LGBT Media: Young Royals (2021)

Young Royals follows the troubled Prince Wilhelm of Sweden. He’s shipped to boarding school by his chilly mother. There he falls for Simon, a working-class student. How long can they keep the relationship secret? And what will happen if they’re caught?

What Works

18-year-old Edvin Ryding is delightful as the neurotic Prince. His imperfect skin and slender frame set him apart from the models on your average teen soap. He’s a sensitive soul who buckles under the pressures of royal life. The audience is quickly placed in his corner.

Pop singer Omar Rudberg makes a solid debut as Simon. The writers take time to flesh out his friendships, family and struggles at school. He’s a fully realized character with a life outside of the Prince’s orbit. That’s fortunate as his naiveté about the relationship can try the patience.

The romance is tentative and awkward. Each nervous glance and involuntary smile speak volumes. Their first stolen kiss is electric. It’s a relationship to root for despite the obstacles.

What’s Not There Yet

Young Royals juggles less characters than the overstuffed Love, Victor but they still feel like a waste of time. A toxic bully (Malte Gårdinger) wrestles with financial problems and a prescription drug addiction. Simon’s neuroatypical sister (Frida Argento) schemes to climb the social ladder. A wealthy girl (Nikita Uggla) struggles to tame a stubborn horse. I never understood why we should care. How many subplots does a six episode series need?

The lack of adult extras is a problem. The school has three faculty members. The Prince has a security staff of two. He strolls through town without fans or paparazzi mobbing him. He’s gossiped about on social media but we rarely see him in the public eye. This robs the show of stakes. 

The season ends with a shrug. A crisis is resolved off-screen and the subplots end abruptly. We have six episodes of set up but no pay off. If Netflix renews Young Royals there are several directions the story could go. Could the writers move past coming out tropes? How would the public respond to an openly gay Prince? I would watch to find out. Just please, no more horse drama.

 You can find more of my reviews on The Avocado and Letterboxd. My podcast, Rainbow Colored Glasses, can be found here.