Deborah Ross

Modest fun: Red, White & Royal Blue reviewed

This LGBT rom-com is like being hit round the head with a photo-love story from Jackie magazine

Taylor Zakhar Perez (Alex Claremont-Diaz) and Nicholas Galitzine (Prince Henry) in Red, White & Royal Blue. Credit: Jonathan Prime

Red, White & Royal Blue is a rom-com based on the LGBT bestselling novel by Casey McQuiston. Nope, me neither, but the New York Times reviewed it as ‘a brilliant, wonderful book’ and on Amazon UK it has garnered nearly 44,000 reviews, with an average of 4.5 stars, so let’s not be hasty. The romance here is between ‘America’s First Son and the Prince of Wales’, says the blurb, which does sound juicy, and it’s not a YA (Young Adult) novel but an NA (New Adult) one, apparently, aimed at a slightly older audience. I did consider reading it so that I could say this isn’t as good as the book, as is standard in these instances, but then realised that as an OA (Old Adult) life is too (frighteningly) short and I couldn’t be bothered. But my best guess? Not as good as the book.

On one occasion, to the sound of unzipping, we cut to Nelson’s Column illuminated at night

Directed by Matthew Lopez, who co-wrote the screenplay with McQuiston, the film wants, I think, to be a Bridgerton-type affair, with its voice-over (Jemma Redgrave) and snappy pace. But it doesn’t have the same wit or knowingness or budget. (The floristry is disappointing. The fake snow is poor. Rooms that are meant to be royal or presidential look like the Premier Inn, tarted up a bit, yet are still an improvement on Frogmore Cottage, a certain couple might say.) The two main characters are Prince Henry, the King’s second son – so not ‘the Prince of Wales’, surely?; isn’t that title exclusively for the heir? – and Alex Claremont-Diaz. They are played by Nicholas Galitzine and Taylor Zakhar Perez, who are both so devastatingly handsome and fit it made this OA’s day.

The film opens outside Buckingham Palace, with crowds thronging The Mall, as it’s the wedding day of Prince Henry’s older brother.

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