'Young Royals' is a great example of positive gay representation in its two main protagonists, but the supporting characters are often frustratingly selfish.
August 8, 2021
SPOILERS FOR YOUNG ROYALS.
This show surprised me. Usually shows featuring homosexual protagonists are poorly executed, but the same can not be said for Young Royals. Edvin Ryding, starring as Wilhelm, gave an excellent performance as the mourning, closeted prince. The attraction between Simon (Omar Rudberg) was hot, and things started sizzling instantly upon their first shared glance. Simon was as captivating as his voice — even the prince couldn’t stay away.
Wilhelm was thrust into a role that he not only didn’t want, but also wasn’t ready for. After his older brother’s death, Wilhelm’s world turned upside down. Responsibilities were shoved at him from his parents, his school, and his lover. How hard must it have been to deny what brings him the most pleasure? Everyone wanted something from him, except Simon. Yet, when it came time to prove his love, Wilhelm betrayed him to save himself. Simon was like the angel on Wilhelm’s shoulder and honestly, my favorite character. He knew himself, demanded what was his, and didn’t change for anyone, not even his prince. He was selfish in some moments, but who can fault him for being human. In the end, Simon stood true to himself.
My biggest problem was Sara (Frida Argento), Simon’s sister, and August (Malte Gardinger), Wilhelm’s friend. When Simon said, “At least I don’t piss on my family, Sara,” he didn’t know how right he was. Sara had the audacity to betray her own brother for her come up. I admire her tenacity, but damn. After she learned from August that all she needed to do was apply for a grant, she should have went right to her brother and told him who leaked the video. Instead, she kissed August! On top of that, Wilhelm’s mother withheld that truth from him. Her reasoning was “to protect the royal family,” but she unknowingly may have just broken it even more. She kept bringing Erik’s (Wilhelm’s older brother) name up. Even as a reminder of everything they have to achieve, it just felt manipulative. She invalidated her son’s feelings in order to protect her own legacy. This just proves that blood isn’t as thick as water no matter if you are low class or someone important. Human nature of self-preservation always wins in the end.
Felice (Nikita Uggla) was the only one who was a true friend. She told the truth, even to herself. She didn’t love August, but she didn’t love Wilhelm either. Throughout this series she made multiple attempts to find out who she was, and when she finally did, Sara lost herself. The irony there isn’t lost on me. Both women did a 180 on their character. Unfortunately for Sara, the look just didn’t suit her.
This show was an emotional struggle, as well as a physical one. The characters that annoyed me in the beginning turned out to be good people, and the characters that were assholes in the beginning turned out to be…well assholes in the end. A few supporting characters really showed growth during their year at school, including the prince himself. When he hugged Simon at the end, I was surprised and impressed. They both went opposite ways — Wilhelm towards his carriage, taking him back to his castle, and Simon walking back towards the school with a rat beside him. That leaves only one question: Will Wilhelm return to Simon as the lover he knew, or will he come back from Christmas vacation changed? I guess we’ll all have to wait for season 2.