The Royals Premiere: Will You Bow Down to E!'s First Scripted Drama?

The Royals Series Premiere

“Let me recap my week for you: My daughter’s vagina was on the cover of no less than four tabloids, my first-born child was killed, my husband announced he wants to abolish the only life I’ve ever known… and his footman almost saw my snatch.”

That unfiltered — not to mention phenomenal — bit of dialogue, courtesy of Elizabeth Hurley (Gossip Girl) as Queen Helena, perfectly sums up the plot and tone of E!’s first scripted drama The Royals, which premiered Sunday.

Having put all their eggs in one basket — that basket being their eldest son Robert, who dies suddenly in the show’s opening hour — King Simon (Strike Back‘s Vincent Regan) and Queen Helena don’t have much faith left over for their screw-up kids, Prince Liam (The Chronicles of Narnia‘s William Moseley) and Princess Eleanor (Home and Away‘s Alexandra Park).

To Simon and Helena’s credit, though, neither child is even remotely ready to take up the crown. Party boy Liam changes partners more often than he changes his sheets, and wild child Eleanor is actually overheard greeting a pal by saying, “Bitch, your coked-up ass better curtsy!” So can you really blame Simon for petitioning Parliament to disband the monarchy?

The Royals Series PremiereAs for Helena, she couldn’t even make it through the limo ride to Robert’s funeral without calling Eleanor a bitch, then slapping Liam in the face and criticizing his latest conquest — even though Ophelia (Ravenswood‘s Merritt Patterson) is much more than just Liam’s latest conquest; she’s someone he’s actually willing to call his “girlfriend,” in addition to being the daughter of the royal family’s head of security.

Then there’s Simon’s brother Cyrus (EastEnders‘ Jake Maskall). In Mark Scwhann terms, Cyrus is the Dan Scott of The Royals, always scheming to overthrow his superiors without even attempting to mask his cruel intentions. In fact, just when you think he can’t get any more Dan Scott-like, Cyrus literally takes a shot at his brother while out on a hunt. (Come on, bruh, this ain’t Tree Hill High.) And I’m not even going to discuss the fact that he makes his maids go down on him with “enthusiasm.” Dude is gross.

But it’s not all doom, gloom and attempted fratricide; the show also finds terrific comic relief in Princesses Penelope (Lydia Rose Bewley) and Maribel (Hatty Preston), Cyrus’ cartoonish daughters. Though they often feel out of place, both physically and stylistically, their off-color quips — one literally tells the other that her breath “smells like a fart” — are always welcome.

With its smoldering cast, political intrigue and classic soap opera goodness — along with a Season 2 renewal already in the bag — The Royals has all the makings of a perfect guilty pleasure. But did it win a weekly spot on your DVR? Grade the series premiere below, then drop a comment with your full review.


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26 Comments
  1. Cort says:

    Exactly what I need after an intense hour of TWD or The Good Wife. It’s pure fun.

  2. Wordsmith says:

    I’m mostly just floored by how much Alexandra Park looks like a younger Elizabeth Hurley. Kudos to their casting department.

    • Becca says:

      I know right?! She walked up in one scene and I actually thought she was Elizabeth Hurley for a moment. Really great casting call there.

  3. Melanie says:

    Loved it. So fun!

  4. Tanner says:

    Been missing a show like this since gossip girl went off air. It’s sexy, scandalous, and fun!

    Great hour of just some good old fashion fun!

  5. GeoDiva says:

    That was fun and we also get Joan Collins!

  6. david says:

    Beyond trash but hey, this is E. I won’t watch again

  7. Alliko says:

    I wanted to like it. But Ophelia’s a bore. The King is constantly lecturing. I don’t care about any of the characters other than Liz Hurley.

  8. Julian says:

    I don’t know if can be called Dan Scott-like… But do you know King Juan Carlos I of Spain have been always involved in a weird “accident” in March 29th 1956 that resulted in the death of his little brother???

    • Nadia says:

      He killed his brother by accident when he was almost a kid. I´m sure it was very traumatic for the whole family.

  9. Toni says:

    It was great fun to watch! But we all know that this is E’s 2nd scripted show..Keepin Up with the Kardashians was first!

  10. Nadia says:

    Horror show. Utter crap. There isn´t a single good thing i can say about it. Pass.

  11. brandydanforth81 says:

    Didn’t hate it,didn’t love it I’ll watch again & give it a couple more episodes.Watching cause I live shows about royalyty( Reign)& Mak Schwann s behind it.I like Liam & Oohlua but so far can’t stand Elanor.Elizabeth Hurley was great.The Proncess cosins reminded me of Andrew & Sarah’s Fergusons daughters Eugneie & her sister.Agree that Prince Cyrus is like Dan Scott.Liam’s cute,

  12. Essie says:

    I liked it well enough to give it a chance. OTH was my favorite series and I think Mark Scwhann is great so I hope this will be great.

  13. Frank says:

    I’ll check it out again but I honestly found the first episode to be extremely boring.

  14. Tee says:

    Um…so I don’t know what the deal is…I watched the show on my phone using E!’s app, since I don’t have cable, and either the app heavily edits the show or this recap goes over several episodes, because I saw/heard nothing about breath like a fart, maids going down on the brother, and many of the photos in the gallery for episode 1 did not happen on the version shown on the app. Anyone else have the same issue?

    • LADY_in_MD says:

      I have the same issues when I watch shows on demand or on an app I think they edit for time which is stupid

  15. mabesny says:

    Elizabeth Hurley’s character is a bit annoying but, other than that, I’m surprised that I found the first episode so enjoyable and will continue to watch.

  16. Christy says:

    Ophelia is so stiff and annoying. Enjoyed the Brits in it.

  17. Nancy says:

    Ugh! I can’t bear to watch totally annoying gen z Ophelia. She ruins the show. I was hoping Gemma was squash her for good, but Ophelia is too dumb to know (or maybe the writers are too dumb to know) when she is beaten. No one wants to see a typical American TV dumb brat in the mix of what could be an intriguing family. Get her off! Get someone with a brain and a real personality. Liam would NOT like this girl in real life.

  18. Denise says:

    Jennie Garth would be great in this show, she is very regal and s great actress