Drama following a fictional British Royal family set in modern day London, who inhabit a world of opulence and regal tradition that caters to any and every desire, but one that also comes with a price tag of duty, destiny and intense public scrutiny. (written by E!).
Because season 2 started back tonight in America (15th November), I decided it was time to review season 1. I only recently watched The Royals, having seen some promo shots of it and put it out of my mind as something stupid that I wouldn't enjoy. It kept popping up on my Tumblr feed and my recommendations on YouTube, and so I finally gave it when I had a day off. And while I was completely right in my assessment it was stupid, I found I actually really loved it.
We follows the lives of a highly-fictitious English royal family, lead by the formidable matriarch of Queen Helena (Elizabeth Hurley), in the wake of the death of the heir to the throne, Prince Robert. Prince Liam finds himself in the unexpectedly position of becoming the new future King, a role he was never prepared for, as well as becoming caught up in a budding romance with Ophelia, the daughter of one of the staff members at the palace. Princess Eleanor is battling a drug addiction, mixed with her feud with her overbearing mother and has finally met her match in her new bodyguard, Jasper, who has no interest in walking on eggshells around her simply because she has a title.
It's very clear the writers have no understanding of the British monarchy, protocols or the public image royals are allowed to have. There is no way in hell Queen Helena would have been allowed to name her son 'Liam', for starters. The influences of press stories about the real royals are evident; Queen Helena and King Simon's marriage is reminiscent to that of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Liam is obviously based on Prince Harry. Liam and Eleanor's weird, rather vulgar cousins Penelope and Maribel are clearly meant to be Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. I think a more subtle approach would have benefitted the show, to make it slightly more clever, but whatever. It's not supposed to be serious. It's meant to be pointless dramatic and filled with angst, and it works.
I enjoyed the political scheming within the show. It's all kicked off when King Simon, still grieving from Robert's death, announces he wants to dissolve the monarchy as he believes the monarchy is pulling his family apart and destroying their chances of having happy lives. He isn't exactly wrong; the pressures of being in the public eye aren't doing them any favours. But this of course starts Queen Helena's scheming of ways to stop him from taking away her crown and her position. Cyrus, the King's brother and Penelope and Maribel's father, is just as bad, if not worse as you can sometimes feel pangs of sympathy for Helena. Cyrus is just a twat who is jealous of his brother.
The end of the season is left on quite the cliffhanger when Cyrus is crowned King, and Liam and Eleanor are declared illegitimate. Liam sends Ophelia off to New York to pursue her dream of becoming a dancer, and now Liam has nothing else to lose on his quest to avenge King Simon. How Hamlet, you might say, because this show is supposedly based on a book named Falling for Hamlet, which is based on Hamlet itself. The Lion King is also based on Hamlet, so you could easily draw parallels from The Royals to that if you so wish.
But yes, I recommend giving this a watch if you're in the mood for something ridiculous, and I am very excited to be tuning in for season 2, as we go darker and uncover more family secrets.