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Having watched the wholesomeness of Heartstopper, the summer had me gripped in my search for queer content. I searched online for the best LGBTQ+ books, films and TV shows, and spent my weeks reading and watching everything from They Both Die at the End and Red, White and Royal Blue to The Owl House, Sense8 and Young Royals.

Young Royals is a Swedish teen drama made by Netflix. Its first season of six episodes was released in 2021, and fans have been waiting anxiously for season two. It revolves around the fictional Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Edvin Ryding) who transfers to a new boarding school and forms a budding romance with fellow student Simon (Omar Rudberg). Simon is happily out as a gay man, but Wilhelm is hesitant to announce his feelings for Simon, as he has the Royal Family to think of and doesn’t want to cause another scandal.

Normally, I’m not a fan of shows that require subtitles but I’ll watch anything with LGBTQ+ lead characters. I loved Young Royals. Like Charlie and Nick’s relationship in Heartstopper, the relationship between Simon and Wilhelm is a feel-good romance that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But there is also drama that causes the relationship to fall apart, which makes you angry and frustrated at the characters all the while keeping you invested for season two.

One of the things I love about Young Royals is its portrayal of the romance between Wilhelm and Simon. The show manages to not fall into the trap of portraying a problematic, unhealthy queer relationship that we see in a lot of mainstream media. That’s not to say that there aren’t problems in their relationship – the two clearly love each other, but Wilhelm has trouble accepting that he isn’t straight and then has trouble telling people. These issues cause him to retreat from the relationship, which isn’t the healthiest for Simon who then feels like their relationship is something that should be hidden away. Whilst these issues cause problems, it’s not that hard to understand why Wilhelm acts as he does.

I think that most LGBTQ+ people can probably relate to Wilhelm for not wanting to come out, because it can be terrifying to share something that big with the world – and being in the public eye would only make that harder. In episode two, we see August (another student at the school) questioning Wilhelm about his relationship with one of the girls at the school, and you can see how anxious and uncomfortable it makes him feel. I often used to feel like that when people at school would ask if I liked any girls or had a girlfriend. I used to reply with a simple “no”, even though I could have just told them I’m gay and not hidden it away – but that is hard to do. Scenes like this make the show really relatable.

The diversity of characters is also impressive. Although at a private boarding school, not all the characters are the stereotypical private school students. Simon comes from a working class background and often doesn’t feel he fits in with the rest of the kids, and his money problems play a key role to his character in the first season. Plus, there’s some neurodivergent representation with Simon’s sister, Sara, that is incredibly rare to see on TV.

It’s also unusual to see actual teenagers playing teenage characters, which I think really adds to the authenticity. Nowadays, thankfully, studios are heading towards this being the norm, rather than the old days of 30-year-olds playing teenagers very unconvincingly.

Season one ended in a quite dramatic way leaving me so ready for the new season – and I’m glad I’ve only had to wait a few months. I’m hoping for another fantastic season with as much drama (but hopefully a happier ending) as the first, and I’m sure the cast and writers will deliver. If you haven’t watched the show yet, I recommend you catch up on all the queer drama ready for season two.

Joshua volunteers with Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity. Sign up now to get involved.

The second season of Young Royals is now streaming worldwide on Netflix.