Why 'Young Royals' Climactic Coming Out Scene is so Special

by Shawn Laib

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday November 21, 2022
Originally published on November 18, 2022

Omar Rudberg, left, and Edvin Ryding, right, in a scene from "Young Royals."
Omar Rudberg, left, and Edvin Ryding, right, in a scene from "Young Royals."   (Source:Johan Paulin/Netflix)

[Editor's note: This article contains spoilers about Netflix's "Young Royals" Season 2]

As LGBTQ+ storytelling becomes more accepted amongst the general audiences, producers behind the TV screen have been afforded an influx of creative liberties in telling their narratives. The traditional coming out trope is no longer the only topic of relevance in a queer series, and not many shows understand this better than Netflix's Swedish phenomenon, "Young Royals." This tender and feel-good coming-of-age drama is set in a boarding school with political elites and has really taken off in its second season, which debuted earlier this month.

The romance between the crown prince of Sweden, Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), and the kind immigrant Simon (Omar Rudberg), is an incredible analysis of an array of social issues within the LGBTQ+ community such as class, race, heritage, and deception. The show doesn't go about its story in the way many American queer series do, instead opting to look at the struggles of these teen characters through the eyes of a royal family and the pressures of that corrupt structure. The scene at the end of the Season 2 finale in which Wilhelm announces his love for Simon in front of a national audience in Sweden is epic and bone-chilling, and it instantly deserves to be thought of as an all-timer amongst the gay television canon. Here's several reasons why it was so special.

Wilhelm Never Announces His Sexuality

Wilhelm tells the crowd that he was in the leaked sex tape with Simon from Season 1, which is very different to a traditional coming-out scene; the main thing that comes to mind is that Wilhelm never specifically announces his sexual orientation. This is in stark contrast to something like Nick Nelson saying he's bisexual in "Heartstopper" or Victor Salazar coming out as gay to his parents at the end of the first season of "Love, Victor."

Of course, there's nothing wrong with labeling your sexuality, as this is the way most people come out. At the same time, sexuality is complex and not everyone knows for sure how to identify themselves, especially upon coming out at a young age. Forcing people to do so results in unfortunate circumstances like "Heartstopper" actor Kit Connor being bullied on social media into coming out as bisexual.

What Wilhelm knows for sure is that he's completely in love with Simon, so his coming out reflected that certainty and he was able to articulate it to a mass audience in a powerful show of courage. For those who are also having feelings for the same sex but don't want to define themselves, Wilhelm's journey is more than relatable; it's a mirror image of real life.

Wilhelm Validates Simon's Worth

Omar Rudberg, left, and Edvin Ryding, right, in a scene from "Young Royals."
Omar Rudberg, left, and Edvin Ryding, right, in a scene from "Young Royals."  (Source: Robert Eldrim / Netflix)

The crux of Wilhelm and Simon's romance since the middle of the first season is their massive difference in social class ranking amongst the Swedish elite. While they both go to the same boarding school, they couldn't be on further ends of the political hierarchy. Wilhelm is the crown prince, a young man who is going to become the King of Sweden someday. Simon is considered lower class and is an immigrant. In many ways, the main reason their relationship was forbidden by the Swedish monarchy, such as Wilhelm's mother, is because of this class disparity, not because of the same-sex nature of the partnership.

When the two teens are caught on tape in an act of intimacy, Wilhelm lies about his identity, leaving Simon out on an island by himself. When Wilhelm finds the bravery to own up to what happened, this is a significant shattering of the social hierarchy between himself and Simon. It shows both the Queen and the rest of the Swedish monarchy that he won't ever be embarrassed about being with someone who is lower on the political rungs of the country. Simon has been validated, and in turn their romance is finally substantiated alongside him.

The Scene Is Beautifully Choreographed

Omar Rudberg, left, and Edvin Ryding, right in "Young Royals."
Omar Rudberg, left, and Edvin Ryding, right in "Young Royals."  (Source: Robert Eldrim/Netflix)

Television has a way of enhancing the magic of coming out. Music choice, camera angles, eloquent line delivery and so much more can really elevate a moment that is already compelling into something even more palpable. The song choice right after Wilhelm announces his love for Simon, "The Most Beautiful Boy" by the Irrepressibles, is evocative and brings the hairs up on the back of your neck. It's the type of musical choice that allows the audience to live vicariously through the characters and feel the tangible weight lifted off their shoulders.

Actors Edvin Ryding and Omar Rudberg are able to play off of each other stunningly, as Rudberg displays a raw confusion as Simon that runs symmetrical to the audience's. Nobody knows where Wilhelm is going with his speech, but once Ryding's character turns and smiles, all the potential for disaster washes away. Ryding looks to the camera and breaks the fourth wall in the final seconds of the season, letting the viewership into his inner circle to experience the moment with him. If Netflix has any awareness of how vital LGBTQ+ content is to their platform, they'll renew "Young Royals" for a third season so we can see where these unique characters bring us next.