte

Wife of George III and mother to 15 children

The story of Kew Palace

Britain's smallest royal palace and George III's private retreat

George III

Dutiful, intelligent and cultured, but cruelly labelled ‘mad’

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