Season 3 of ‘Young Royals’ concludes with a graceful ending

Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) and Simon (Omar Rudberg) in the third season of "Young Royals."
Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding) and Simon (Omar Rudberg) in the third season of “Young Royals.”

It is perhaps wise that the third season of the romantic teen series, “Young Royals,” is the last. Only so much hay can be made with this story of Sweden’s Crown Prince Wilhelm (Edvin Ryding), his boyfriend Simon (Omar Rudberg), and their struggle to love each other. Over the course of 18 episodes and three seasons, they have been on again and off again, and the same dynamic continues. 

The first episode of Season 3 has Wilhelm and Simon at a settlement table with Wilhelm’s rival/cousin, August (Malte Gårdinger), who recorded and leaked a video of Simon and Wilhelm being intimate. The tensions around the table are high. There is sexual tension between Wilhelm and Simon, who are still hot for each other, but also dramatic tension as Simon’s mother, Linda (Carmen Gloria Pérez), wants justice. August’s lawyer makes some claims that make the queen (Pernilla August) even more uncomfortable about the whole scandal. 

The queen’s health soon becomes a concern, which certainly plays into the possibility that the Crown Prince will be asked to do his duty much earlier than he expected. The series keeps this Sword of Damocles hanging in the background as other mini-dramas percolate. 

With the now-out couple Wilhelm and Simon able to kiss openly at Hillerska, their boarding school, their relationship generates blowback on social media. Many nasty comments are directed at Simon, and an act of violence at Simon’s home may also be a response to his relationship with the Crown Prince. Security becomes a concern, but the threats never seem too frightening.

Season 3 of "Young Royals" is available on Netflix.
Season 3 of “Young Royals” is available on Netflix.Netflix

Meanwhile, a new acting principal at Hillerska, Vanessa Hamilton (Marie Robertson), restricts cell phones and sets a curfew after the school’s reputation is damaged by a scandalous article about initiation rituals which leads to an investigation. This, along with other developments, seem designed to keep the young lovers apart.

The teen’s romance is mostly chaste. Much of the episodes have them searching for a moment of privacy in which they can act on their desires. (“Young Royals” is closer to the other Netflix teen series, “Heartstopper,” in that the gay teens mostly kiss; it not as risqué, as “Elite,” where the teens have more explicit sex.)  

In addition, Simon also must bow to the pressure not to post anything online that would make the Crown Prince and/or the Royal Family look bad. Suffice it to say, there are posts that generate scrutiny, and these cause a rift between the young lovers. Wilhelm’s position certainly means prudence, but he often comes off as selfish, which makes viewers side with Team Simon, who is humble and asked to “delete a part of himself” for this relationship — an idea that percolates through each episode until Simon has had enough. Such are the ups and downs of young love! Is compromise possible? And will they or won’t they end up together? 

In the meantime, “Young Royals” includes subplots involving Simon’s sister, Sara (Frida Argento), who feels adrift after losing her best friend, Felice (Nikita Uggla). Sara’s relationship with August also created drama that remains unresolved for August. Both Felice and August seem to want to patch things up with Sara, who has temporarily left school. August may be trying to redeem himself after his bad behavior, but he is more interesting tangling verbally (and even physically) with Wilhelm than mooning over Sara, whom he loved and lost. 

As such, the series gets by on its heartaches, which is what most lovelorn teens can identify with. Thankfully, the show considers issues of privilege as Felice is asked to do some positive PR for Hillerska but feels exploited as the only Black student. Likewise, during a school camping trip, Simon teaches Wilhelm a lesson about class when the Crown Prince makes some tone-deaf remarks about work and money. There is also a “strike” led by the prefect, Vincent (Nils Wetterholm), that politicizes the student body. 

How issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality are viewed by the characters makes it useful to define them, but these issues are raised more than they are explored. Instead, “Young Royals” concentrates on Wilhelm’s concerns about his late brother Erik, whom he loved. August gives Wilhelm some information that does not put Erik in a good light, and the Queen’s ailments stem from her grief over the loss of Erik. The storylines around Erik have always seemed contrived throughout the series, so its emphasis here feels especially deliberate. 

How things play out in the series finale, however, is ultimately bittersweet. When a major event happens (no spoilers here!) the characters all seek closure with the ones they felt they wronged or wronged by. Many characters come clean — and one student comes out — in the hopes of mending relationships. But the biggest question is: what will happen with Wilhelm? Will he ascend the throne — or renounce it? Will he end up with Simon — or alone? It is easy for fans to be engrossed as “Young Royals” builds to its graceful ending.

Young Royals” Season 3 | Now available on Netflix