Move over Queen Elizabeth Hurley — Dame Joan Collins has arrived! The English actress graced E!'s scripted series The Royals for a deliciously dramatic turn as the mother of the Queen of England who watched on as the fate of the monarchy was left uncertain in the most recent episode of the delightfully soapy show.
Read on to find out all about Collins' special appearance on the show, which follows the adventures of E!'s misbehaved fictional British royal family.
Out in the Open
During a recent weekend jaunt to Monaco, commoner Ophelia took a page from The Hunger Games and (accidentally) shot one of Prince Liam's friends in the leg with an arrow, but it was a seemingly smaller thing that caused a bit of trouble—or, to be accurate, two not-so-small things. A photo the brunette beauty living it up on her glitzy getaway, sans bikini top, has been splashed across the tabloids. That's right, sweet Ophelia's breasts have been exposed to the world, and to say the queen is none too pleased would be the understatement of the season.
But Queen Helena doesn't spend too much time fretting about Ophelia's poor fashion choice—because her own domineering mother comes to town. Oh, and her mother is Joan Collins. (Okay, technically, her mother is the Grand Duchess of Oxford, played by Joan Collins, but… did we mention it's Joan Collins?!)
The Grand Duchess arrives wearing a skintight purple satin dress and accompanied by a small army of eye-candy men, though they're dismissed the moment Helena shows her face. The duchess wastes no time getting down to business with a casual mother-daughter chat. Clearly, she thinks Helena is losing control and she's here to help get things back on track.
"You have failed as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter, and, most devastatingly of all, as a queen," she begins before turning her focus to Helena's extramarital dalliances, which she thinks are completely fine — helpful, even! — as long as they're kept under control. "How many times have I told you that having a little fling on the side can keep your marriage fresh, but having feelings is quite another matter." Everyone taking notes?
Her main concern, however, is the rumor of King Simon's alleged referendum to abolish the monarchy that keeps popping up in the press. Though Helena tries (albeit unconvincingly) to convince her mother that the referendum isn't a real issue, the duchess knows better. If Helena doesn't put a stop to it, the duchess warns, "History will never forgive you, and neither will I."
It's probably worth noting, however, that a very different duchess greets her grandkids, Prince Liam and Princess Eleanor, who lovingly call her "Duchie." She also engages in some wince-inducing flirting with Helena's power-hungry brother-in-law, Cyrus.
King Simon Hits the Wall
It turns out "Duchie" was right to be concerned, because despite a Hail Mary visit from Cyrus trying to convince King Simon to just drop this whole mess, the ruler does go on national television and announce that he is going to try to put the referendum to a vote after all. In case there was any doubt as to how serious he is about this initiative, during the speech, he refers to his family as a pack of zoo animals — and he's just getting started.
Afterward, he confronts Helena and Cyrus head-on and, in addition to telling them to both go to hell, he informs Cyrus that he will be stripped of his money and titles and breaks it to Helena that he doesn't intend to be married to her anymore. They protest, but he has clearly made up his mind. Now, it seems it will be up to the people to make up theirs.
The Fate of Ophelia's Detail
Because Prince Liam really is that dreamy (and perhaps because he feels a bit guilty that his love is being called the "American Slut" by nearly ever tabloid in the country), the next in line to the throne accompanies Ophelia to her dance class. He seems very impressed by her routine and not at all bothered by the 1990s-style plaid shirt that she has inexplicably tied around her waist the whole time she performs. That's love.
But when Liam is called back to the palace on official duty, Ophelia is forced to leave the studio without the prince by her side. She says she'll be fine, but when the paparazzi taunt her about her dead mother (on the queen's orders), Ophelia snaps.
Prince Liam later assures Ophelia that now that she is his girlfriend, she will be getting her own security detail to keep her safe. Ophelia's main takeaway from this is that Liam now considers her his girlfriend. Liam doesn't know, however, that Ophelia's dad already made the mistake of mentioning that his daughter didn't have her own security detail "yet" to the queen, who pretty much lost it on him and boldly declared that Ophelia would never have her own security detail. You can imagine how annoyed she is, then, when her son appears shortly after to bring it up again.
It all comes back to Joan Collins, er, the Duchess of Oxford, in the end. Seeing that her daughter is in a tough spot, the duchess assures her, "The war is not over. You will find the strength to do what is necessary, just as I did."
Naturally, the question that follows is what, exactly, did the duchess do all those years ago to get Helena on the throne? Hopefully this cliffhanger means we will see more of her in the future. The fate of the monarchy might be uncertain, but we can all agree that "Duchie" reigns supreme.
The Royals airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on E!.