The Royals Has Its Own Modern-Day Ophelia

Photo: Courtesy of E!.
At first glance, E!’s new show, The Royals, may look like it’s all fun and fashion and side-eye — a voyeuristic look at a fictional British monarchy. And, it is. But, the network's first scripted series has already been renewed for a second season, and it's actually a modern interpretation of Hamlet.

Nowhere is that connection more apparent than with the character Ophelia. Like Shakespeare's, this one's falling hard and fast for the prince who's (surprise) a bit of a player. Of course, the royal higher-ups are not having it. As the daughter of the king's head of security, she's a non-royal living in the royal palace. She is, in the words of the queen, "the help." But, she's also the viewer's point of entry into a world of unthinkable money, power, and fame. It's easy to relate to her, and it's even easier to root for her.

We caught up with the actress who plays Ophelia, 24-year-old Merritt Patterson, and she describes the character as that one person who always calls it like it is. "Ophelia is the outsider," Patterson says. "She’s outspoken, and the royal family is taught to be political when talking, but Ophelia just says what she thinks."

This leads to at least one tête-à-tête with the queen (played by master villainess Elizabeth Hurley) in the pilot, so we hope she keeps it up throughout the show, which premieres March 15 at 10 p.m. EDT on E! Yes, our innate need for well-dressed drama is about to be met. See for yourself in the trailer below.
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