Type keyword(s) to search

Quick Hits

Young Royals Season 3 Puts Wilhelm and Simon's Love to the Ultimate Test

The final season sees the boys facing their greatest challenges yet.
  • Omar Rudberg and Edvin Ryding in Young Royals (Photo: Netflix)
    Omar Rudberg and Edvin Ryding in Young Royals (Photo: Netflix)

    Coming out can be difficult, especially if you’re a teenager navigating your first real relationship. But coming out when you’re also a prince? That’s a whole other level of complicated. In the third and final season of Netflix’s Young Royals, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Edvin Ryding) and his boyfriend Simon (Omar Rudberg) go public as a couple after seasons of constant back-and-forth. But that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for these two — in fact, the stakes are higher than ever as their love is challenged like never before.

    Season 3, which premieres its first five episodes today, picks up in the aftermath of Wilhelm’s surprising decision to go off script in his speech and admit to the world that it is, in fact, him in that leaked video with Simon. It’s a testament to how far he’s come, showcasing that he’s no longer willing to hide his queerness for the sake of upholding the monarchy’s image. Going public is also a significant step for Wilhelm and Simon as a couple, especially considering they spent the majority of the previous season apart.

    There’s definitely freedom to be enjoyed in being out: kissing in the hallways, holding hands in front of their classmates, no longer having to sneak around. Yet, this newfound freedom also comes at a cost — everything Simon does from now on also reflects back on Wilhelm and the monarchy. Although Simon is happy to not have to hide their love anymore, he also admits that he wishes Wilhelm had given him a “heads up” before making a surprise public announcement.

    Both boys are dealing with plenty of other drama as well. Wilhelm’s mother (Pernilla August) is completely consumed by her grief over her older son Erik’s (Ivar Forsling) death and Simon is struggling with a difficult home life. On top of all of this, the school gets rocked by a scandal when a former student goes to the press alleging that they faced violent and homophobic behavior from peers during initiations (basically the boarding school version of fraternity rush). In response, the administration implements strict new rules, including a cell phone ban and a curfew.

    One of the biggest conflicts between the boys this season stems from their disagreement over social media usage. Facing pressure from his advisors, Wilhelm encourages Simon to keep a low profile. But Simon, not understanding what the big deal is, continues to post online. When he begins receiving hate messages, he attempts to defend himself by responding back, which only fans the flames more. Things reach a boiling point when Simon uploads a photo of himself and a young fan at a protest, with a banner that reads “crush the upper class” visible in the background. Then, someone throws a rock at Simon’s window, terrifying him and his family.

    The incident leads Wilhelm to question how Simon can be with him and be so against the monarchy at the same time. Simon also pressures him to use his upcoming charity foundation to promote LGBTQ+ rights, despite Wilhelm’s insistence that he’s not allowed to get “political.” Simon, a Latino from a working class family, feels that Wilhelm is blind to his privilege and wishes he would use it to help make a difference. On the other hand, Wilhelm has spent his entire life being taught to uphold the image of the monarchy above all else. As Simon points out, the two of them are simply very different. “But isn't that supposed to be a good thing?” Wilhelm asks. “That we complement and learn from each other?”

    Things take a turn for the worse when Wilhelm learns that Erik, whom he had always idolized, took part in those infamous initiations the school is investigating. Unable to process the upsetting information, he grows distant and pushes his boyfriend away. Simon attempts to comfort him, but it only angers him and sparks another big argument between them. “I always try to be there for him, but whatever I do, it turns out wrong,” Simon cries to his mother later. She consoles him, but also points out that love “shouldn’t be this hard.”

    Their relationship reaches its final breaking point in Episode 5 as Simon attends Wilhelm’s birthday celebration at the palace. Although the day starts off on a hopeful note, things quickly spiral out of control at dinner when the Queen — who’s very unwell at this point — can’t stop talking about how seemingly perfect Erik was. Wilhelm explodes at his parents and claims they left him to deal with his grief alone, accusing them of only caring about the monarchy and nothing else. Simon watches as Wilhelm knocks over objects in a rage, clearly horrified.

    It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Later that night, Simon finally admits what they both know deep down: it isn’t working out between them. “I really try to be there for you, but then I just see how everything just hurts you,” he tells Wilhelm. “And that hurts me. It’s like you became someone else. I don’t recognize you.” He takes a deep breath and echoes his mother’s earlier words of wisdom, adding, “Love shouldn’t be this hard.”

    It’s not exactly hard to see why Simon came to this conclusion. He’s right, love shouldn’t be this hard. That’s not to say their issues stem from them being incompatible; they obviously care for one another very much and would never intentionally hurt each other. In between all the angst, there have been lots of sweet #Wilmon moments this season too. But teenage relationships are also, well, fundamentally messy. And when you throw in all the added pressures that come with dating a Royal Family member, things are bound to get complicated.

    Will Wilhelm and Simon get their happily ever after? Young Royals fans will just have to wait for the series finale to find out.

    Young Royals Season 3, Episodes 1-5 are streaming on Netflix, with the series finale arriving on March 18. Join the discussion about the show in our forums.

    Kelly Martinez is a TV Reporter based in Los Angeles. Her previous work can be found at BuzzFeed and People Magazine, among other outlets. She enjoys reading, spending time with her cat, and explaining the plot of Riverdale to people.

    TOPICS: Young Royals, Netflix, Camilla Holter, Edvin Ryding, Lars Beckung, Lisa Ambjörn, Omar Rudberg