Last week, Eleanor hit her stride PR-wise when her fashion show went off without a hitch and she received glowing reviews about her next-gen sense of style. However, most of the favorable headlines were mummy’s doing (all hail Queen Helena!), and this week revealed the extent to which the Queen was willing to torture her daughter for the sake of putting on a good face for the public. Torture, you say?
That’s right—when Eleanor learns her mom has ordered she take a fairly innocuous tour of London-area charities, she goes pretty ballistic. (Well, with as much energy as she can give, the fact she’s in bed getting an IV drip after a night entertaining foreign dignitaries. “Who would have thought the crown prince of Liechtenstein could take them back so easily?” she wonders.) She calls her twin, Liam, for some sympathy, but he has his own problems. He’s currently aboard the royal jet with Queen Helena, Cyrus, and Gemma, whom the queen has recruited as her lady-in-waiting. “Not everything is about you and Ophelia,” says Helena at the suggestion she’s trying to meddle in her son’s love life. “I heard she rebuffed you by the way.”
Helena is on a roll, as evidenced by the photo she manages to snap of Gemma and Liam in the three seconds they happen to be side by side on the jet. “Make sure you Instagram that,” she tells her chief of staff. Wait, the Queen’s on Instagram? Does she ever share her OOTD on #tbt?
Social media plays a pretty big part in the episode when it comes to Ophelia and Nick. But first things first: Ophelia decides to actually see Nick. A date it is! Where should they go? The movies, a park, maybe dinner? Ophelia doesn’t even entertain any fun options and instead, invites Nick over to her pad, a.k.a. the palace. Somehow, Nick has managed to get lost in the palace (so much for Pryce’s high-tech security plan) and Ophelia finds him around the same time a mass of tourists does. Group date! Or not, since Ophelia decides to take Nick on a tour of the palace’s underground tunnels. She’s in the middle of explaining how the tunnels “go all the way to Hyde Park” when she gets a social media alert and sees an article accompanying the photo of Gemma and Liam that suggests he should propose. Sad face! But as anyone with a social media account knows, it’s not about reality as much as the suggestion of perfection, so Ophelia takes a picture of herself and Nick to post on Insta. (Her username is Ophelia1, in case you were wondering.)
Though Fe (as Nick calls her—so cute!) cozied up to her new man for the photo, she’s just not that into him, and he can tell. Back in her palace quarters over ice cream sundaes courtesy of the royal kitchen, Nick goes on the offense. “In order to make this a fair fight between me and the prince, I believe I deserve a home match. I’ll show you my piece of the world… If you let me do this and you’re still thinking about your prince, then I’ll back away. Deal?” It’s a deal.
Meanwhile, back on the royal jet, Liam is being given a lecture about the importance of his first-ever small-town tour.
Queen Helena: “I cannot overstate the significance of the next couple days. This is the first time the people will see you as the heir. You must stick only to the preapproved Stick to the script… We never talk about money, race, sexual identity, or religion.”
Liam: “What does that leave to talk about?”
Queen Helena: “Cheese.”
As one might have imagined, Liam finds it pretty hard to restrict his meet-and-greet chatter to cheddar aging technique and makes the mistake of assuming a slightly rotund woman is preggers. Helena is outraged, though less on behalf of the poor woman involved and more over the fact that Liam clearly went off script. That being said, Liam’s feeling pretty depressed—making it the perfect time for Gemma to swoop right in. To date, he’s done his best to ignore her sexual advances (“Make me proud, baby,” she said at the start of the tour. “Don’t keep this lady waiting too long!”) but he can’t resist when she strokes his ego just so. “You’ve got what most of us don’t have …Natural charisma,” she tells him. “People like you for you, that’s not nothing. I say just be yourself and stop trying so hard.”
Liam takes her advice to heart during his next tour stop, when he strikes up a friendly conversation with a villager about football. Within seconds, he has all the guys roaring with laughter and when he continues the banter in a local pub, he thinks he has a handle on the whole king thing. But just as quickly as one woman has built him up, another brings him down. Liam may be fun, notes a cute bartender who’s doling out pints of ale for the crowd, but that doesn’t mean he’s monarch material.
“That’s not what I want in my king. I want someone who recognizes when they have the power to make the world a better place. Someone who changes lives and inspires all of us to do the same,” she says. “Do that, and I’ll say you’ve done something. Do that, and I’ll call you my king.”
Though it doesn’t seem that Liam has taken her feedback to heart, what he does next proves he’s capable of carrying out good intentions. When he meets a frustrated fifth-generation saddle maker who’d prefer to make and sell boots, Liam gives him the encouragement he craves so badly. “The pressures of the family business,” he tells the young leatherworker. “I get that.” The sequence ends with Liam showing off his beautiful new bespoke boots to the press, who approve of his endorsement of local craftsmanship.
The press are also playing nice with Eleanor, whose two-day charity tour includes a retirement home, an animal shelter, and a children’s hospital. She’s been high as a kite throughout all of it, which she reasons, is the only way she can get through the dreadful experience of doing her hated mother’s bidding. Finally, she makes her last stop, a drug rehabilitation center that was Robert’s charity of choice. Drunk and depressed, she meets a recovering drug addict whose looks and demeanor eerily mirror her own. The girl blames her past for her demons: “Shitty mom’s my excuse. What’s yours?”
Much like her brother did minutes earlier, Eleanor proceeds to surprise us as she demonstrates a considerable amount of maturity and insight. “How your mother treated you, that’s not your fault. Maybe once you make the choice to let that go, it will get easier.” Will she take her own advice? Not likely—as soon as she heads back to the palace, she snorts cocaine and invites Jasper to her bed. “Is this what you want?” he asks. “We all have choices to me,” she says.
NEXT: Gemma makes a major mistake