We enter the final stretch of the show! Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King” puts George’s mental health at the center as we see his point of view of the story. Ready?
Here we go!
George’s Mental Health in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King”
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King” is an episode that stops the story dead and goes back to the beginning. But it’s a necessary stop to understand George’s point of view. Not only what is happening to him, but what he feels and what he suffers.
As we find out in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King,” George’s worsening mental illness caused Augusta to leave him in the hands of a torturer who calls himself a doctor. We don’t blame her for this. No doctor she knew of had been able to help George, and Augusta was desperate both to restore her son’s health and to keep the crown standing.
This last part might sound too superficial — and in the grand scheme of things, it is — but Augusta knows that the crown is part of her family’s legacy. The crown is the destiny of her son and she must preserve it. The duty to do so is the only thing Augusta knows. Despite the weight of the crown, it was her duty to keep the British monarchy going.
But Augusta cannot ensure the survival of the crown — or at least, she doesn´t think she can — if the future king suffers from mental illness. So, as we see in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King,” her desperation leads Augusta to place her son in the hands of an ambitious torturer who promises to solve the problem.
Torture as Treatment
How could it be otherwise, that didn’t go well. The doctor’s methods are conservative at first and help George a bit. Although, in reality, an orderly routine is what helps him. Thus, he gets to be well enough to meet Charlotte and be in their wedding but to meet her, to know that she is his wife, is…more than he can bear.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King” shows us how George perceives himself. He doesn’t see himself as anything but flawed. Charlotte is so bright, so beautiful, so vibrant, so full of life, so full of passion…he just can’t condemn her to live with someone like him. He will only be a burden to her and if he gets too close to Charlotte, he risks never being able to part with her.
That’s why George decides to run away from her and resists when Charlotte goes looking for him. He doesn’t feel worthy of her and doesn’t want to damn her to live her life by his side. But he longs for her so much…so much…that he just wants to be by her side, he just wants to be worthy of her, worthy of being called her husband. So in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King,” George decides to have the doctor apply much riskier methods on him.
To be worthy of Charlotte, George indulges in the most vile torture. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King” was hard to watch. Several times we had to look away because seeing George suffer like this was too much. Yet while the doctor‘s torture keeps him in check, it’s actually his growing closeness with Charlotte that brings peace of mind to his soul. Not a cure, no, but a help. An anchor for the storm in his mind.
Love is the Best Medicine in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King”
Even though he wanted to resist, George couldn’t help but get carried away by what he felt for her. They were getting closer and closer, the wall that George built to protect his secret was slowly collapsing. And that reaffirmed George to make himself worthy of her, no matter what he had to suffer for it.
But he needs to get the message across that he’s fighting for her, just as she asked. He is fighting for her, for them, and he will soon be at her side, never to leave again. So George sends Charlotte the misshapen rabbit. From his cage to her. Soon, both will be able to live in freedom, together. And the truth is that we feel quite bad for thinking that this gift was like a mockery because it’s a sign of love.
As we see in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King,” George can’t resist looking for Charlotte, even if it means seeing her at a distance. It’s like being too close to the sun, she’s brilliant, dazzling… and George feels like he’s going to burn, but he wants to with all his heart.
The growing intimacy between Charlotte and George does wonders for his mental health. He has a pre-established routine, a wife by his side who became someone essential to him, and no pressure from the crown. George is happy. He is so happy that in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King,” George realizes that he doesn’t need the torture that his doctor puts him through.
Until this moment, when George was with the doctor, George was like a toy in his hands. George did everything he said and listened to his advice in both his private affairs and those of the crown. Doctor Monro is the one who actually ran the crown, using the king as a puppet due to his illness. However, Charlotte’s arrival and her connection to George break his hold on George and leave him powerless.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King” shows us that Doctor Monro is a torturer. Augusta knows it, even Reynolds does — so much so, that he wanted to interrupt that horrible man’s treatment more than once — but he is also an ambitious man. With George in his hands, he had the power of the crown. But Charlotte took that from him…and he won’t allow it.
Monro manages to manipulate George again so that something as unexpected as a child would break the controlled routine he was carrying and George would have a new attack. However, Monro didn’t count on the love that Charlotte feels for George. That love that made her be by his side, take his hand, squeeze it hard and not leave as Monro had expected.
Desperate Measures in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King”
But Charlotte isn’t going to leave it at that. She can’t do it. She doesn’t care that George is mentally ill, she cares that she didn’t know. If she had known, she wouldn’t have judged him so harshly and let him run from her. If she had known, she wouldn’t have allowed Monro to torture him.
So in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King,” Charlotte goes looking for Augusta to yell at her for leaving her son in the hands of a torturer and for having hidden it from Charlotte. And Augusta defends herself as she can. She did what she had to do. She didn’t know what else to do. Augusta was protecting the crown and her son and if for that she had to hide information from a stranger, she would do it.
And we understand Augusta’s position. She had to choose and she did the best she could. Charlotte would have done the same, as Augusta tells her in Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King.” The point is that George overhears this discussion and misinterprets it.
George always thought that he would be a burden to Charlotte, that he was not worthy of her. And this discussion at the end of Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story 1×04 “Holding the King” confirms his worst fears. So George goes back to Monro, just as he planned, to be tortured again. He has to be worthy of Charlotte, whatever the price. She begged him to fight for them…and he will.
What George fails to see in his self-loathing is that he doesn’t need to be worthy of Charlotte. She is the only one who can decide if he is or not and Charlotte has already chosen him. And she would do it again.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is available to stream on Netflix.
Guy Henry was amazing as Dr Monro
100% agreed! He did an amazing job!