The Tragic Backstory Behind the 'Queen Charlotte' Dedication

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Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, which arrived on Netflix on May 4, dedicates its first episode to Jacqueline Avant, leaving many fans to wonder who she is and what she has to do with the show or its creators. Here is the tragic—and moving—backstory behind the tribute.

Who is Jacqueline Avant?

Jacqueline and <span class="caas-xray-inline-tooltip"><span class="caas-xray-inline caas-xray-entity caas-xray-pill rapid-nonanchor-lt" data-entity-id="Clarence_Avant" data-ylk="cid:Clarence_Avant;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:Producer;" tabindex="0" aria-haspopup="dialog"><a href="" data-i13n="cid:Clarence_Avant;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:Producer;" tabindex="-1" data-ylk="slk:Clarence Avant;cid:Clarence_Avant;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:Producer;" class="link ">Clarence Avant</a></span></span> at the 2020 Grammys.<p>Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy</p>

Jacqueline Avant was a philanthropist who was killed in a home invasion at her Beverly Hills estate in 2021. She was married for more than 50 years to Clarence Avant, a renowned music producer and executive known as "the godfather of Black music." Although Mr. Avant was in the home at the time of his wife's attack, he was not injured himself.

How did Jacqueline Avant die?

Avant was found with a gunshot wound to the back after the police received a report of a shooting at her home just after 2:20 a.m., according to a press briefing by Chief Mark Stainbrook of the Beverly Hills Police Department. According to her killer's sentencing memorandum, police officers found Mr. Avant cradling his wife's head on the floor after she was shot. Although she was still alive at the time of her discovery, she later died at a local hospital. She was 81.

Who killed Jacqueline Avant?

In 2022, a 30-year-old man named Aariel Maynor pleaded guilty to and was convicted of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of Jacqueline Avant. He also pleaded guilty to and was convicted of attempted murder (he fired between four and eight shots at a security guard outside of the Avant's home); firearm possession; and residential burglary.

He was arrested about an hour after he killed Avant, in the middle of burglarizing another home in Hollywood. As it turns out, he accidentally shot himself in the foot and called 911 on his own accord.

A judge sentenced Maynor to 190 years in prison. He will not be eligible for parole.

Why is Queen Charlotte dedicated to Jacqueline Avant?

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos has been married to Avant's daughter, Nicole, since 2009.

He said in a moving tribute on Instagram that it was his late mother-in-law who planted the idea in his head for a show centered around Queen Charlotte.

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"Queen Charlotte is not just a real historical figure, she was a favorite historical figure of my late mother-in-law, Jacqueline Avant," he wrote. "After the release of the first season of Bridgerton I had the occasion to be at her home with my wife @Nicoleavantofficial and while Nicole was talking to her father Clarence, Jacquie pulled me aside and said 'you really must do something on Netflix about Queen Charlotte.'"

She then "disappeared down the hallway," he continued, and "returned with a stack of books and actual handwritten letters written by Queen Charlotte that she had bought at auctions and collected over the years."

Sarandos later poured over the material and realized he had an "amazing story" on his hands.

Related: All About Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

"I called Shonda Rhimes, who was deep into breaking Season 2," he wrote. "I told her about Jacquie's inspired idea and told her that now that she had made Queen Charlotte such a popular character, someone was certainly going to tell her story in a film or series and it should be her."

Related: All About the Bridgerton Universe's Newest Heartthrob

Shonda loved the idea and jumped on it.

"Jacqueline did not live to see what you all will see tonight but you will see in the last moments of episode one, Shonda has dedicated the series to the memory of Jacqueline Avant," Sarandos concluded his post.

"I love that Jacquie and I shared that special moment and it led to the creation of something really magical. Thank You Shonda. Thank You Jacquie."

Next, Is Queen Charlotte and King George's Marriage Based on a True Story?