Charlotte Wells is a character in Harlots. She is played by Jessica Brown-Findlay. Her review in Harris' List echoes the opinion of culls far and wide: "Her extravagance would scatter the fortune of any but the most ambitious keeper. But her eyes dart delight. Her bosom enchants to rapture, and her wit makes her the very meteor of the hour."
Charlotte Wells is Margaret’s eldest daughter – fashionable and beautiful, a London celebrity and ‘the meteor of the hour.’ She is a fiery and rebellious spirit who cannot buckle down to obey her keepers – so her relationships are all short lived. Her success is increasingly precarious, as Charlotte has a dangerous self destructive streak. She cannot bear the possessiveness of her current keeper Sir George Howard and across our series their relationship will implode with disastrous consequences.
Charlotte Wells is the eldest daughter of Margaret Wells, although not her mother's cosseted favorite child. Considered to be the "meteor of the hour," she is a rising celebrity in London. Her ability to play 'queen pretend', as she calls it, has made her very popular. She is known for not only her beauty but for her quick wit, conversation skills, and charms. She is aware that her mother's favorite child is Lucy. It could be argued that Charlotte despises her trade, and her mother, despite the bonding moments they seem to share. While her younger sister Lucy is a 15-year-old virgin, their mother Margaret "had [Charlotte] out at twelve." Charlotte, while a vision of perfection as a harlot, slaps her mother and seethes, "That's for what you made me!" She feels shortchanged by her mother's grooming as a harlot. Throughout Season One, her rebellious streak and low tolerance for idiocy constantly get her into trouble.
The beginning of the season shows Charlotte's talents with her wit and beauty. Charlotte has a keeper, Sir George Howard, whom she cannot stand. Her disgust is understandable. All of London's society considers Howard to be immature and weak, worth little respect. Charlotte apparently takes full advantage of Howard's wealth, gambling, drinking, eating and dressing extravagantly. All at Howard's expense which he willingly pays for. Despite her mother's pressure, Charlotte refuses to enter a lucrative courtesan's contract with Howard. Her refusal is sealed when he clumsily dubs her, "the Pineapple of Britain." Despite her distaste for him, she still allows him to sleep with her regularly and even initiates sex with him to keep him happy as her keeper.
As time goes on, Sr. George becomes increasingly violent in his obsession with possessing Charlotte. He becomes increasingly jealous whenever she is seen talking with other men and particularly Daniel Marney, an Irishman, who became a male sex worker mainly in an effort to get closer to Charlotte. He is obviously attracted to her, a fact George notices. After commanding her to leave a gathering after seeing her talking with Daniel, she leaves slightly humiliated. He has sex with Lucy again to spite her, and Charlotte sleeps with Thomas Haxby as a result. Charlotte gets an offer from Daniel to "start over" with him in America. Charlotte decides to leave him, and he angrily refers to her as property and hits her, pins her to the bed and rapes her. Later, at a dinner party, he tells his friends that he "made her behave" for the evening, which after more pressing questions from his friends, leads Charlotte to angrily reveal that he beat and raped her to his entire dinner party, humiliating him.
Charlotte leaves George and is unable to take any of her things with her, leaving her penniless. Nancy encourages her to go back to her mother after her search for another keeper turns up nothing. Daniel says she should go back to Georges house and demand her things, which they try to do but are refused by Haxby. They end up going back to Daniel's room, and finally acknowledge their feelings for each other, sleeping together for the first time.
Meanwhile, Sir George decides he is done with Charlotte and wants Lucy instead. He shows up at Margaret's brothel and offers himself as her keeper. Margaret instantly accepts and takes his money. When George insists on telling Lucy himself right then and there, Lucy is obviously upset. When she tries to refuse and forces himself on her, Lucy reacts by stabbing him with a knife. When Charlotte finds out that George is dead and her mother had sold Lucy to him moments before, she is livid with her mother spitting insults and demanding to know how much she sold Lucy for. She realizes that George blames her for his stabbing, and worries for her wellbeing.
After Margaret kills George to save Lucy from hanging, Charlotte is told by Daniel to stay in his room and not be seen. Charlotte is unable to hold herself in and goes to see her mother and Lucy. She explains that now that George is dead, the law will see it as her fault. She was seen with Daniel at his house to try and get her things the night he was killed. Sure enough, the constables arrest her at Margaret's brothel, with Lucy screaming after her the entire time. She is dragged to jail to await her interview with the Magistrate. Daniel shows up in jail too, believing Margaret gave him up. Neither of them realize it is actually Lucy who gave Daniel up to the constables.
When the Magistrate interviews her, Charlotte insists she and Daniel are innocent. The magistrate tries to encourage her to state Daniel is the murderer, and her the unwilling accomplice. She states that they are both innocent.
At the behest of Lydia Quigley, Charlotte is released from jail. She is taken to Quigley's house, where she decides to remain and ply her trade. Despite Margaret's pleas to return home, Charlotte is determined to remain, and she asks Lydia to help release Daniel from jail.
Charlotte eventually goes to house of George Howard, where she implores Haxby to redact his damning statement against Daniel. When Haxby refuses, Howard's widow intervenes, and promises to speak for Daniel's innocence and release as she claims she "is free" now that Howard is dead.
The newly freed Daniel goes to find Charlotte at Lydia Quigley's, wishing for her to run away with him as they had planned. Much to Daniel's confusion and despair, Charlotte refuses, and declares her intent to ruin Lydia Quigley from the inside, as revenge for the countless lives, including Margaret's, that Lydia has ruined.
The beginning of season two finds Charlotte living and working at Lydia Quigley's brothel. Charlotte still plots Lydia's downfall, and has grown ever closer to the woman in the process. When Quigley is arrested on orders of Judge Hunt, Charlotte helps orchestrate Lydia's release with the help of Lady Isabella Fitzwilliam. Lydia seemingly places all her trust and love in Charlotte, especially since losing her son to Emily Lacey.
After being released from jail, Hunt orders constables to guard Quigley's house, lest it continue to act as a brothel. Quigley, Charlotte, and the other girls are forced to move to the house of Ms. May, a long-time associate of Lydia. There Lydia, with the help of Charlotte plot to return to their house with the help of Lady and Lord Fitzwilliam, and their powerful friends.
Charlotte also plots with Lady Isabella in order to bring down Quigley, and she continues to plan Quigley's downfall, with Margaret, Emily Lacey, and Nancy Birch.
Lydia brings Charlotte with her in search of a virgin to be auctioned off, and she recognizes this as the perfect opportunity to bring down Quigley once and for all. Charlotte and the others plan to have a man bid on the girl, where she will then be brought to safety and can implicate Quigley in her kidnapping. In order to acquire the necessary funds to purchase the girl, Lady Isabella donates her grandmother's necklace to the purse. The plan almost succeeds, but Lord Fitzwilliam, who was also bidding on the girl, recognizes his grandmother's necklace, and Charlotte and the others are found out.
Quigley is enraged at Charlotte's betrayal, although she is still unaware of how deep it is, and locks her in a room. Eventually, Quigley is informed by Cherry, a prostitute who works for Emily Lacey, how Charlotte and the others have been plotting her downfall. Quigley confronts Charlotte, who pins her to the ground and begins to choke her to death, however, Margaret steps in before Charlotte can kill Lydia. Charlotte leaves with her mother, who apologizes for introducing her to a life of prostitution.
After Margaret confesses to the murder of Sir George Howard, Charlotte enlists the help of Lady Isabella to free her mother from jail. In return for speaking on behalf of Margaret, Lady Isabella asks Charlotte for her help in removing Sophia to safety. Charlotte and Lady Isabella have a one-night liaison, which seems to invigorate Lady Isabella in taking control of her and Sophia's future.
Unfortunately, Lady Isabella is unable to convince the courts to pardon Margaret for Sir George's murder, and Charlotte and the others are devastated to learn of Margaret's upcoming execution. Along with Nancy Birch, Charlotte is one of the last people to visit Margaret in jail. When Margaret is seemingly executed, Charlotte decides to take control of her mother's Greek Street House.
The start of season three finds Charlotte working as the bawd of the Greek Street brothel. When the Pincher gang comes to the house, under the guise of paying customers, Charlotte returns to her working days and sleeps with the leader Isaac Pincher. The Pincher gang threatens to hurt the girls, and Charlotte is forced to part with a percentage of the earnings.
Charlotte fights back with the help of the constables, who arrest Isaac Pincher for pimping. When Isaac threatens Fanny, Charlotte bands together with other bawds and working girls to undermine the Pinchers' operation. In retaliation, Isaac Pincher sets the Greek Street house alight, destroying all of Charlotte's assets, and almost killing the girls.
William North implores Charlotte to forget her feud with Issac Pincher, promising to make back the lost money through organizing fights. Although Charlotte promises her father that she will back off, she orchestrates a scheme with the Greek Street girls to steal money from the Pinchers in order to negotiate a truce. Charlotte distracts Isaac Pincher by once again sleeping with him.
Charlotte has also continued her friendship with Lady Isabella and is seen invited to one of the Lady's social gatherings, where she is predictably snubbed by the upperclass women. Charlotte once again enacts the help of Lady Isabella after stealing from the Pincher gang, with Lady Isabella prepared to lie in defense of Charlotte and implicate the Pinchers in more illegal activity.
She continues an affair with Issac Pincher, as they have a toxic attraction. It is kept a secret, expect from Lucy who she tells; and Emily who sees them leaving a park after sleeping together. She is also reunited with her Ma.
As well a sleeping with Lady Fitz, who she is also enamored. The Lady is mad about Charlotte and tells her how she feels in confidence.
At Lady Fitzs party, where she is holding a boxing match to help Will, Pincher and Charlotte can't keep their hands off one another. The Pincher brothers American land deal falls through due to Margaret's new American husband learning of the arson and refusing to deal with them. Hal is enraged.
Charlotte and Issac run to an upstairs hall in Lady Fitzs manor to kiss passionately (and perhaps do more). They kiss up against the wall, across from the staircase, with a drop-off hardly railed off to see the stunning entrance hall beneath.
Hal runs up and starts beating Issac, saying he ruined everything and all for a whore. Charlotte tries to separate the boys but is thrown back, and over the rail onto the marble entrance hall floor below accidently as the brothers fight. Hal and Issac stand mouths a gape above and run off. While Quigley and her ward witness all that happened.
Charlotte lays dying, a pool of blood under her head. Quigley's ward holds her hand and smiles at the dying girl, Charlotte smiles back. Quigley looks on. Charlotte lets out a final breath, and even Quigley looks shocked.
In episode 4 her family mourns her passing and lay her out. Many people from all walks of life attend the wake. Her family is utterly grief-stricken.
Sir George Howard (Keeper)