Following the news that the hit Swedish high school-set series Young Royals will return to Netflix for its third and final season, The Queer Review editor James Kleinmann spoke with its stars Edvin Ryding and Omar Rudberg—who play teenaged star-crossed lovers Prince Wilhelm and Simon in the show—about their reaction to the announcement.
“Finally!” Ryding enthused, “We were hoping it would happen because our head writer Lisa Ambjörn said that she had always imagined Young Royals in three seasons, like three chapters. So the fact that we’re able to do the final chapter feels very important to us. We’re very focused on doing our best this last season and brining it to the audience.”
On whether knowing it would be the last season made things feel bittersweet, Rudberg shared, “It’s a little sad because it has been such a fun time with the whole Young Royals thing, but everything good has to end. So instead of thinking, ‘Oh, it’s going end, F**k my life!’ We should probably think, ‘Thank you for making it happen and that it even existed’. That’s what we should be really thankful for.”
The show’s passionate international fanbase has fallen for the all-consuming romance between Wilhelm and Simon, and Ryding told The Queer Review that he was particularly happy to see how viewers responded to the pair’s first kiss in the second season. “I loved seeing the reactions to that because they had to wait four episodes before it happened. We were teasing them all the way too.”
Rudberg describes the care and attention to the series from Young Royals fans as “beautiful”, continuing, “It’s a blessing to be able to have a voice for people around the world who don’t have as big a voice as we do on social media. But it can also be a little overwhelming to see so many people writing and commenting. It’s just crazy. Sometimes you look at your phone and it’s just numbers, but then you realize that it’s actually people around the world sending messages telling their story and sharing how we have affected them. It’s beautiful to see. It’s also scary because you don’t want to let them down and there’s a lot of people.”
As for portraying the love between Simon and Wilhelm on screen, Ryding told us, “It feels very powerful to be in it. Once you allow yourself into that space it feels very strong but that’s also because our characters carry so many other emotions, like shame, betrayal, secrets, and so on. So it’s this whole rollercoaster and tornado of emotions inside. It is very powerful, but it is beautiful.”
As well as entertaining millions of fans globally, Young Royals has created meaningful and impactful LGBTQ+ representation. “I spoke with a suicide prevention organization in Sweden called Suicide Zero“, Ryding shares, “They told me that they have a lot of LGBTQ youth talking with them and feeling bad. ‘I’ve got to say that your portrayal in Young Royals really means something to them and it’s so important to them’, they told me. I remember tearing up because it was so beautiful and powerful to know that the show is actually changing people’s lives. It’s so insane.”
As for their own favourite LGBTQ+ culture, Rudberg shares, “We both love Call Me By Your Name, it’s so beautiful.” Ryding also wanted to highlight the Swedish production of Matthew López’s Tony Award-winning play, The Inheritance, Arv. “The actors doing it in Sweden are doing it so well”, shares Ryding. “It’s such a nice portrait of being queer in New York actually during the time when Trump got elected and that whole era, but also the 80s with the AIDS epidemic. That’s so powerful.”
By James Kleinmann
Seasons one and two of Young Royals are streaming now on Netflix. Young Royals will return for a third and final season.
Watch the full interview with Omar Rudberg & Edvin Ryding:
Watch our season 2 interview with Young Royals stars Omar Rudberg and Edvin Ryding: