Summary: Young Royals is a new Swedish Netflix drama series that tells the story of a young prince who would rather live an ordinary life than fulfill his royal duties. The show revolves around the struggles of Prince Wilhelm, who falls in love with a boy and tries to find his place in the monarchy while dealing with his sexuality, family expectations, and newfound freedom.
1. Queer representation
One of the most significant aspects of Young Royals is its queer representation. The show manages to portray a queer romance sensitively and realistically, without fetishizing or stereotyping the characters. Wilhelm’s sexuality is not the main focus of the plot but is treated as an integral part of his identity, which affects his relationships and personal growth.
The show also features other queer characters, such as Simon, a student at the school where Wilhelm studies, who becomes his first love interest. Simon is openly gay and confident in his identity, and he supports Wilhelm through his coming-out journey. Although some characters are homophobic, the show addresses homophobia as a societal issue that needs to be challenged and overturned.
The portrayal of queer characters in Young Royals can help LGBTQ+ viewers feel seen and validated. It also raises awareness about LGBTQ+ issues and promotes diversity and inclusivity in media.
2. Family dynamics
Young Royals explores the complex dynamics of a royal family and how their traditions and expectations shape their identity and behavior. Through the lens of Prince Wilhelm’s experiences, we see how the monarchy affects individual freedom and autonomy, especially when it comes to choosing one’s partners and pursuing personal interests.
Prince Wilhelm struggles to balance his loyalty to his family, his desire for independence, and his admiration for his fellow students at Hillerska, who have a more relaxed and democratic lifestyle. His strained relationship with his father, King Erik, adds another layer of tension and conflict to the storyline, as Wilhelm feels misunderstood and overshadowed by his brother, Prince Erik.
The show portrays the royal family as imperfect and human, with flaws and vulnerabilities that they try to conceal from the public eye. It also highlights the generational gap between the older and younger generations and how they view their roles in society and their responsibility towards the country.
3. Education system
Another theme that Young Royals explores is the Swedish education system and its different social classes. The show takes place at Hillerska, a prestigious boarding school that serves as a melting pot for students from diverse backgrounds and aspirations.
The contrast between Wilhelm’s privileged upbringing and his classmates’ more modest ones is evident in the way they interact and perceive each other. Wilhelm initially feels entitled and superior to his peers, but gradually he learns to appreciate their values and perspectives, and he develops friendships that transcend social and cultural boundaries.
The education system in the show also highlights the importance of critical thinking, creative expression, and teamwork, as opposed to rote memorization and conformity. The characters learn to question authority, think outside the box, and explore their passions, which prepares them for life beyond school and their potential contributions to society.
4. Coming-of-age story
At its core, Young Royals is a coming-of-age story that follows Prince Wilhelm’s journey from adolescence to adulthood. Through his experiences, we see the challenges and opportunities that come with growing up, such as self-discovery, identity formation, and decision-making.
Wilhelm’s coming-out process is a significant part of his character development, as he learns to accept himself and be comfortable with his sexuality. This process involves confronting his fears and doubts, seeking support from his friends and family, and finding a sense of belonging and purpose.
The show also portrays other characters’ coming-of-age stories, such as Felice, Wilhelm’s sister, who struggles with depression and social anxiety, or August, Wilhelm’s best friend, who wants to be a filmmaker but fears disappointing his parents’ expectations. These stories provide a nuanced and diverse portrayal of adolescence and its challenges and contribute to the show’s emotional depth and resonance.
5. Cinematography and sound design
Aside from its storytelling and character development, Young Royals stands out for its visual and auditory aesthetics. The cinematography captures the beauty of the Swedish landscapes and architecture, as well as the intimacy and intensity of the characters’ interactions. The use of natural light and muted colors creates a sense of melancholy and serenity that matches the tone of the show.
The sound design is also noteworthy, as it blends modern and classical music to create a unique and haunting mood. The theme song, “Love Me Again” by John Newman, sets the tone for the show’s emotionality and adds a layer of romanticism and nostalgia to the storyline.
The show’s technical aspects elevate the overall experience and add to its artistic value, making it stand out from other teen dramas.
Young Royals is a powerful and engaging drama series that tackles important themes and topics with sensitivity and authenticity. Its queer representation, family dynamics, education system, coming-of-age story, and cinematography and sound design make it an excellent addition to the Netflix library and a must-watch for anyone interested in LGBTQ+ issues and youth culture. The show’s diverse and talented cast, led by Edvin Ryding’s outstanding performance as Prince Wilhelm, bring the characters to life and make them relatable and sympathetic. Overall, Young Royals deserves recognition and praise for its contributions to media representation and storytelling.