The Royals premiered on E! last night, and it was pretty fun, mostly full of soapy goodness, despite lackluster reviews. To the recap!
We open on a walk-and-talk as Elizabeth Hurley, Queen of England, no-nonsenses her staff before heading out to greet her adoring fans.
Hugh Grant, Elizabeth Hurley’s former paramour and good friend,
will be joining us via GIF for this recap. Say hi, Hugh!
We head to a bar where Prince Liam is playing darts, to the delight of an adoring crowd. He wins the game and the girl heckling him. They head to bed.
Smash cut to an underground club. Princess Eleanor — I know this from the excessive amount of press this show has gotten, so I’m just going to tell you for simplicity’s sake — does drugs and parties. I was just going to point out that this could probably never happen IRL (Let us take a moment to remember Harry’s Vegas photos. Respect.) when someone snaps a picture of her falling off a table — and we see the indecent photo end up on a tabloid cover. Hey, points for realism, so early in the show! I seriously never thought I was going to type that while recapping The Royals.
Hugh once had his own brush with the tabloids. He’s mostly over it now.
A helicopter brings Eleanor home. The king looks super depressed. The butler informs King Simon that his son Robert is worse.
Liam and his girl are called back to the palace — and Marcus the guard knows the girl’s name! It is Ophelia. (Of course it is)
Helena yells at Eleanor for being so OOC. Eleanor tells her mom that Robert’s dead. They embrace, along with the king. Liam rushes in, grief-stricken — and now heir to the throne of England. (All of this is conveyed dramatically via voice over, the acting … less so.)
News clips tell us that Robert was killed in an accident.
Ophelia goes to see her dad … who is the king’s head of security, Ted. They have a nice relationship, which is conveyed via their banter! Good job, actors!
Eleanor still hasn’t changed out of her dress, or washed off her make up, which is, like, the first thing I would have done. It’s so obvious I’m not a princess. She tells Liam she feels bad because she meant to call Robert, but didn’t. She hugs her brother. It’s nice. They hear dogs barking and know their annoying cousins have arrived. In case you aren’t watching along with me, I’m pretty sure these cousins are based on Fergie’s daughters, Eugenie and Beatrice.
Let us take a break from Hugh so you can see Eugenie and Beatrice.
They’re the girls who wore the especially crazy hats to the royal wedding,
bless their hearts.
Liam is brooding. Ophelia comes to have tea with him — even though she wants coffee, because she’s half-American, in case you were behind like me and didn’t pick up on her (non)accent. She offers her condolences. He didn’t know she was Ted’s daughter the previous night. She totally knew he was the prince.
Helena and Simon sit at their son’s casket and weep. She doesn’t want to grieve in front of the help. It’s very The Queen. I mean, I assume. I never saw that movie. I was too busy watching Lifetime. (No regrets.)
It’s Robert’s funeral. Eleanor’s uncle, dad to the terrible cousins, is hating on the public. Liam and Ophelia talk, because even though they’ve never met before, suddenly they’re mingling? We’re going to have to let this one slide, I think. He asks her out. Helena pounces and calls him out for being totally inappropriate. We’re with the queen on this one. No one seems very sad.
Hugh is appropriately bummed.
The family heads outside to face the masses. Liam goes off-script, but is very charming while doing so. Helena yells at the kids in the car. The twins want to know how Robert died: Helena will only say that it was a military accident. (Since this show is soaptastic, here’s hoping Robert’s secretly alive!) The king greets his public and embraces a small boy, looking gutted. Helena retouches her lipstick inside the car, in case you didn’t already get that they’re dealing with Robert’s death differently.
The family is bickering at dinner as Ophelia joins them — Liam invited her. One of the cousins slips Eleanor a pill. Uncle checks out the maid. The king is charming. Helena is nasty. But, you’ve got all that by now, haven’t you? Helena says “twerking.” Ophelia exposits that she has an American mom and was born in England but raised in the states — because it was safer, the king interjects. The king announces that he’s considering abolishing the monarchy.
Hugh says, I’m sorry, wut?
After his brother taunts the king for knowing nothing of his people, the king does what any fictional monarch would do, and borrows his butler’s clothes to sneak out, to check out the London streets on his own. Which means that Helena accidentally flashes the butler, who’s in the king’s PJs. Just go with it, because it gets us to our: gosh, Elizabeth Hurley looks amazing point of the episode.
Hugh’s into it.
Ophelia goes to see her dad. They fight. He wants her to stay away from Liam — because being close to the royals is what got Ophelia’s mom killed. Ophelia worries about her dad’s safety, too. And she wants him to visit her mom’s grave.
The cousins peek in on Eleanor, who is — no lie — putting together a British flag mosaic of condoms. As you do. The cousins smoke up together in the castle.
Uncle comes onto the maid by threatening her job if she doesn’t perform a certain sexual act. He makes a Bill Clinton joke that isn’t funny. Why do they have to establish that the uncle is a bad person with an inappropriate and terrible scene? Why couldn’t the maid be into him and they be in cahoots? Why do I expect so much?
A stoned Eleanor is eating pie when her dad sneaks back in. She tells him they should disband the monarchy, and that he’s a good king — and dad. Aw. He tells her to be better, because she’s great.
Simon goes to bed, Helena’s waiting up for him. He’s really serious about ending the monarchy. She tries to convince him otherwise, invoking history and then threatening. He out royals her.
The cousins get booted.
The queen was not amused, but Hugh was!
Helena walks and talks with Ophelia. The queen tells Ophelia to discourage the relationship with Liam and threatens her dad’s job. Ophelia stands up for herself.
Eleanor’s drunk and walking on the balcony edge, which protagonists do on TV like all the time. Don’t do this at home, kids. Ophelia happens by and they drink together. Eleanor tells Ophelia she used to see her father, Ted, grieving. Helena tried to put a stop to it, but Ted told her to stuff it. Ophelia feels bad. She finds her dad and hugs him.
The next day Ophelia tells her dad about Helena being terrible. He agrees that Ophelia shouldn’t see Liam — unless she really wants to. That was quite a change of heart from like 10 minutes ago! Liam shows up and asks her to coffee, because of the American thing again. Fine, it’s cute. My heart is not made of stone.
Hugh and I approve.
Eleanor’s weeping outside the palace gates, where piles of flowers have been left in memory of Robert. Then she takes her hot guard Marcus to Paris to go clubbing. Get it, girl.
Liam’s worried that his dad is abolishing the monarchy because Liam’s not up to the task. The king tells him it’s the opposite, he wants his son to have, “a life lived and not destined.” Not a bad line! They talk about Ophelia’s mom, and how Ted chose duty over love, and it killed his wife.
Eleanor wakes up Marcus after her gal pal leaves the bed post-ménage. She’s pretty nasty to him. Except, he tells her he drugged her and videoed all the sordid things she did. This is bad, you guys.
The king’s hunting with his brother as he tells he’s really going to give it all up. It makes me nervous that they’re holding guns. Uncle takes aim at Simon as his back is turned! Seriously my heart is in my throat. Some birds squawk and the king ducks before the bullets go flying.
Liam and Ophelia head out for coffee through the hoard of paparazzi while the queen looks on disapprovingly from above.
Did you watch? What did you think of The Royals? We’ll be back next Monday with another episode. In the mean time, check out our other recaps here.