The Royals Season 1, Episode 7 recap

I don’t understand how titles work on this show at all. Dame Joan Collins finally appears as Queen Helena’s mom, and her title is “Grand Duchess of Oxford”, except that doesn’t make any sense. A Grand Duchess is the head of a sovereign state, or a Russian princess. And Oxford is a county in England. You can’t be a Grand Duchess of a county. She should be the Duchess of Oxford, or else a Russian princess. But she is neither of these things. She’s apparently some kind of Mountbatten-esque figure who got a title when her daughter married the king, and it’s heavily implied she did something drastic—like, more drastic than forcing her daughter to marry one man when she loved another—in order to make Helena queen. Also, Simon calls himself the “King of England” but he refers to Great Britain so nothing makes sense. And next week Liam will be sworn in as “Acting King of England” like he’s some kind of bank manager taking over while his boss is on vacation.

This week in Ted Is Terrible At Everything, Fire Him Immediately, paparazzi photos of Ophelia’s topless moment on a balcony in Monaco have, naturally, made their way into the press. Everyone keeps saying this moment was “taken of context” like it involved the use of green screen (well, beyond the green screen involved in making us think that obviously fake balcony set was 1) real and 2) in Monaco). But Ophelia DID take her top off in Monaco; that actually happened! There is no context. Anyway, because of this Ophelia is now a target for the press and Helena refuses to assign her personal bodyguards because her and Liam’s relationship isn’t “official”. Ted’s solution is to keep Ophelia indoors, because he still thinks she’s ten. You’re useless, Ted.

Reminding us that Ophelia is actually a student, we take time this week to watch what is either a mediocre double dancing mediocrely, or else a very good dance double having the most boring day of her life as Ophelia attends a dance class, Liam in tow. We’re supposed to derive from this scene that Ophelia is a Gifted Dancer, as she is given the opportunity to audition for a prestigious ballet company. Only catch is, it’s located in New York, so of course we Must Not Tell Liam, He’ll Only Be Distracted. But maybe he should be distracted because it turns out that the bow Ophelia used to threaten the guy in the last episode about dumb Ashok’s dumb car was the same ceremonial bow gifted to Liam by the King of Dragonia, or whatever fake title they’re using.

This is serious! Political, international incident! Liam has to Step Up and Be The Future King we know he can be! So of course it all happens off camera. Instead we get to see Simon delivering a series of scathing speeches to Cyrus, Helena, and Eleanor. It’s nice to see Simon finally standing up for himself, and he does pull the trigger on the referendum, which gives a better frame for the show than “Ted is terrible and everyone else is a twat”. Now the characters can be motivated into specific courses of action, depending on their desired outcome.

For instance, Cyrus is scheming, and maybe even murdering, but Helena might have a hidden agenda. Right at the end of the episode she calls someone and says, “It’s almost over.” Captain Lacey? An as-yet unknown person? Did she raise terrible children and destroy a seemingly nice man in a bizarrely complicated and long-term scheme to end the monarchy and thus her unwanted marriage? Also, Eleanor flat out says there “must be more” to Simon’s desire to abolish the monarchy, which pretty much sets up a Nancy Drew mystery for her to solve for the rest of the season. To that end, Liam is late for his meeting with Simon to walk ALONE AND UNGUARDED THROUGH LONDON TED YOU SUCK, and Ophelia witnesses Cyrus walking shiftily out of the palace OTHERWISE UNOBSERVED BECAUSE THERE IS NO SECURITY BECAUSE TED IS THE WORST. Then Simon returns from his walk and he’s been stabbed WHICH IS WHAT YOU GET FOR LETTING THE KING WANDER AROUND LIKE THAT TED YOU INCREDIBLE ASSHOLE.