A breezy episode that may not pack much excitement but serves a necessary purpose to build towards the show’s final few episodes.
We recap the Netflix K-Drama series Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 12, which contains spoilers.
In this episode, Under the Queen’s Umbrella applied the brakes a little, slowing down the kingdom’s tactical battle in favor of establishing where are characters are now at in their lives. Crucially, Cheong-ha (Oh Ye-ju) was chosen to be the Crown Princess, which means that going forward, new dynamics will have to shape how the kingdom is run.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 12 recap
We begin with the Queen proudly greeting her son, beaming at the way he looks in his royal dragon robe. Then, Hwa-ryeong gifts the new Crown Prince a knee guard, informing him of his need to kneel and bow a whole lot more thanks to his increased responsibility. “I will always carry out my duties with modesty,” Seongnam replies, before affirming he is ready to face the challenges that will now come his way.
Next, Crown Prince Seongnam meets the Queen Dowager, letting her know he will now retain what he sees, what he hears, and will be unafraid of speaking forthrightly. Cho is cynical in her retort, reminding the new heir to the throne that a fair few people disappear prior to any true ascension. Nevertheless, Seongnam is still stone-faced, making sure the Queen Dowager knows he plans on being a man who will keep the people safe first and foremost.
When Park Gyeong-u requests to be the Seoyeongwan (the official in charge of the Crown Prince’s education) if he is to remain in the palace, the King is ready to accept. Well, as long as his ally agrees to also take on the previously offered role of Minister of Taxation, that is. Elsewhere, Consort Hwang looks concerned at the Queen Dowager’s emotional act towards Uiseong, who is set to leave the palace (for the time being at least).
As Crown Prince Seongnam manages to smartly survive the hazing given to him by Won-hyeong through astute answers to questions on war, the Queen expresses her desire to prevent one of the Queen Dowager’s people from becoming the Crown Princess. Thus, she asks for a list of women unrelated to the elder, wanting to find someone fit for her son that way instead. Yet the process is a taxing one, with plenty of prospective Crown Princesses showing undesirable flaws.
With that being said, an unlisted candidate, Cheong-ha, ends up making quite the impression on the Queen when helping a divorced woman avoid being defrauded. So much so, Her Majesty meets with the daughter of Minister Yoon privately, and they talk about the Sambulgeo, deduced to be a shield able to prevent a man from cruelly abandoning his wife, but one unable to prevent harm. In time though, the tone completely shifts, and Cheong-ha is easily encouraged to try and become the Crown Princess when discovering the man she is in love with happens to be the new Crown Prince. Meanwhile, Queen Dowager Cho continues her own scheming.
While Crown Prince Seongnam reflects on the time he spent with Cheong-ha, clutching the memento she gave him, the clumsy daughter of Minister Yoon makes a theatrical entrance at her house, exclaiming that she “must” be the next Crown Princess. Queen Dowager Cho is curious at this declaration, and wants to know the rationale. “Because I wish to rise to the highest position,” Cheong-ha lyingly replies, managing to dupe the Queen Dowager. Nevertheless, the elder does still want something in exchange for her support: for the potential next Crown Princess to keep no secrets, and share everything about Seongnam. Later on, Minister Yoon vents his frustrations at Cho, upset at how Cheong-ha could be used as part of a plan to bring the Crown Prince down.
After Grand Prince Muan dramatically retells his brothers the story of how he “saved” Cho-wol, he recalls a promise he made to the woman he loves which shows they were meant to be congenial friends so they can continue to meet. This is unfulfilled though, as we soon watch Muan discover that Cho-wol has left. Meanwhile, the Queen orders a full tracing of Physician Kwon’s whereabouts in Hanseong, including details on who he met there. As we see, the doctor is busy implementing a plan to have Seo Ham-deok escape from interrogation, which turns out to be his fancy way of killing off the pseudo-monk.
Enraged, the King can’t believe the story of a criminal dying in the palace prison upon taking poison, completely deflated that no evidence could be found at Ham-deok’s base, or Mount Gyeryong. As such, he tightens his watch on the palace, weary of a rebel accomplice potentially being anywhere. Elsewhere, Master Toji tells his group they need to find justification to “revolt against the King,” and can do so by demonstrating that Crown Prince Taein was murdered.
As the Queen vocalises the fact Physician Kwon is the only person capable of clarifying her son’s death, we watch as the doctor meets with Consort Hwang. There, both parties admit to needing the other’s help. The former so he can get back into the palace, and the latter to discover what poison was used on the late Crown Prince.
Next, the Queen and Queen Dowager oversee the Crown Princess selection. Cho wishes to have Cheong-ha put forward for the three-step selection to become the Crown Prince’s wife, but Hwa-ryeong disagrees, backing the daughter of Min Seung-yun. Eventually though, the Queen does help the daughter of Minister Yoon stand out, thanks to her question on what the Sambulgeo is to a woman.
When news of Cheong-ha’s appointment as Crown Princess filters through, Seongnam is unbothered, believing this is just another person tied to Queen Dowager Cho who will enter his life. Of course, this is due to his lack of knowledge on who the woman he loves actually is. Concurrently, Cheong-ha happily greets the Queen on her arrival into the palace, before we see through a flashback that Her Majesty convinced Minister Yoon to have her “gemstone” daughter selected to be Crown Princess, and asked for the Minister of War to become “the shield for the Crown Prince.” In return, Hwa-ryeong will protect Cheong-ha.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella season 1, episode 12 ending
Quickly, the Crown Princess begins her lessons to become a member of the royal family, partly so she can meet the Crown Prince sooner. It’s difficult stuff, yet completed neatly courtesy of the Queen’s helping hand. Thus, in due time, Cheong-ha and Seongnam officially marry, cementing their fateful relationship. Yet the Crown Prince doesn’t interact with his partner for now and barges out of the room when left privately with the Crown Princess. That’s not all either, as the episode ends with the shocking revelation that someone has arrived with a child, alleged to belong to someone in the palace (the identity of the man is hidden from us), which shocks the Queen.
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