'Belgravia' Episode 1: A grand invitation to witness London's richest and their deepest darkest secrets

'Belgravia' Episode 1: A grand invitation to witness London's richest and their deepest darkest secrets
(Carnival Films)

Spoilers for 'Belgravia' Season 1 Episode 1 

'Belgravia' opens in 1815 — Brussels in on the brink of conflict. Tensions are high as Napolean Bonaparte is marching forward with his French army to conquer the territory.

But 18-year-old Sophia Trenchard's (Emily Reid) heart is brimming with new love and nervousness. She has just secured her humble family — the Trenchards — invitations to the now legendary Duchess of Richmond's ball, on the eve of The Battle of Waterloo.

This ball, unfortunately, decides her fate. Head over heels in love with her forbidden lover, the aristocratic Lord Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), she hopes to marry him. But with Napolean's army almost at Brussels' doorstep, the young couple is torn apart. 

Shortly afterward, Sophia's father, James Trenchard (Philip Glenister) aka the Magician, returns from the war with morbid news — Lord Edmund Bellasis, son of the Earl and Countess Brockenhurst, has fallen in war. 


Unknown to the family, Sophia is now left to conceal a devastating secret – a secret that could potentially ruin the Trenchards' social standing, one that her family spent the last 26 years hiding. Now a part of the newly built luxury of London's Belgravia, the Trenchards find themselves forced to confront the secret.

Anne Trenchard (Tamsin Greig) is invited to the beautiful Belgravia home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, where she meets Caroline, Lady Brockenhurst (Harriet Walter). There she learns that Edmund was Caroline's only son. 


The two mourn over the loss of their children — Anne has a son, but Sophia was the apple of her eyes. Anne, who cannot imagine the pain Caroline must be growing through unaware of her progeny, returns home to plead with her husband that they must reveal to Caroline about her grandson.

James strongly disagrees with her. But Anne, guilt-ridden as a mother for concealing this from another mother is persistent - to no avail.


The chance encounter between the two families reignites their long-buried connection. Sophia's parents, Anne and James, suddenly find themselves in the social circle of Edmund's mother, Lady Caroline Brockenhurst.

A Still from 'Belgravia' (Carnival Films)

'Belgravia' is a grand invitation into the lives of London's royals. Lies, secrets and deceit form the premise of the series. We follow the Trenchards as they struggle as the rich working-class amidst the royals of Britain. The Trenchards do not have royal titles, but they have money and social standing that is threatened by their own past. 

At the same time, 'Belgravia' also puts on display the differences in society at the time. There are hardly any complaints with the period drama gripping you from the get-go.


Based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Julian Fellowes and directed by John Alexander, there are several noticeable differences from 'Downton Abbey', particularly the fact that 'Belgravia' is darker and runs on a thrilling pace than its former. 

Considering the times we live in, with the world burning, one is desperately looking for an escape from reality. 'Belgravia' is your escape — with its magnificent production value, expositional dialogue and a secret (that could be quite orthodox for 2020), the Epix series makes for the perfect diversion.


As Anne finds herself deeper and deeper in this deceit, what will her next step be? Episode 2 will premiere on Sunday, April 19 at 9/8c on Epix.

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