In just a single season of The Royals, the British crown can pass through a half-dozen members of the show's totally fictionalized, totally scandalous royal family. So on the eve of the Season 3 premiere, this recap of The Royals Season 2 will help remind you of what happened in the last season of the show. But before I jump into the specifics of what went down last year, here's a more basic refresher. Key players/members of the family are Queen Helena, played by Elizabeth Hurley, who married King Simon in hopes of being a part of a royal dynasty, Liam and Eleanor, her children, and Cyrus, her brother-in-law who's scheming to wrest control from Simon. There's also Jasper, a security guard and Eleanor's sometimes boyfriend, and an ongoing rotation of love interests that will come up in the list below.
By the end of Season 1, King Simon died just weeks after his eldest son, Robert, was killed in a mysterious accident. And Cyrus manipulated his knowledge of Queen Helena's marital infidelity in order to strip her two living children of their titles. And with the royals at an all-time low, the second season begins, adding even more surprises.
Episode 1: "It Is Not, Nor It Cannot Come To Good"
The season begins with a piece of good news for the family: Cyrus, who is now the king, restores Liam and Eleanor's titles, but he doesn't make the same pardon for Helena, who is still queenhood-less, and has set her sights on blackmailing the Prime Minister in order to wrest power from him instead. The anti-monarchist political wing sends a threatening message with a burning symbol outside of Helena's window.
Episode 2: "Welcome Is Fashion And Ceremony"
Liam enlists Jasper, who is — gasp! — a fake American, as well as out with Eleanor because of his creepy stalking-adjacent behavior, to investigate the deaths of Robert and Simon. The first thing they discover? Cyrus' alibi for the night of King Simon's murder isn't much of an alibi after all, but when they confront the king, they discover that he's keeping his testicular cancer secret. Eleanor is juggling two ex-boyfriends, Jasper and Beck, who desperately want her back, but all she wants is a little human connection and a lot of drugs and alcohol.
Episode 3: "Is Not This Something More Than Fantasy?"
Helena's plans to control the Prime Minister are blocked by the Deputy Prime Minister, a woman who's not susceptible to her particular brand of deviance, but is her newest enemy. Meanwhile, her kids both suffer romantic disasters and are now, newly, single. Cyrus gets surgery and some TLC from another maid to help with his cancer. There's shades of Prudence, the other maid who's currently pregnant with his baby after an illicit and nonconsensual hookup.
Episode 4: "What, Has This Thing Appear'd Again Tonight?"
Helena's statue honoring her late husband is cancelled by Cyrus in what he claims is a show of solidarity with the anti-monarchists, but is really a petty way to strike back against her growing popularity. It's revealed that Ted Pryce, father of Prince Liam's ex and head of palace security, lost his wife in what was meant to be an assassination attempt for King Simon. Liam takes up his mother's crusade, opens the monument to Simon, and the queen and her kids enjoy a little weed together.
Episode 5: "The Spirit That I Have Seen"
Eleanor hooks up with a woman, Mandy, but it turns out that she's really working with Jasper on some kind of secret plan to seduce the princess in order to steal a giant royal diamond. The hookup is a scandal in the tabloids. Cyrus is plagued with visions of his dead brother tormenting him. Liam bonds with the Deputy (now acting) Prime Minister, and Helena comes close to discovering that her former lover was murdered by her more recent lover/security guard, until said guard is pressured into falsely confessing to another crime — the murder of King Simon.
Episode 6: "Doubt Truth To Be A Liar"
At the twins' birthday party, Jasper and Mandy's plan to steal the diamond is revealed, and Eleanor's heart is broken. And Helena's thought-dead lover turns out to be alive, and insists that he get a paternity test to find out if he really is the father of the twins.
Episode 7: "Taint Not Thy Mind, Nor Let Thy Soul Contrive Against Thy Mother"
Helena and Eleanor bond and Helena's mother, the Duchess schemes to get Cyrus away from marrying his maid/nurse, but the real story is Domino, the anti-monarchists: it's revenge for the death of Dominique, King Simon's first, lost love, who died during a horseback riding competition hosted by Helena's family.
Episode 8: "Be All My Sins Remembered"
Turns out, Helena's mother is the one who killed Dominique, and she's not remorseful, even when confronted by her two grandkids. And she follows it up by killing Violet, only to discover that Cyrus isn't as lovesick as he seemed — he was really proposing to his baby mama, Prudence! And Ted Pryce has gotten ahold of the security footage from the palace, which includes all the incriminating events from the last seven episodes.
Episode 9: "And Then It Started Like A Guilty Thing"
Things begin to ramp up as the show heads for the finale: Helena finds another worthy foe in Prudence, Liam's confessional video about the monarchy goes viral and he considers joining Parliament, and after a moment with Eleanor, a particularly angsty Jasper discovers that Ted Pryce was the one who stabbed and killed the king.
Episode 10: "The Serpent That Did Sting Thy Father's Life"
In the jaw-dropping finale, the royals find out that Ted was the one who killed King Simon, and Liam and Eleanor plot to expose the video of his stabbing to the public. When they do, a regretful Pryce offers himself to the angry crowd when he could have escaped. Helena gets her final revenge as she scams Cyrus into a fake marriage and helps Prudence and her baby escape, so he has no heir. And the final shock of the season? Prince Robert is still alive. So, after all that, I think the Season 3 premiere of The Royals will only get bigger, better, and crazier than what came before.
Image: W. Ockenfels 3/E! Entertainment; Giphy (10)