Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace is a television drama that became one of the most successful shows in Chinese history, despite mixed reviews from the critics.
It follows the life of Hoifa-Nara, the Step Empress, based on a novel by Liu Lianzi.
Because the of the title character’s ups and downs, and because of the incredible costumes and lovely colors, the Chinese viewers fell in love with the series.
Meanwhile, if you’re non-Chinese then the show can act as a way for your to travel to the Forbidden City, learn more about Chinese Buddhism, and marvel at the fashions, music, and culture of China!
Here are some key character moments that made us fall in love with the show.
So, the show starts with the title character being called Qingying, her gege (格格) name, which is a title given to unmarried women in the Royal Family.
At the time, her aunt is the Empress (皇后), and she and her aunt belong to Ula, a tribe of the Nara clan.
Meanwhile, Qingying is in love with Hongli, a prince (not mothered by her aunt but by a concubine who died and who was raised by another concubine).
We don’t want to give away key plots of the show, but needless to say Qingying and Hongli end up together.
Hongli becomes the Emperor (皇帝) and adopts the imperial name of Qianlong, which means lasting prominence.
Meanwhile, Qingying is given the personal name of Ruyi (如懿), which means desire, by the Empress Dowager (皇太后), the woman who raised the Emperor.
Because he couldn’t marry Ruyi, due to political reasons, she becomes a Consort (妃) and the Emperor gives her the imperial name of Xian (先), which means priority, because everyone knows he wanted her to be his empress.
So, the main theme of the show takes place during this part of the show, as the love between the Emperor and the Consort attracts the enmity of others in the Royal Palace.
Because of her deep love for the Emperor, she is not able to be as scheming as the consorts and concubines, not to mention the Empress who never feels like she can measure up to Ruyi.
However, Ruyi outsmarts them all and not only stays alive but climbs through the ranks!
Ruyi fights through teeth to get to her seat as the Empress.
However, the fight is not yet over.
Unfortunately, this time she also has to battle her love, her ideals, and will be forced to face her own vision for her life.
Meanwhile, for the viewer the stakes are high and you are on the edge of your seat for most of the time that Ruyi is the Empress.
As her husband becomes the leader of growing territory, she sinks into the growing dramas of the Royal Palace.
Surprises at every corner!
A little more information about the show:
The name of the show in Chinese is “Ruyi’s Biography” (如懿传 or Ru yi zhuan). It was released in 2018 and has 87 episodes.
The show takes place in the historical period of the Qing Dynasty.
Because this dynasty was very articulate in its vision for the world, the show tries to show you that they had rules for everything from greetings to titles, the way food is served, or what types of food are served, to the way they dressed, and even how they mourned!
In the United States, the show is available on Amazon.
Li Xiu Ying is a travel writer and is the author of Beijing Travel. She writes about China for AJ Paris TRAVEL Magazine.