Young queer prince falls in love and drama – The Geekiary
If I had to describe the Swedish drama from Netflix Young Royals in a nutshell, I would say it’s adorable. There are messy moments, but everything is delivered in a well-written way. In addition, I was quite surprised by the maturity shown by the writers at certain pivotal moments.
This review of Young Royals Season 1 contains spoilers. You were warned.
A show about a young queer prince sent to boarding school and falling in love with another (non-royal) student only to be forced into the closet due to the monarchy can easily go off the rails. It’s also a little difficult to get the audience to care about these privileged characters and their “rich” issues. However, the creative team behind Young Royals was able to impressively handle the whole narrative.
It’s not a perfect show, but it’s definitely a show that I enjoyed a lot and hope more people will tune into it. Young Royals, to me, it was like reading a gripping novel that detailed the many issues that two teenage lovers had to face as they belonged to different worlds.
The premise deals with the sending of Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) to the Hillerska boarding school after fighting in his school of “normal people”. Being the young prince, Wilhelm’s life is very different from that of his older brother, the future King Erik. Wilhelm has more latitude in how he is authorized to act. Plus, even though Wilhelm loves his brother, it’s clear that he doesn’t appreciate being compared to him every second of the day.
Wilhelm wants to live a normal life, and that’s why he insisted on attending a normal school. But he has no choice (after the fight he had in a nightclub), so he goes to Hillerska.
In Hillerska, the young prince is introduced to his first cousin named August (Malte Gardinger), an elder. August is proud of his royal heritage and is treated like a superior in the prestigious educational institution. August is already close to Erik and he also wants to be close to Wilhelm (as this will help August’s social status). But instead of being interested in strengthening his connection with August, Wilhelm felt drawn to non-res student Simon (singer / actor Omar Rudberg) the moment he attended Simon’s choir performance.
Seeing the two young teens come closer to each other is sure to put a smile on your face. If there’s one thing this creative team has done perfectly, it’s the natural way Simon and Wilhelm fall in love. Of course, kudos to Ryding and Rudberg for doing an amazing job selling all of those “first love” emotions. I’m telling you all, their interactions are incredibly cute. You are not ready ! There are secret looks, smiles, handshakes, little kisses … my heart!
While Simon is a gay teenager, Wilhelm is in the closet still trying to make sense of his sexuality. Although being in love with Simon causes Wilhelm to become more comfortable being gay, things change for the worse when Erik dies in an accident and Wilhelm is catapulted into the role of the future king. Wilhelm is now tasked with continuing the royal line and acting in a certain way.
Seeing their relationship strained because of Wilhelm’s predicament made sense to me. However, even then I loved seeing Wilhelm stay true to himself and alongside Simon. The scene at the stadium with Simon offering his support to an emotionally destroyed Wilhelm was perfect!
Young Royals has a handful of scenes where Wilhelm and Simon have to go through difficult situations to stay together. The two argue, but they still find each other. And while I appreciated their strong bond, as the story progressed, I couldn’t help but feel that Wilhelm was asking too much of Simon. As a character comfortable with his sexuality, being continually pressured to keep his romantic relationship with Wilhelm private was clearly taking its toll on him.
Simon finally stood up for himself was another highlight of Young Royals. I loved watching him tell Wilhelm his truth. The young prince has a lot of baggage, and asking Simon to stay with him while he takes care of it was selfish. The two clearly love each other, but Wilhelm had to complete his current journey on his own. Wilhelm needs to understand his duty as a future king and how it would work with his homosexuality.
Simon’s decision was sad, but it was healthier than the alternative. As someone interested in offering support to others (including his family and Wilhelm), it was time for Simon to take care of his mental well-being. I’m glad he made the right choice at the most important moment.
Simon and Wilhelm’s relationship in the first season of Young Royals was treated with a level of maturity I didn’t expect from a story featuring two young gay teens streaming on Netflix. The entire arc ended up being one that adults in real life could learn a thing or two about when it comes to unhealthy and messy relationships.
Simon and Wilhelm’s love affair is clearly not over. So, I hope Netflix decides to bring Young Royals back for a second season.
Besides the main love story, another thing I liked about this series is how the writers remembered to give the characters things to do outside of the tangles of relationships (something Elite season 4 failed dramatically at).
Simon, from a normal household, faces contempt when he sees Hillerska. His views and opinions differ from those of children belonging to royal or wealthy families. He has a drunk father. And he also needs to keep an eye on his sister Sara (who suffers from ADHD and Asperger’s). Simon’s ambitions include leaving the small town and doing something with his life. Simon also has two friends who are not dating Hillerska to interact with.
August’s story involved a father who committed suicide, being bankrupt, and a mother who is not always there for him. As someone who thinks he has to be perfect to defend the last name, he is under a lot of pressure. This pressure leads him to present a very egocentric facade and an addiction to certain types of drugs.
We also have Felice (Nikita Uggla), referred to as “modern nobility”. She is interested in marrying Wilhelm and being part of royalty. I think trying to deal with a bossy parent is something that many can relate to. I loved seeing her stand in front of her mom and be more confident in her appearance and what she wanted to do with her life.
A part of Felice’s story that many won’t be able to understand revolves around her inability to connect with her horse. I mean, it’s a show with a lot of rich kids after all. But that said, I liked Felice as a character. She was instrumental in determining who leaked the intimate video between Wilhelm and Simon. She also accepts Wilhelm’s sexuality very well even though she wanted to be with him.
Sara (Frida Argento) does not feel out of place in Hillerska and wants to fit in. I enjoyed seeing Sara and Felice become friends. She also helped Simon find the strength within himself to start putting his feelings first. However, I didn’t like the mess Sara got into with August. Hopefully, these interactions don’t continue into the second season.
So, yeah, you can see there’s a lot more going on in this show than the well-written queer love story between Wilhelm and Simon. Each character had their own small arcs, which included aspects not directly related to Wilhelm and Simon’s relationship. The show also took some time to talk about classism and the audience’s relationship with the monarchy. This show is clearly not The crown, and he doesn’t want to be either. And it’s a good thing. It’s definitely more modern and unique (with the queer storyline taking center stage).
I also appreciated that the creative team refrained from making Wilhelm a bisexual character. Noting against bisexuals, it’s just that the media doesn’t have the best record when it comes to well-written bisexual portrayal. A number of writers end up equating being bisexual with being untrustworthy and promiscuous to cause unnecessary drama between the characters. Young Royals could easily have caused Wilhelm to have romantic feelings for Felice as well, and that she and Simon turned into an emotional mess while they waited for Wilhelm to choose between them.
Created by Lisa Ambjörn, the six long episodes Young Royals was released on Netflix on July 1, 2021. Each episode is approximately 42 minutes long. So, this is an easy frenzy. Go watch it!
Have you finished Young Royals already?
Please feel free to share your ideas with us.
Farid has a double master’s degree in psychology and biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in molecular genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville and The Game Master of Somerville. It gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime / manga, video games, and movies.
Read our before commenting.
Do not copy our entire content from other websites. Links are encouraged.
Copyright © The Geekiary