The Palace

Eleanor has discovered that Queen Charlotte had an affair many years ago, the dates of which mean that Richard might not actually be the rightful King. She leaks this to the Archbishop, who in turn questions Iain, who is forced to ask Queen Charlotte about these delicate matters. The Queen reluctantly admits to her son that it could be true. He might be illegitimate, which forces Richard to take a DNA test to prove his paternity.

Abigail realises she can’t live with Eleanor’s blackmail and, having confronted Simon and learnt the extent of the Princess’s ambitions, she confesses having written the book and hands it over to Richard. Betrayed, he sends her away. He confronts his sister over Abigail’s allegations, leading Eleanor to show her true colours. As they wait for the test results, George has to face up to the consequences of potentially taking the throne. The DNA test results finally arrive, proving Richard legitimate. The rightful King faces Eleanor down, and steps back up to his duties. The coronation looms and the only question left unanswered is Abigail.

Once crowned, Richard summons Abigail and tells her he now knows how much she loves him, and he still feels the same. Just then he is called to greet his subjects from the balcony and, for the moment, Abigail steps back into the shadows as the family take to the stage, put aside their conflicts, smile and wave.

Monday 3 March 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

Princess Isabelle attempts to take hold of her life by renouncing her HRH status. When no-one takes her seriously, she gives a speech at her eighteenth birthday party, damning the institution, her family and all they stand for, then posts the footage on the internet.

Sir Iain and Jonty are worried that behaviour shows a mental instability which requires treatment but Richard and Abigail think it’s too convenient a solution, with the coronation looming. Isabelle is tracked down and Richard finally sees how complicated his sister’s position is – he wants to help Isabelle but doesn’t quite know how. The person he’d normally ask, Abigail, is busy dealing with Simon, who is now blackmailing her over her book deal.

Abigail has to keep Simon sweet, while trying desperately to help the man she loves work through the toughest family crisis he’s ever faced. She helps Richard stand by his younger sister and the King tells her he loves her for it. But just as he’s on the verge of kissing her, she is called out of the room at Princess Eleanor’s behest. Simon has told Eleanor about the book. Eleanor spells it out: unless she wants Richard to find out about the book, she’ll have to start working for her as well.

Monday 25 February 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

A break-in at Clarance House finds chambermaid Natalie saving Princess Eleanor from an intruder and signals a move into Buckingham Palace for the scheming Princess. Richard is under enormous pressure from the Church, the public and his family to be the perfect Monarch, and having Alice around is doing wonders for his image.

He allows his old friend to be used as a decoy, not taking into account her actual hidden feelings for him. Attending his valet Neil’s gay wedding with her also proves an ideal opportunity to provoke the Archbishop, who disapproves of Richard’s modern outlook. But as their public profile shoots sky high, Richard gets cold feet about how far he can use Alice.

Meanwhile Abigail is finding it tougher to juggle her clandestine relationship with Simon and her feelings for Richard, especially as her publisher won’t allow her to give up the book. Alice decides to put an end to the game, making Richard acknowledge who he really wants. Richard knows he can rely on Eleanor to take on his duties temporarily, leaving him free to rush from a hospital opening to tell Abigail how he really feels. But he can’t quite make the jump over their disparate status and bottles out, saying they can never be together.

But that’s the least of Abigail’s worries: Simon has found her book manuscript.

Monday 18 February 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

When Eleanor presents Queen Charlotte with a controversial diamond necklace to wear on the eve of the Indian state visit, the sidelined Queen sees her opportunity to grab her son’s attention. Sure enough, the Indian delegation request the jewel is returned to its rightful owner – India – while the grieving Queen Charlotte asks Richard to let her keep it.

Meanwhile, downstairs the unpopular head chef finds himself under attack by Vinny when the lovesick footman discovers he has bedded his girlfriend, Ruby. Fellow footmen Jimmy and Jeremy vow to avenge their wronged friend and enjoy driving the bullying chef out.

A remorseful Queen Charlotte decides Richard needs a fairytale romance and gives Abigail the job of introducing Alice, a beautiful childhood friend, into the equation. Richard proposes a generous donation to the charity Alice is a patron of, instead of returning the diamond.

Diplomatic chaos threatens, but his mother and he are united – giving her the strength to do the right thing and return the rock herself. Richard knows he has Abigail to thank for the idea and, tipsy and alone at last, she kisses him. But Richard is shocked and Abi has to flee the room in shame.

Monday 11 February 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

The Palace
Monday 28 January 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

The battle between the PM and the King has got too much for Miranda who tries to end her relationship with Richard. However, he is too in love with her to let this happen and continues his battle with the PM in the misguided view that he might be able to win her back as a result. The only problem is that he’s doing a very good job and there’s a real chance he’ll bring down the PM.

Simon and Abi’s relationship begins to flourish, although Abi has no idea that Simon’s motives for this lie in the fact that Princess Eleanor is determined to find out who the King’s mystery lover is. Abigail, meanwhile, is now enjoying a passionate relationship with Simon, oblivious to his ulterior motives.

As King, Richard realises he can’t turn a blind eye to George’s cowardly behaviour. He takes the toughest line, sending George out to apologise to the man he hit and deal with whatever the consequences may be. A protesting George goes to the hospital and is forgiven by the victim, but the brothers’ bond is broken.

Meanwhile Abigail is getting plenty for her book: she has uncovered Richard’s relationship with Miranda. Still unaware of the book, Richard goes to her home to explain about Miranda. But when he leaves her flat, a paparazzi takes a photograph of him – tomorrow the press will all be saying that Abigail is the King’s lover.

The Palace
Monday 21 January 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

King Richard and the Prime Minister clash as the young Monarch takes a moral stand on a political issue. And trouble is around the corner when Prince George is involved in a hit and run accident.

The King watches the widow of a young soldier, killed on active service, break down on TV. The widow has already written to him and, moved by her story, the King writes directly to her. When his letter is published in the Telegraph, Richard is humiliated by the Prime Minister, who tells him in no uncertain terms that a Monarch must be above politics. But Richard won’t back down. And his battle isn’t only with the PM – the woman he loves is the woman co-ordinating the PM’s press attacks on him. Miranda tries to make Richard see sense but her warning lands on deaf ears and she is forced to make even more painful attacks on her lover.

Meanwhile, George, returning from a party with his Personal Protection Officer Ray, is involved in what might have been a hit-and-run incident. Bayfield is tasked with investigating further and he is horrified when he realises that George might well be responsible for putting an old man in hospital. As the King’s staff try to work out what the right thing to do is, they all agree on one thing: under no circumstances must the King find out about this.

Which is all well and good, were it not for the fact that Princess Eleanor has just booked in to see Richard with the sole plan of making sure he knows every last detail. And when he does, she’s going to leak it to the press that he’s covered up a major criminal offence.

The Palace
Monday 14 January 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

As Richard, Eleanor and George prepare for a rather boring night at the opera with the rest of the Royal Family, they are given a last minute reprieve by Richard’s Assistant Private Secretary, Abigail Thomas, who has created a fictional charity engagement to allow the boys to sneak to a nightclub.

As Richard and George chat up two girls in the club Pete Bayfield, Richard’s Personal Protection Officer, takes a call. King James is dead. Richard is King. A stunned Richard is driven back to the Palace where he is told of his immediate duties, of the Prime Minister’s arrival to pledge allegiance and the Heads of States waiting to speak to him. Richard ducks into a toilet for a moment and slips to the floor in shock, the weight of responsibility hitting him hard. As Princess Eleanor, Prince George, Princess Isabelle and Queen Charlotte wait for Richard, they snipe at each other. When Eleanor expresses concern that Richard isn’t up to the job, Charlotte reminds her that she’ll have to get used to having second billing to her brother from now on.

Back in Eleanor’s rooms, Major Simon Brooks, her Private Secretary, assures her that she’d be far more suitable as the new Monarch. Not only is she the eldest child, but she is far more professional and dutiful than Richard. Eleanor reminds him that she could never be seen to do anything that would hurt her brother. The implication is clear.

As Richard finds it increasingly difficult to deal with both the pressure of his duties and his grief over his father’s death, he phones a mystery woman, asking her to come to the Palace. Meanwhile, Abigail is caught in the corridor by a flirtatious Simon, who asks her out. She suggests he’s only interested in her because of her elevated position, but still flirts back before leaving the Palace to meet someone else. It is a publisher she meets in a bar that night. Abigail has been commissioned to write a tell-all book on the Prince of Wales – which is suddenly vastly more valuable as that Prince is now King.

Meanwhile, Richard is being reassured by his beautiful lover Miranda that he will make a great Monarch. She sits him on his throne and kisses him, just as Jimmy, a footman taking a shortcut back to his quarters, sees the kissing couple and rushes below stairs with the gossip. The next day, Chinese whispers gather pace and the details become more and more lurid. Eventually Jonty, the Palace Press Secretary, tells Abigail that an insider has gone to a major tabloid with a story about Richard having sex on the throne, which they are threatening to publish. Richard denies the extravagant claim to the team, but admits he was with a woman whose identity he refuses to reveal.

After returning from his father’s funeral at Westminster Abbey, Richard bursts into Sir Iain Ratalick, his Private Secretary’s, room with a plan. To show the public his true colours, he’ll give a live TV interview. The plan meets with disapproval/horror from all his advisors, but it is one he is adamant to carry out.

The PM arrives, accompanied by his own Press Secretary. It’s Miranda, the woman last seen kissing Richard on the throne. Both warn Sir Iain and Abigail not to let the King do the interview, especially as the interviewer is notoriously outspoken and merciless. But it is too late. The King has made up his mind.

As the live interview begins, Richard initially deflects the hard line of questioning with easy charm. Only when he is questioned on his whereabouts on the night of his father’s death – Simon phones the secret about the nightclub through to the producer as they speak – does he falter. His temper and honesty eventually get the better of him and Richard shows more of himself than a King should ever do. His advisors cringe but his honesty impresses his ruthless opponent.

After the interview, Eleanor greets her brother with congratulations. But as she and Simon walk away, Simon reassures her that their campaign against the fledgling King is just beginning. Eleanor tells her aide to get closer to Abigail to help their cause.

Richard returns to his father’s empty apartments. Finally, he is able to let out the frustrations and grief he feels for his father’s death and, alone, he bursts into tears.

Later that night, Richard visits his brother and their friends, but no longer fancies joining in the drinking games and joking around. Too much has changed. He embraces George and leaves them to it, walking away with a smile on his face. Onto new adventures.

A new drama to be set in Buckingham Palace and revolving around a fictional royal family, will start up in 2008. Compared with the US drama The West Wing, The Palace will run over eight episodes.

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