Red, White And Royal Blue is taking rom-com fans on a special tour of the White House and Buckingham Palace. Based on the book of the same name written by New York Times bestselling author Casey McQuiston, this is a delicious forbidden queer love tale with some much loved spicy sexual tension that develops through insignificant chatter and stolen glances. In the movie Red, White, and Royal Blue, First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz, played by Taylor Zakhar Prez, and Prince Henry, played by Nicholas Galitzine, perfectly fit the bill.
Rom-coms will always be our favourite genre to binge on, on a bad day. There’s something to be said about watching your favourite characters slowly fall in love, along with the ever-classic enemies-to-lovers trope (we are sold). But what makes the movie special despite having cinematic flaws (as we all know a movie based on a book only takes 40–50% of it) it is the lighthearted representation of queer love, a departure from the queer romances that are known to cash in on the struggles and queer trauma.
While writing this piece, we asked an ardent fan of the book from the community, Juderic Braganza, for a queer lens on the movie, to which he responded, ‘Suspension of disbelief’ is key when it comes to the world of red, white, and royal blue. We as queer people have gritty stories that talk about the “sad reality” aplenty, and so a whimsical plot that’s as saccharine as it is fast-paced is like a sucrose-filled dessert one enjoys on a cheat day. However, a few moments are grounded in a bit of reality, for good measure. Taylor’s character Alex’s speech (attached below) is to me a must-watch for every ally, and Uma Thurman plays the stiff, upper-lipped yet supportive mom flawlessly, which every queer kid deserves. All in all, the movie was a breezy, joyful experience. Not to mention, of course, that the artfully shot, intimate scenes were bewitching because it’s 2023, get queer sex scenes correctly.
— Red, White & Royal Blue on Prime (@RWRBonPrime) August 12, 2023
So, in case the hopeless romantic in you (and me) is still dazed by Alex and Henry’s burning chemistry, here are some must-read queer love stories to heal your heart:
1. Red, White And Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Just in case you haven’t read the OG, it’s your time to read it. Red, White And Royal Blue is a fan favourite love story of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States, who falls in love with Henry Fox-Mountchristen-Windsor, the Prince of England. The book explores the themes of honouring one’s true nature, attempting to strike a balance between public duty and private desires, and the value of independence and diversity over conformity as the two young men work out their relationship and eventually brave public opinion by declaring their feelings openly.
2. Teacher Of The Year by M.A. Wardell
A beautiful love letter to queer educators everywhere. Based in Portland, Maine, Marvin Block teaches at a kindergarten where he enjoys enough esteem in his community and profession to be named a finalist for the Teacher of the Year honour. This is good news for his principal, who is certain that if Marvin wins, they will receive additional cash for crucial educational initiatives. But there’s a lot of pressure, and he worries that he may lose and disappoint the squad. At the beginning of January, there’s a new addition to the school: Ilona Stone, a transfer student from California. Ilona is adorably cute, kind, polite, intelligent, and curious. But Olan Stone, her father, is a real-life wet dream for Marvin. He’s newly divorced, tall, with a light build, and most likely starry. However, there are texts and unmistakable feelings being exchanged. Marvin isn’t exactly being friendly to Olan. And it also appears like Olan could return the favour.
3. The Gay Best Friend by Nicolas DiDomizio
Domenic Marino has mastered the art of transitioning between his two closest friends’ respective hypermasculine and ultrafeminine worlds. But he’s worried about having to play both sides this summer because he’s still hurting from his own broken engagement and has to go to his friend’s bachelor and bachelorette celebrations. Pressure is mounting because he is asked to keep everything tidy by the bride, aka the female bestie, and according to his other best friend, the groom, he must “let loose” with the lads. All he wants to do is escape this situation with his friendships getting unharmed. But as soon as the raucous groomsmen arrive at the beach house—including a surprise visit from the attractive and charming Bucky Graham, the groom’s former frat brother—chaos (and surprising romance) rapidly follow.
4. Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Heartstopper is a graphic novel series by British author Alice Oseman. The story revolves around Nick Nelson and Charlie Spring’s love story. Apart from the love story, this novel highly represents the normalisation of different identities; the motley group of high school students includes a homosexual and lesbian couple, a transgender lady of colour, and other characters. It addresses homophobia and bullying, but the series also brings the conversation to this group of kids who are coming to terms with their identities. The first two volumes are also developed as series by Netflix, with a promise to return with more two.
5. Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
When Millie Quint learns that her sort-of-best friend or sort-of girlfriend has been kissing someone else, she is horrified. Millie, who is grieving and eager for a change of scenery, chooses to submit scholarship applications to boarding schools that are as far away from Houston as possible. Soon after, Millie gets admitted to one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, which is situated in Scotland’s forested highlands. Here, the landscape is idyllic and lush, the school is covered in ivy, and the locals find her being American to be endearing. The only issue is that Mille’s flatmate Flora is actually a princess from Scotland. The ladies are initially hostile towards one another, but before Millie realises it, she has a new sort of best friend or girlfriend. Princess Flora could open a new chapter in her love life, but Millie is aware that there aren’t many happily ever afters in real life—or are there?
6. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Luc O’Donnell is famous courtesy of his rock star parents, who got divorced when he was a little child, and his father—whom he has never met—then spent the following 20 years floating in and out of rehab. Now that his dad’s making a comeback, Luc’s back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything. To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship, and Oliver Blackwood is a win-win bet for it. In other words, the ideal boyfriend candidate for Luc, however, has little in common other than the fact that they are both homosexual, single, and desperately seeking a date for a significant occasion. So they agree to be fake lovers for the sake of publicity until things have died down. They can then go their separate ways and act as though nothing ever occurred. The problem with fake dating is that it might resemble actual dating a lot. And at that point, you become used to someone. begin to believe them. Never intend to let them go.