Young Royals, Netlix.


Edvin Ryding and Omar Rudberg in Young Royals–


Following on the HEARTSTOPPER trail, I moved to YOUNG ROYALS, a Swedish teen series about the younger son of the royal family who’s such a party boy he gets sent to boarding school, where he promptly falls in love with the only mixed-race scholarship boy in the place, a situation made more difficult when the Prince’s older and much-loved brother gets killed in a car crash and he becomes heir to the throne, his love now denied him for reasons of state as well as everything else. How to overcome this? It’s all very teen: intense feeling, lots of attempts to hold hands, finding secret places to kiss, sneaking into bedrooms. The camera’s look on the boys is more eroticised than HEARSTOPPER – it’s aimed at a slightly older audience — though still relatively tame, the emphasis more on the heart than the groin — but drugs and alcohol now figure in a way they didn’t in HEARTSTOPPER. It’s a boarding school setting and fans of the genre will find all the familiar tropes here: the alliances, groupings, performances, initiations. It is also a fairy tale which follows the tropes closely; the prince is lonely and isolated and finds his other half amongst the people, though as is usual, this particular person, whilst he ends up not being royal himself, is marked as special because he looks divine and sings like an angel. Interestingly, the poor boy chosen by royalty here, and despite his rough background, is pictured as femmy, keeping with the trope that it’s always a girl who is raised up socially by the princely alliance (I can’t think of an instance in traditional fairy tales where it’s the other way around). The series has a great focus on the girls in the boarding school; dressing up, putting make-up on, their conflicts with their mothers, their mutual support. So a fairy tale about young gay boys aimed primarily at teenage girls. I enjoyed it but did giggle when I chanced upon a review praising it for its realism.

José Arroyo

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