First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz and HRH Prince Henry engage in a heated romance, transforming their rivalry.
Enemies-to-lovers is the most satisfying rom-com trope of all. Petty banter and stolen glances build a delicious kind of tension. First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz and HRH Prince Henry, the stately studs at the center of Amazon Prime Video’s movie Red, White & Royal Blue, are the ones who exemplify this case. They hate and love each other, and they can’t keep their perfectly manicured and moisturized hands off each other — in the words of the Extremely Online, we’re back so much.
The president’s reckless son and the imperial spare develop a swoon-worthy romance in this unabashedly gay rom-com, an adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s novel of the same name—the romance blossoms after they stage a media friendship. Director Matthew López’s mastery of elevated Hallmark brings an affectionate and entertaining touch to the film, anchored by the palpable push-and-pull between love and royal duty (names like Diana, Harry, and Meghan might come to mind).
I mean this in the best way possible: If you often scroll through the fanfiction site Archive of Our Own before bed, then Red, White & Royal Blue will evoke emotions in you. In AO3 terms, it’s “enemies become lovers,” “boys falling in love,” “struggling with emotions,” and “royalty AU.” If those tags speak to you, or if you seriously need a feel-good rom-com, add Red, White, and royal Blue to your weekend watch list, and here’s why.
The fiery chemistry between Taylor Zakhar Perez and Nicholas Galitzine
Perez embodies the slickness of sandpaper as Alex Claremont-Diaz. They tell us that Alex is a bit of a wild child who gets drunk at a royal wedding and causes a geopolitical headache for his mom, the President of the United States (Uma Thurman, sporting the twangiest of twangs). He hosts a New Year’s rager on White House grounds every year. But he has an off-putting music snob personality trait (his love of Bad Bunny is valid).
Red White & Royal Blue: Alex is a Soft Boy. He has a golden heart! His emotions are messy. I am an optimist who believes that politics can positively impact marginalized communities! He keeps the key to his childhood home in Texas around his neck so he never forgets where he came from! Clifton Collins Jr. plays his Senator father, Oscar, the proud son of working-class parents. Chuck Bass is not here. He believes in what – and who – he is intelligent, ambitious, and passionate about.
And Perez, with his wispy eyelashes and mega-watt charisma, endears Alex to the audience, especially as he falls in love with Henry, someone who, on paper, embodies his complete opposite. Prince Henry composes himself, takes himself seriously, and carefully chooses his words, exhibiting a restraint only British people and Olympians reserve. But their chemistry is also what makes it so incendiary. Perez and Galitzine’s undeniable charm creates an instant spark between Alex and Henry that wouldn’t work otherwise.
Galitzine leans into Henry’s vulnerability, his chiseled jawline adding to his allure. Galitzine portrays the character as “literally entitled” — he’s not the heir to the throne but still holds the second position in line. He is a rich royal kid who spent his formative years in a haughty boarding school, yet Galitzine’s portrayal adds a softness to the character. The weight of the crown and his sexuality are buckling him. And Alex is saving and eating him alive in equal measure with these clandestine hook-ups across the Atlantic. Honestly, it’s difficult to sympathize with a royal, whether fictional or not, but Henry’s beauty prevents him from feeling sad.
At times, Alex and Henry’s banter reminds one of the studio comedies from a bygone era (Perez channels his inner Cary Grant), yet the exchanges distinctly reflect the year 2023. In one scene, Henry comments that Alex smells like Le Labo Santal 33 — the comment could be interpreted as either a personal dig or an attempt at flirting. By the time they get intimate for the first time in the White House, they feel that they have earned it. (Also, I should mention that these sex scenes are sexy.)
It’s a celebration of queer joy and LGBT
In real life, the story would face insurmountable stakes which is shown in Red White & Royal Blue. Bigots would likely be incentivized to spew even more hate and vitriol by a queer love affair between the President’s son and the Prince of England. But in Red, White & Royal Blue, a waltz around a museum at midnight or a sentimental speech on the campaign trail can fix anything. And honestly, that’s kind of perfect.
Alex and Henry often feel like characters in a sh? Jo manga, or Japanese comics, targeted teenage girls. These stories emphasize romance and intimacy, with beautiful men depicted as soft, gentle, and emotionally intelligent through the female gaze.
The book is titled “Red, White & Royal Blue.” It never lets you forget that you are essentially watching a modern fairy tale where love conquers all, even conquering self-doubt and fear of the unknown. It doesn’t minimize the queer experience; Henry and Alex still undergo their respective journeys of self-discovery, and not every character is as open-minded as Alex’s parents and best friend Nora (Rachel Hilson, who fires off memorable one-liners as the VP’s daughter) — the British monarchy unsurprisingly isn’t as keen to have a gay royal representing the Crown. Instead, a moment of hope is led by every obstacle.
When an overzealous political journalist outs Henry and Alex, they prioritize each other and their feelings rather than what the outside world thinks. Being reminded of such a lovely thing is terrific. Of course, this film also concludes with a celebration outside Buckingham Palace and a genuine shooting star.
This romance feels ridiculous, yet it resembles a picture-perfect storybook ending, typically reserved for straight characters. Love in Red, White, & Royal Blue handles a little transcendent — and the icing on the $75,000 royal wedding cake is just the schmaltz.