The Swedish teen drama is a commendable attempt at a royal romance beyond the conventional norms of heterosexual relationships.
Official Poster of Young Royals
What’s it about?
The series chronicles the tale of Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), the prince of Sweden, who is sent off to Hillerska Boarding School where his older brother Erik (Ivar Forsling) went, after he gets involved in a tiff at the club. August (Malte Gardinger), his second cousin, who leads the noble upperclassmen at the Forest Ridge residence and is snobbish to the core becomes his guide. As time passes, Wilhelm gets close to non-residents Simon (Omar Rudberg) and his sister Sara, despite them being outcasts due to their common heritage and the struggles they face on their path to love. Standing at the crossroad, Wilhelm must choose between his affection for Simon and his duty to the royal family, while a scandal threatens to destroy all.
It is rarely seen that teen romances go beyond the boundary of heteronormativity, leave alone royal dramas. Breaking this stereotype, is the exception of Young Royals as it is a testimony to the forbidden romance blooming between Prince Wilhelm and Simon, in spite of their varied background, defying class and society.
Edvin Ryding plays the role of Prince Wilhelm and delivers a soulful performance as a young boy, who is still unsure of his sexuality and is torn between his duty to family and the desire to lead a normal life, away from the glitz and glam as well as the continuous pressures of being a prince. His layered portrayal displaying sort of a nervous tenacity makes the chaos brewing within him very realistic and conveys his emotions perfectly to the audience. Omar Rudberg as Simon balances the palate, with his confidence as a gay boy who is proud of himself and would never compromise with his self-respect. Another note-worthy character is that of August played by Malte Gardinger, a second cousin to the prince and egotistical to the extreme, but has a dark past that haunts him to this day.
The stellar performances are complemented with a tight-knit script that allows the romance between Simon and Wilhelm develop gradually, providing authenticity to the plot. Apart from that, the breathtaking locations and commendable cinematography serve as cherries on the cake.
A bit predictable, the show is a twist on the cliched concept of royals who are lost in their overprivileged world. With the first episode being a lot slower and feeling like any other common teen drama, the plot changes its course as the second episode divulges into the conundrums and chaos that the prince is facing within himself. This becomes a negative score for the series as a whole as it is bound to lose a chunk of its viewers with many of them dropping off, unimpressed by the initial episode.
The series also employs the usage of certain stereotypical minor characters, as the rich are shown to be extremely shallow, not having any real-life problems except what to eat in the afternoon and where to go for vacation. The sub-plots are not given enough space to flourish properly, seeming inadequate and unrequired at times.
A coming-of-age spin on teen drama, exploring sexuality, love and forbidden romance, with the tangy twist of royalty is definitely worth a watch and treat to the audience, as it normalizes the fact that love is love.