Drugs in Bridgerton — Benedict's Tea & Queen Charlotte's Snuff Explained – Town & Country
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A guide to Benedict’s tea and Queen’s snuff in Bridgerton season two.
Bridgerton‘s second season is an eight-episode Regency romp full of longing glances, glorious jewels, and yes, drugs.
First, there’s Queen Charlotte snorting “snuff” in various scenes. The snuff would have been a finely powdered tobacco that often was flavored to add a different scent, and the Queen had such a snuff habit, so much that her nickname was “Snuffy Charlotte.”
On-set they didn’t use the real stuff. The powder that Rosheuvel snorts during filming is a dyed sugar. “I think it’s like glucose stuff. At the end of the day I’m like, yeah, wild sugar rush,” Golda Rosheuvel told Decider. “It’s harmless, it’s fine. Absolutely harmless.”
Another popular drug in Regency England that makes an appearance this season was opium. In episode three, Colin (Luke Newton) helps ease Benedict (Luke Thompson)’s anxiety about art school by offering him a powder that he says “worldy travelers use it as a way to open their minds and transcend ordinary anxieties.” Benedict pours the entire bag into his tea, and by dinnertime, he’s clearly high.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all that wealthy elites would carry around opium,” Lucas Richert, a historian of drugs and medicines at the University of Wisconsin, told Women’s Health. “Opium mixed with alcohol were said to treat coughs, colds, and respiratory diseases.”
Thompson loved filming those scenes with Newton. “It’s such a gorgeous moment. When I read it, I thought it’s one of those moments that makes this show great in the sense that it’s got a modern feel in that you feel like it’s something that two brothers would do nowadays, but transposed into Regency,” Thompson told Entertainment Weekly. “Actually you think, ‘Well, probably people in Regency were experimenting with drugs and all that stuff as well. Of course, that was going on,’ so to have that moment that feels very now and very relatable. Two brothers being, ‘Oh, let’s just get high for a bit’—I was just so attracted to the idea of exploring that.
He added that they were having “too much fun” filming the scene. “The main notes we kept getting was rein it back, pull it back. Because there’s something about maintaining yourself in that state for about eight, 10 hours. Obviously, you do get hysterical, which is literally what the drug seems to do, so it was a delightful moment in acting because you can be a bit free and silly. It’s a real memory I’ll treasure, actually.”