Brand new historical saga Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace brings to life the vivid and passionate story about Ruyi (Zhou Xun) and the powerful emperor she loved. The drama is full of beautiful royal ladies living among authentic recreations of court life in the Forbidden City. At center is Emperor Qianlong, one of China's most famous monarchs and whose unquestioned power didn't always grant what he wanted. Who else but Wallace Huo could play Qianlong to perfection? And it's not about whether he looks good with a Qing hairstyle.

<Spoilers>

Emperor Qianlong's early reign was praised by history's account. Prince Yongli ascended to the throne at the age of 24. His youthful virility and sharp intellect helped him conquer internal strife and expand China's territorial map far and wide. He lived such a long life that he even abdicated his throne to his son so that his official reign wouldn't exceed his grandfather's 61-year term, even through he still exerted authority behind the official throne.

He ruled China during the peak of the Qing dynasty, but it could also be said that he used up all the national strength and reserve that his forefathers left him in charge. After him, the Qing dynasty went on a slow but sure decline, suffering multiple defeats and unfair treaties by western powers and the rising Imperial Japan. Eventually, Qing was overthrown by a people's revolution that ended dynastic rule in China. Its demise was rooted in the latter part of Quianlong's long reign, but the Emperor who called himself the "Old Man Who Attained 10 Achievements" didn't foresee the sad end. His absolute power meant he was surrounded by yes-men without anyone to offer valuable dissent.

Qing dynasty was considered a foreign ruler, especially by the Han people who were (and still are) the majority among the many ethnic groups in China. The Manchus invaded from China's northern border and defeated the Ming dynasty in the 17th century. For an ethnic minority that had won by force to rule a huge country with a long and highly civilized history, the early Qing emperors decided to secure its foundation by adopting the Chinese language and learning the culture. Qianlong exemplified the fruitful culmination of that assimilation effort: He was bilingual in Chinese and Manchu languages and excelled in scholarly and military subjects. A poet himself, he composed many poems. He was also an avid collector of ancient Chinese art, and you can see his seal stamped on too many paintings in the museums.

(Emperor Qianlong, painting by Giuseppe Castiglione)

There are many interpretations of Qianlong in dramas and movies, with most of them emphasizing his romantic life through stories dotted with real and fictional figures. It is true that the emperor took private trips to Southern China to see how ordinary people lived and to experience the cultured lifestyle among Han Chinese people. Those trips provided plenty of materials for imaginative writers.

In the fascinating Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace, the casting of Wallace Huo as Qianlong is truly a perfect match. To start, his facial features and physical similarities serve him well to play Qianlong from a young man to an anticipated much older age. Additionally, Wallace is quiet and taciturn in real life, according to his actress-wife Ruby Lin. That inner quality of quiet reserve shines when he portrays a Chinese emperor who wields absolute power but still harbors suspicion and fears against anyone or anything that would threaten his throne.

Wallace also understands what it's like to wait a long time for true love. Some of his most famous roles, such as the Emperor in the Imperial Doctoress, are involved in unrequited love or love that only reached fulfillment after a long and tortuous journey. In real life, after his first publicized romance (with actress Joe Chen) broke up under intense public scrutiny, he never publicly acknowledged another romance. Even when he realized his friendship with Ruby Lin had turned into love, he waited for her for years. When they finally acknowledged each other, it made headline news. Within one year, they were married and now have a child together.

In Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace, young Qianlong promised his first love Ruyi that he would have her as his official wife, not just a ranked concubine. They both would have to wait for years for it to happen, but it did.

Ultimately, Wallace is still luckier than the Emperor who had 25 wives, 17 sons, and 10 daughters. Wallace is happy with his one and only wife, Ruby Lin, who gave birth to their daughter in 2017. He can play Qianlong on screen and move on, but Qianlong had to live his whole life for only one role as the Emperor of China.


COMING SOON

Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace - 如懿传

Starring Zhou Xun and Wallace Huo

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Watch Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace to see how Qianlong became the powerful emperor who was admired and feared by many, but probably only loved by only one woman, Ruyi.

See photo stills and trailers HERE.

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