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Inside the salacious TV drama that will change the way you see the royal family.

Right now, pretty much every person in Australia is living out an unrequited love story with the British Royal Family.

We obsess and fantasise about their every move, thought and feeling and yet they continue to keep a polite yet icy distance from us. Never allowing us to truly peek behind the curtain.

Which is probably why The Royals, which is now available to watch on Stan, is such an addictive and enticing binge-watch. Much like attempting to savour only one Tim Tam from the packet, trying to watch just one episode of The Royals at a time is an area in which you will not have much luck practising self control.

The series takes us inside the dramatic existence of a fictional contemporary British Royal Family, the Henstridges, whose life behind the palace walls is everything we secretly wish was really taking place within Buckingham Palace… but is probably not.

The Royals follows Queen Helena Henstridge (played to perfection by Elizabeth Hurley) whose life is thrown into turmoil after her eldest son, Prince Robert, is tragically killed, allowing plans to overthrow the British monarchy to be set in motion.

What follows next is a tangled web of story-lines dealing in deception, revenge, power struggles, romance, sex, drugs and in many cases, a lot more death.

At the centre of the royal drama are Prince Liam (William Moseley) and Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park), the twin children of Queen Helena and King Simon (Vincent Regan).

These 20-something royals live a hedonistic lifestyle as the ‘black sheep’ of the family, especially Eleanor who indulges in endless parties, a smorgasbord of illicit drugs and is prone to appearing  on the front pages of newspapers with her unmentionables on display.

"The Royals is a salacious drama with heart." Source: Stan.
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In fact, the character of Princess Eleanor is so far removed from the British princesses we are currently so obsessed with that I'm willing to bet Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle would be slightly terrified of her, yet this is exactly what makes her such an appealing character to watch on screen.

In essence, The Royals is pure and proud trash TV at its best. An opulent soap opera that could be described as Gossip Girl with a few castles, crowns and horses thrown into the mix.

Yet the character of Princess Eleanor - in the midst of drug-fuelled binges, donning outrageous gowns, and taking part in a twisted sexual game with her conman bodyguard who begins to blackmail her - somehow becomes the most likeable and, here's a plot twist for you, relatable character in the series.

Much of this is thanks to the work of Australian actress Alexandra Park, who traded in a role on Home and Away for a stint on The Royals, working opposite Hollywood royalty Elizabeth Hurley and Joan Collins (who plays Hurley's scheming mother on the show).

"When I first walked onto the Home and Away set I was 19, that was just mind-blowing for me because I had never been on any kind of set before," the 29-year-old actress told Mamamia. 

"Home and Away is just a well-oiled machine and they shoot multi-cam. I was a deer in the headlights looking around at everyone and just going 'wow!' the whole time.

"The Royals is a much larger crew and we filmed in London which was incredible. I was working in a country I’d never worked in before, with a cast that was predominantly British and, being the only Aussie there, I didn't blend in like I did on Home and Away. But there was more with The Royals to sink my teeth into."

Although The Royals is very much a fictionalised product and is not based on any antics from the real British monarchy, where they do overlap is within the fandom that centres on our interest in following a family that live in a world so removed from our own.

It was that idea of living life under a spotlight you didn't ask for that Alexandra clung to when portraying fan-favourite character Princess Eleanor.

"Eleanor was born into the royal family so everyone knows who she is and she is living under a microscope. I guess that really draws people in, they are interested in the people who really live their lives like that," she said.

"I always tried to keep Eleanor as real as possible, you see all colours with her and that’s what I intended with this character from the very beginning.

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"In the early seasons of the show she is not really coping with her position as a princess and she self-destructs, parties and runs amuck all over town. She’s not strictly based on any real-life princess, she is more a combination of women I’ve met in my life.

"Eleanor's unique costumes were also just like another character in the show and I had to figure out how to walk in some pretty high shoes.

"Sometimes there were outfits that were so intense to wear because they would make so much noise when I wore them, so much jingling, and the sound guys would be mad.

"But there are also a lot of scenes where Eleanor is wearing ugg boots in the palace and I have to say, those were my favourites to film because I could actually think about what I was doing and not worry that my skirt was about to fly up."

The love story between Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park) and Jasper Frost (Tom Austen) is both romantic and terrifying. Source: Stan.

The show, which ran for four drama-filled seasons before coming to an end in August of this year, may not have been hooked on the British Royal Family but they certainly benefited from the current obsession around them.

"We just did our own thing with the show, and I don’t know where the writers may have pulled certain storylines from," said Alexandra.

"It was interesting to see that as the seasons went on, more wonderful stuff began to happen with the real royal family. I don’t think we’ve pulled any ideas direct from the real royal family though...but you’d have to ask the writers.

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"I do think the royal wedding was incredible and they seem like a great group of people, but I don’t draw Eleanor from there."

The real kicker with The Royals is how it can change your perspective about the real royal family, without ever directly alluding to them.

Even in the midst of the (increasingly ridiculous) family drama that the Henstridges endure throughout the show, you really begin to see them as as an institute that is both vital and irrelevant in equal measure.

They are both ceremonial figureheads and also assets to the economy, bringing in huge amounts of money for the country while at times also being complete liabilities. Leading people to both love them and call for them to be cast aside.

Not unlike the arguments that surround our current batch of royals...

The Royals is very much a salacious TV drama with a surprising amount of heart, and it just might change the way you see your favourite royals.

Seasons one to four of The Royals is now streaming exclusively on Stan.

For more movie and TV recommendations you can follow writer and Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook. 

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