Young Royals is a Swedish Netflix series that follows a fictional Swedish prince, Wilhelm, and his time at the Hillerska boarding school. Hillerska caters to the upper echelon of Swedish society, and all of the boarding residents are the children of the extremely wealthy. A few day students also attend this school, but it is known that it is because of scholarships and that these students do not hold the social clout of the boarding students.
Wilhelm finds himself entangled with one of these day students and struggles with his feelings that he might be gay. What sets him apart from his love interest, Simon, is not only a financial divide but a class divide and difference in societal expectations. Arguably, Wilhelm has anything that a person could want—wealth and power. But, while Simon has neither of these things, he has a warm and accepting family and lives his life out of the closet rather than burdened by the weight of discretion Wilhelm is forced to upkeep.
I think that this story represents the idea of myth making particularly well. American society, specifically, is drawn to this story as a result of our intense interest in the English royal family. Although this story is Swedish, the audience is still drawn to a story of royalty because it is a perspective we will never know. This story is also influential because the family it writes about is fictional but the Swedish monarchy is real. This story could, in one way or another, happen in real life. It makes us draw connections between the show and the real world. We wonder how many times something similar has happened to a real monarch. While royals are few, statistically some of them must be queer. Yet, we never hear about it.
The idea that something that could be real, is similar to the mythmaking we see in The Legend of Auntie Po. Mei develops a story based on a “real” mythical character Paul Bunyan. Even though Mei’s story isn’t necessarily true, the circumstances in which she lives are historically accurate to some degree. While the book is a work of fiction, it, like Young Royals, invites the reader to consider our relationship with history, as well as the relationship that groups we are not a part of have with history. Ultimately, I think the way both of these works contribute to the genre of myth making is important because they accomplish the goal of myth making: by providing representation for underrepresented groups. Individually, I also commend these works because they help an audience recognize that queer people exist beyond a single setting and time period.