The Royals: Which of Britain's real-life royalty inspired the characters on E!'s TV drama

Some of the characters in the show appear to have clear real-life counterparts

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Was it simply good fortune that E! broadcast its first episode of its new drama The Royals the same week that some actual royals – in the form of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – arrived in the US, or was it clever planning?

Either way, with Prince of Wales visiting Kentucky and speaking about his concerns about the environment and being told by President Barack Obama just how much Americans love royalty, here’s a guide to fictional characters who may, or may not be, inspired by the real thing.

1. Queen Helena (Liz Hurley) - Princess Diana

Queen Helena and Princess Diana (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Queen Helena spends an awful lot of hissing and scolding her children and proclaiming “I am the Queen of England”. She may be, but it’s actually her husband who is the monarch. Hurley said her character was not inspired by Queen Elizabeth yet she has suggested Diana has been an influence, especially when it comes to fashion. Hurley told Vanity Fair that she had been thinking about how Diana might dress now if she were still alive. Quite what Diana would have made of Queen Helena’s cursing and calling her daughter a “bitch” is unclear.

2. King Simon (Vincent Regan) – Prince Phillip

King Simon and Prince Phillip (Getty Images)

Some have suggested that King Simon is inspired by Prince Charles and he certainly has a penchant for military uniforms. But in his disappointed concern about the waywardness of his children, King Simon is perhaps more akin to Prince Phillip. As of yet, however, there has been none of the xenophobic mutterings that some have come to associate Prince Phillip with.

3. Prince Liam (William Moseley) – Prince William

Prince Liam and Prince William (Getty Images)

This one is easy. William Moseley, who played a similarly posh-speaking royal in The Chronicles of Narnia, even looks a little like a younger Prince William, when he had all his hair. And Prince Liam turns his back on a string of aristocratic bed partners to woo not only a commoner, but to woo an American for heaven’s sake. Whatever next.

4. Princess Eleanor (Alexandra Park) – Prince Harry

Princess Eleanor and Prince Harry (Getty Images)

With her wild partying ways and her outspoken demeanour, Princess Eleanor surely calls to mind Prince Harry in his more Las Vegas moments. Obviously, she’s a she and he’s a he, but commentators see a clear parallel between these two.

5. Ophelia (Merritt Patterson) – Kate Middleton

Ophelia and Kate Middleton (Getty Images)

All right, she is an American (E! had to do something to help win over American audiences) but Ophelia is Kate Middleton through and through. She catches the eye of the young prince at college and manages to make him focus on her, rather than his back-story of aristocratic flings.

6. Prince Cyrus (Jake Maskall)  - Prince Andrew

Prince Cyrus and Prince Andrew (Getty Images)

Prince Cyrus, the younger brother of the king, knows he is never likely to have to reign and, as a result, is free to follow his passions. Among these appear to be keeping a close eye on the ladies. What better inspiration for such a character then Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

7 and 8 Princess Penelope (Lydia Rose Bewley) Princess Beatrice and Princess Maribel (Hatty Preston) Princess Eugenie

Penelope and Maribel; Beatrice and Eugenie (Getty Images)

With their comic relief and lively outfits, these sisters appear straight-out copies of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. What’s more, both in real life and in the show, no one can really remember which one is which.

9 Gemma (Sophie Colquhoun) – Davina Duckworth-Chad

Gemma and Davina Duckworth-Chad (Rex Features)

The show tells us early on Prince Liam has had a string of aristocratic girlfriends over the years who have caught his eye and his passions. Commentators have been suggesting that Gemma might be inspired by Davina Duckworth-Chad, a friend of Prince Williams who once enjoyed a trip to the Aegean sea with him and other friends