This Is Why That 'Queen Charlotte' Episode Was Dedicated To Jacqueline Avant
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a prequel spinoff of the original Bridgerton series, just dropped on Netflix, following Queen Charlotte as she marries and falls in love with King George III. Of course, people are already asking a lot of questions about the loosely-based historical aspects of the show, from Queen Charlotte's real-life inspiration, to the medical ailments of the royal family.
There’s intrigue, a complicated love story, and, of course, plenty of spicy scenes in the mix. But several people noticed that the end of the first episode (which shows Charlotte being promised to the king against her will and her arrival in London) features a dedication to a woman named Jacqueline Avant. The name appears on a black screen, with no other clues to its origin.
So, who was Jacqueline Avant and what does she have to do with Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story? Here’s what to know.
Who was Jacqueline Avant?
Avant was a philanthropist and the wife of famed music producer, Clarence Avant, according to The New York Times. Avant also had a personal tie to Netflix: She was the mother-in-law of Netflix co-CEO, Ted Sarandos.
Avant grew up in Jamaica, Queens, New York, and worked as a model and aspiring phlebotomist before meeting her husband, per Variety. The couple moved to Beverly Hills in the 1960s, and were one of the only Black families who lived in the area. The couple had two children together, Nicole Avant Sarados and Alexander Avant.
"Jacqui," as she was called by her famous friends, touched a lot of lives, including that of Oprah Winfrey and Pharrell Williams.
“Grace is one of those things you can’t predict. It doesn’t just come, it shows up and blesses you,” Oprah told Variety. “That is how you always felt if you were in Jacquie Avant’s presence. She showed up and you were blessed."
Pharrell Williams also dubbed her "the matriarch of our community," per Variety.
Avant was killed in a home invasion.
Avant was shot and killed during an invasion in her Beverly Hills home in December 2021, the Times explains. She was 81 years old.
Aariel Maynor, 30, pleaded guilty to murdering Avant, along with related charges, according to Deadline. He was sentenced to 190 years in jail, the Times reported.
“This crime continues to shock the conscience,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement to Deadline. “Mrs. Avant’s death was a tragic loss felt by our entire community. In this case, the defendant is facing 170 years to life in prison and is ineligible for elderly parole. Our Bureau of Victim Services will continue to be in contact with the family and their representatives to offer trauma-informed services.”
Her sudden death haunted her friends. Former Ticketmaster CEO and close family friend, Fred Rosen, said that after Avant's death, "a light has gone out in Los Angeles,” per Variety.
Avant's family recently honored her memory with a "Jacqueline Avant Children And Family Center," a 50,000 square-foot space that will serve as "a national model for programs that address the complex needs of at-risk children struggling with trauma, health, and mental health problems," per a press release from the LA County Supervisor's office. The center also features an Autism Wellness Center and a federally qualified health clinic.
Why is a Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story episode dedicated to her?
Bridgerton series creator Shonda Rhimes said in a press release, per DigitalSpy, that the Queen Charlotte spinoff was inspired by Avant.
"But what really pushed it was Ted Sarandos, who called me up and said 'My mother-in-law is obsessed with Queen Charlotte. Do you want to do a Queen Charlotte story?'” Rhimes said (Ted is married to Avant's daughter, Nicole). “And I immediately said yes. Not just because it was Ted, but because I loved the idea.”
What has Shonda Rhimes said about Avant?
Rhimes has called Jacqueline a “queen” among other things. “Ted called me, and my brain started humming, and the show was born,” she said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “So this is a show about Queen Charlotte, but it all started because of another great queen, Jacqueline Avant.”
Check out the latest episodes of the spinoff series, streaming now on Netflix.
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