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Princess Elizabeth and Sergei Alexandrovich

What's coming up in 'Royal Mob' episode one?

Princess Ella and Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich | Image: Royal Mob

'Royal Mob' was the term Queen Victoria herself used to describe her huge, extended family, which comprised of 9 children, 42 grandchildren, and 87 great-grandchildren. Her 'favourites' were the glamorous and strong-willed Hesse sisters, the four daughters of her second daughter, Princess Alice.

Through the eyes of these four remarkable young women - Princesses Victoria, Ella, Alix, and Irene - each of whom married into one of the great royal houses of Europe, Royal Mob lifts the lid on the family tensions and rivalries which set cousin against cousin, monarch against monarch, and saw millions plunged into the bloodiest conflict the world had ever known.

Across four hours, this premium drama-documentary tells the story of the princesses who carried the burden of dynastic survival on their shoulders, in a high-stakes world where power determined who would inherit a continent.

Beyond the four Hesse sisters, the series is packed with extraordinary characters from history – the sisters’ charismatic yet scandal-ridden Uncle Bertie, their damaged and volatile Prussian cousin Willy, the ill-fated last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, and cousin George, later crowned King George V. All are watched over by the ultimate puppet master, Queen Victoria, brilliantly played by Michele Dotrice.

Interwoven with the sumptuous drama is historical analysis from a cast of experts as ideas of toxic masculinity and historic attitudes towards disability and sexuality are put under the microscope.

This is the tale of one of the most compelling, powerful yet dysfunctional families in history.

Royal Mob starts Monday, 7 November at 9pm only on Sky HISTORY. New episodes will air weekly on Sky 123, Virgin 270 and TalkTalk 327.

Episode 1: Four Sisters

Our series opens with the wedding of Princess Victoria to Prince Louis of Battenberg in Darmstadt in 1884. Little do the happy couple know that the day will be blighted by scandal. Princess Victoria’s father Ludwig arrives and promptly announces he has secretly married his Russian mistress, infuriating the anti-Russian Queen, who angrily orders an annulment.

To make matters worse, Princess Victoria’s younger sister, Ella, has set her heart on marrying Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the brother of Tsar Alexander II. Despite their grandmother’s concerns, Ella journeys to St Petersburg to marry her Russian duke and further enmesh the British royal family with their Russian counterparts. Queen Victoria does not attend, and neither does Cousin Willy, Prince of Prussia, who was jilted by Ella years previously.

The four sisters reunite at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. Only Heads of State and Crown Princes are invited but Willy, second in line to the German throne, is determined not to miss out and turns up anyway.

The Queen is furious, both at Willy’s impertinence but also when she learns that the third Hesse sister, Irene, is betrothed to Willy’s younger brother Henry, without her consent. Having had a dressing down from his grandmother and his uncle, Willy’s mood is soured even further when he and his wife are sat way down the banqueting table. This is a slight he will neither forgive nor forget.