Nothing makes summer sweeter than a fantastic romantic comedy. While blockbuster hits like Barbie and Oppenheimer have dominated the movie realms, a charming romantic comedy between a British prince and the son of the United States’ first female president has caught the hearts of many.
Red, White & Royal Blue Summary:
Red, White & Royal Blue is an LGBT romance novel by Casey McQuiston. The book was initially published in 2019 and focuses on the relationship between Alex Claremont-Diaz, the first son of the president of the United States, and Prince Henry, a British prince.
The book starts with introducing Alex Claremont-Diaz, the son of Ellen Claremont, the first female President of the United States. Claremont, who hails from the Democratic party, is gunning for re-election in 2020.
Alex has a sister named June, and together, the siblings and their friend Nora attend a royal wedding. Nora is the granddaughter of the Vice President.
Alex has always despised Prince Henry, the younger brother of the groom. Later in the wedding, the two confront each other, which results in a physical confrontation that leads to both falling into the wedding cake during the wedding reception at Buckingham Palace.
It didn’t take long for the fight to become highly publicized. Both parties forced the two boys to pretend to be friends to avoid the conflict, potentially creating a full-blown diplomatic and media crisis. While the farce was a ruse for damage control, the two boys eventually became genuine friends, and they both apologized and even exchanged numbers.
As the two boys grow closer, Prince Henry is invited to the White House for the annual New Year’s Eve party, where he kisses Alex. During this time, Henry comes out as gay, while Alex soon realizes he’s bisexual. To avoid causing another media scandal, the two started a secret “friends-with-benefits” arrangement, where they frequently exchanged flirty emails.
Alex soon develops feelings for Henry. In need of support, he turns to his mentor, Senator Rafael Luna, where he soon finds out that Senator Luna is the running mate of his mother’s opponent, Republican Jeffrey Richards.
Conflicted, Alex comes out to his mother, who reminds him that while she is supportive, she needs him to ensure the relationship is genuine and not just a fling.
Henry starts ghosting Alex, causing the latter to wonder what happened. After confronting Henry, the latter revealed that since he’s part of the British Royal Family, it would be impossible for him to have a proper relationship with Alex. While the revelation is bittersweet, he does gift Alex with his signet ring as a sign that they continue their relationship.
The relationship between the two boys becomes public, and their emails and photos are released to the press. Both boys must stay away from each other as a whirlwind media circus is about to unleash. At the same time, Ellen’s team manages the frenzy.
Alex decides to fly to the United Kingdom to support Henry, who comes out to his entire family, including the Queen. The latter argued that the world would never accept the boys for who they are. As this happens, however, many people gather around the palace to showcase their support for Alex and Henry.
With Senator Luna’s help, Nora soon finds that the person behind the leaks was from Richards’ campaign team. After confronting him, Luna tells Alex he switched sides to expose Richards as a sexual predator.
Ellen wins the election, and Henry joins the stage with Alex as an official couple.
Red, White & Royal Blue Movie:
Amazon Studios secured the film rights to the book, and the film adaptation was released on BFI Imax on July 22, 2023. A few weeks later, the film was released on Amazon Prime Video, bringing in new subscribers for the streaming platform. It became the number one movie globally for its weekend premiere.
While there were a few deviations from the original novel, the film was generally well-received due to the chemistry between the two main leads and the earnestness of the script. Viewers couldn’t help but point out the similarities between Prince Henry and Prince Harry—both “spares,” where their relationships with their American partners caused a rift within the royal family. While Prince Harry didn’t get Henry’s happy ending, he has since come out with a memoir detailing his life as a prince and the man he has become now.
Red, White & Royal Blue Facts:
- Red, White & Royal Blue is a fun and lighthearted romantic story. While its premise is unrealistic, McQuiston creates a sincere romance between well-drawn characters who are both the princes of their own fairytales. McQuiston’s dialogue is also notable, drawing life to the characters with their distinctive humor that many millennials adore.
- The idea for the book came to McQuiston before and after the 2016 presidential election, where Trump eventually won against Hillary Clinton. Considering the tumultuous times during and after 2016, the book served as a hopeful story where love conquers all.
- McQuiston is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. Growing up in a conservative evangelical Christian school, McQuiston expressed the need to write romantic comedies to feel less isolated as a queer teenager.
- Red, White & Royal Blue is a recipient of the 2020 Alex Awards and the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Romance and Best Debut in 2019.
- The Alex Award is a special recognition for adult books with “special appeal” for adolescents. Other recipients of the Alex Award include Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and Khaled Hosseini’s “The Kite Runner.”
- While Red, White & Royal Blue is popular among teens, the book is categorized as New Adult, which means it’s intended for readers ages 18–30. Nevertheless, readers with a mature mind may find this book appealing, provided they are ready to deal with mature topics. According to IMDB, the film is rated R, meaning a guardian must accompany viewers under 17. Viewer and reader discretion is advisable, so practice caution.