Red, White & Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic.
With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy LGBT Adorable & Fun
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston follows First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz, who is popular, has an amazing best friend and sister by his side, and is on the fast track for all his political dreams to come true. Everything was perfect - until he was forced to attend the royal wedding, and deal with his arch-nemesis, Prince Henry. When their confrontation makes headlines, damage control involves the two of them pretending to be best friends, and spending time with one another. Alex was expecting a weekend from hell. Instead he got a glimpse of the real Henry. Alex was surprised by the friendship they develop, but nothing prepared him for a kiss that not only opens himself up to a part of himself he kept hidden from himself, but a secret relationship that could destroy his mother's re-election campaign, and Prince Henry's relationship with his family and the Crown.
Red, White and Royal Blue wasn't on my tbr list. In fact, I never even heard of it, until I listened to my favorite book podcast - Two Book Bitches - RAVE about this book. Even after listening to every spoiler, knowing how everything plays out, I still needed to pick up this book. I loved it. It was funny, beautiful, insightful and yes - hot. There were some wonderful little nuggets of realism, that brought some humor to the insane politics in the USA the last four years, and while I was mostly interested in the romance between Alex and Henry, I found myself invested in the secondary plotline of the election. If I had to pick something I didn't like about this book, it would be that it is written in third person - present tense. When I read a book, I want to get lost in it, and I found myself constantly obsessing over this, which is a bummer. I can put that aside though, because this book is written beautifully, combining wit, and intelligent, insightful passages that make you fall further in love with the message of this book.
The best part of this book is the characters, and the amazing interactions and dialogue between them. If I wasn't laughing at some insane thing someone said, or silly argument between characters, I was swooning over love letters, or moments where Alex and Henry obviously love one another, or trying not to combust at the delicious, sexy scenes. There were times I got teary eyed, when Henry (spoiler)---------> pulls away, and how his family reacts when he comes out. <------------. The side characters are just as amazing!
The second best thing were the references to pop culture. One of my favorites is this one, which I think takes a dig at Fifty Shades of Grey. I fucking cackled.:
"This seems .... excessive, like the kind of paperwork you get from some perverted millionaire who wants to hunt you for sport."
Red, White and Royal Blue is a standalone, but I know a lot of fans of this book are hoping for a sequel. I feel like there is a story there for June (I know Pez is head over heels for her, but I think a second chance romance with her ex in California is an option too), and maybe Nora will find another person out there who loves numbers as much as she does! Who knows? I genuinely was impressed by this book, and I can't wait to see what else Casey has in store for us.
The cake disaster
Alex and Henry seeing one another for the first time at their PR weekend, and insulting one another right away, hidden under smiles of course for the camera
Henry talking to the little girl at the children's hospital
Alex calling Henry a hufflepuff-ass bitch, and Henry clarifying his dog is a Slytherin
THE TURKEY HAHAHAHAHA
That first kiss.
Their make out in the "red room"
Their first time hooking up
Their email exchanges. Like, all of them. Delish.
June confronting Alex
Karaoke and bathroom hookup!
The first time they have sex
Wimbleton spite sex
Henry literally tumbling out of the closet, and Zahra freaking out
Alex's Mom and Dad's reactions to him coming out to them
Alex and Henry skinny dipping in the lake
Alex flying to London to get Henry back
Alex sending Henry a list of reasons he loves him
Bea spilling tea on Philip's lap, so she had an excuse to drag him out of the meeting with the queen
Never tell me the odds
Henry breaking the royal rule about making a statement with fashion, and wearing a tie with yellow roses on it for good luck on election night
Where to Buy
June: "Do either of you know what a viscount is? I've met like, five of them, and I keep smiling politely as if I know what it means when they say it. Alex, you took comparative international governmental relational things. Whatever. What are they?"
Alex: "I think it's that thing when a vampire creates an army of crazed sex waifs and starts his own ruling body."
Nora: "That sounds right."
June: "I wish I were a viscount. I could have my sex waifs deal with my emails."
Alex: "Are sex waifs good with professional correspondence?"
Nora: "I think it could be an interesting approach. Their emails would be all tragic and wanton."
She tries on a breathless, husky voice
Nora: "Oh, please, I beg you, take me - take me to lunch to discuss fabric samples, you beast!"
Alex: "Could be weirdly effective."
June: "Something is wrong with both of you."
Ellen: "Sugar, I cannot express to you how much the press does not give a fuck about who started what. As your mother, I can appreciate that maybe this isn't your fault, but as the president, all I want is to have the CIA fake your death and ride the dead-kid sympathy into a second term."
Ellen: "You're a dumbass. Love you."
Zahra: "Both sides need to come out of this looking good, and the only way to do that is to make it look like your little slap-fight at the wedding was some homoerotic frat boy mishap, okay? So, you can hate the heir to the throne all you want, write mean poems about him in your diary, but the minute you see a camera, you act like the sun shines out of his dick, and you make it convincing."
Alex: "I'll do it. But I won't have any fun."
Zahra: "God, I hope not."
June: "Y'all are such assholes! He seems really nice!"
Alex: "That's because you are a nerd. You want to protect those of your own species. It's a natural instinct."
Alex: "Hey, what do you think Zahra put on my fact sheet?"
Nora: "Hmm. Favorite summer Olympic sport: rhythmic gymnastics -"
Alex: "I'm not ashamed of that."
Nora: "Favorite brand of khakis: Gap."
Alex: "Listen, they look best on my ass. The J. Crew ones wrinkle all weird. And they're not khakis, they're chinos. Khakis are for white people."
Nora: "Allergies: dust, Tide laundry detergent, and shutting the fuck up."
June: "Age of first filibuster: nine, at SeaWorld San Antonio, trying to force an orca wrangler into early retirement for, quote, 'inhumane whale practices.' "
Alex: "I stood by it then, and I stand by it now."
Alex: "I'm going to throw up on you."
Henry: "Hello, Alex. You look ... sober."
Alex: "Only for you, Your Royal Highness."
he says with an elaborate mock-bow
Henry: "You're too kind."
He swings one long leg over and dismounts from his horse gracefully, removing his glove and extending a hand to Alex. A well dressed stable hand basically springs up out of the ground to whisk the horse away by the reins.
Alex has probably never hated anything more.
Alex: "This is idiotic."
Alex says, grasping Henry's hand. This skin is soft, probably exfoliated and moisturized daily by some royal manicurist. There's a royal photographer right on the other side of the fence so he smiles winningly and says through his teeth
Alex: "Let's get it over with."
Henry: "I'd rather be waterboarded."
Henry says, smiling back. The camera snaps nearby. His eyes are big and soft and blue, and he desperately needs to be punched in one of them.
Henry: "Your country could probably arrange that."
Alex throws his head back and laughs handsomely, loud and false.
Alex: "Go fuck yourself."
Henry: "Hardly enough time."
Henry: "...Star Wars fan, are you?"
Claudette: "Oh, it's my absolute favorite. I'd like to be just like Princess Leia when I'd older, because she's so tough and smart and strong, and she gets to kiss Han Solo."
Henry: "You know what, I think you've got the right idea."
Claudette: "Who's your favorite?"
Henry: "Hmm. I always liked Luke. He's brave and good, and he's the strongest Jedi of them all. I think Luke is proof that it doesn't matter where you come from or who your family is - you can always be great if you're true to yourself."
Beth: "That's no way to address the prince. Terribly sorry, Your Highness."
Henry: "No need to apologize. Rebel commanders outrank royalty."
Henry: "Return of the Jedi."
Henry: "To answer your question, Yes, I do like Star Wars, and my favorite is Return of the Jedi."
Alex: "Oh. Wow, you're wrong."
Henry puffs out the tiniest, most poshly indignant puff of air.
Henry: "How can I be wrong about my own favorite? It's a personal truth."
Alex: "It's a personal truth that is wrong and bad."
Henry: "Which do you prefer, then? Please show me the error of my ways."
Alex: "Okay, Empire."
Henry: "So dark, though."
Alex: "Yeah, which is what makes it good. It's the most thematically complex. It's got the Han and Leia kiss in it, you meet Yoda, Han is at the top of his game, fucking Lando Calrissian, and the best twist in cinematic history. What does Jedi have? Fuckin' ewoks."
Henry: "Ewoks are iconic."
Alex: "Ewoks are stupid."
Henry: "But Endor."
Alex: "But Hoth."
Alex: "Here. That's my number. If we're gonna keep this up, it's going to get annoying to keep going through handlers. Just text me. We'll figure it out."
Henry: "Right. Thank you."
Alex: "No booty calls."
Henry chokes on a laugh
Ellen: "Hi, babies."
Alex and June: " 'Lo."
Alex and June mumble in unison through mouthfuls of food.
Ellen sighs and looks over at Leo.
Ellen: "I did that, didn't I? No goddamn manners. Like a couple of little opossums. This is why they say women can't have it all."
HRH Prince Dickhead: You are the thistle in the tender and sensitive arse crack of my life.
HRH Prince Dickhead: I've just received a 5-kilo parcel of Ellen Claremont campaign buttons with your face on them. Is this your idea of a prank?
Alex: just trying to brighten up that wardrobe, sunshine.
HRH Prince Dickhead: I hope this gross miscarriage of campaign funds is worth it to you. My security thought is was a bomb. Shaan almost called in the sniffer dogs.
Alex: oh, definitely worth it. even more worth it now. tell Shaan i say hi and i miss that sweet sweet ass xoxoxo
HRH Prince Dickhead: I will not.
Henry: I think he's cute.
Alex: that's because you can't hear all the menacing gobbling.
Henry: Yes, famously the most sinister of all animal sounds, the gobble.
Alex: "You know what, you little shit, you can hear it for yourself and then tell me how you would handle this -"
Henry: "Alex? Have you really rung me at three o'clock in the morning to make me listen to a turkey?"
Alex: "Yes, obviously."
He glances at cornbread and cringes.
Alex: "Jesus Christ, it's like they can see into your soul. Cornbread knows my sins, Henry. Cornbread knows what I have done, and he is here to make me atone."
Henry: "Let's hear the cursed gobble, then"
Alex: "Okay, brace yourself."
He switches to speaker and gravely holds out the phone
Nothing. Ten long seconds of nothing.
Henry: "Truly harrowing."
Henry: "So what are you going to do now? Are you going to stay up all night with them?"
Alex: "I don't know! I guess! I don't know what else to do!"
Henry: "You couldn't just go sleep somewhere else? Aren't there a thousand rooms in that house?"
Alex: "Okay, but, uh, what if they escape? I've seen Jurassic Park. Did you know birds are directly descended from raptors? That's a scientific fact. Raptors in my bedroom, Henry. And you want me to go to sleep like they're not gonna bust out of their enclosures and take over the island the minute I close my eyes? Okay. Maybe your white ass."
Alex: yo there's a bond marathon on nd did you know your dad was a total babe.
HRH Prince Dickhead: I BEG YOU TO NOT
Alex: "Numbers on me being into dudes?"
Nora: "Seventy-eight percent probability of latent bisexual tendencies. One hundred percent probability this is not a hypothetical question."
Alex: "I seriously hope you die. Yes, he was a good kisser, and there was tongue."
Nora: "I fucking knew it. Still waters, deep dicking."
Nora: "Prince Henry is a biscuit. Let him sop you up."
Alex: "I'm leaving."
Alex: "Can you get Henry away from his table?"
Nora: "Is this a diabolical scheme of seduction? If so, yes."
Henry: "Should we -"
Henry: "I mean, er, should we, I dunno, slow down?"
Henry says, cringing so hard at himself that one eye closes.
Henry: "Go for dinner first, or -"
Alex: "We just had dinner."
Henry: "Right. I meant - I just thought -"
Alex: "Stop thinking."
Henry: "Yes. Gladly."
Henry: "I'm going to die."
Alex: "I'm going to kill you."
Henry: "Yes, you are."
Henry fumbles with his shirt tail, eyes wide, and starts humming "God Save the Queen" under his breath.
Alex: "What are you doing?"
Henry: "Christ, I'm tryin to make it -"
he gestures inelegantly at the front of his pants
Henry: " - go away."
Alex: "You are gonna go be, like, five hundred feet away from me for the rest of the night, or else I am going to do something that I will deeply regret in front of a lot of very important people."
Henry: "All right ..."
Alex: "And then,"
He grabs Henry's tie again, close to the knot, and draws his mouth up to a breath away from Henry's.
He hears Henry swallow. He wants to follow the sound down his throat.
Henry: "And then you are going to come to the East Bedroom on the second floor at eleven o'clock tonight, and I am going to do very bad things to you, and if you fucking ghost me again, I'm going to get you put on a fucking no-fly list. Got it?"
Henry bites down on a sound that tries to escape his mouth
Alex: "You were jealous. You want me."
Henry: "Yes, you preening arse, I've wanted you long enough that I won't have you tease me for another fucking second."
Alex: "Oh my fucking God."
Henry grins crookedly as he gets back to work.
His body is moving, his mouth spilling words.
Alex: "I can't believe - God, you are the most insufferable goddamn bastard on the face of the planet, do you know that - fuck - you're infuriating, you're the worst - you're -"
Henry: "Do you ever stop talking? Such a mouth on you."
Alex: "I'm gonna take your pants off now."
Henry: "Yes, good, carry on."
Henry: "Hmm. If I had known this was all it took to shut you up, I'd have done it ages ago."
Alex: "Fuck you."
Henry: "Well, er ..."
Henry attempted, looking down at his feet
Alex rolls his eyes.
Alex: "For fuck's sake, man, you just had my dick in your mouth, you can kiss me good-night."
Henry: "It's $10,000 a seat, but I can have you added to the list."
Alex almost fumbles his coffee all over the south entryway. Amy glares at him.
Alex: "Jesus fuck. That is obscene, what are you raising money for, monocles for babies?"
Henry: "I don't suppose you'll be anywhere near Kensington anytime soon?"
Alex: "That shithole? Not if I can help it."
Henry: "Oi. That's disrespect of the crown, that is. Insubordination. I've thrown men in the dungeons for less."
Alex turns, walking backward toward the car, hands in the air.
Alex: "Hey, don't threaten me with a good time."
First Son of Your Former Colony
To Alex, First son of Off-Brand England
Zahra: "Who is giving you hickeys, and why have you not gotten them to sign an NDA?"
Alex: "Oh my God. If I needed an NDA, you would know. Chill."
Zahra: "Look at me. I have known you since you were still leaving skid marks in your drawers. You think I don't know when you're lying to me? However you got that, it better be somebody off the approved list of girls you are allowed to be seen with during the election cycle, which I will email to you again as soon as you get out of my sight in case you have misplaced it."
Alex: "Jesus, okay."
Zahra: "And to remind you, I will chop off my own tit before I let you pull some idiotic stunt to cause your mother, our first female president, to be the first president to lose reelection since H fucking W. Do you understand me? I will lock you in your room for the next year if I have to, and you can take your finals by fucking smoke signal. I will staple your dick to the inside of your leg if that keeps it in your fucking pants."
June: "We meet so many people. I mean, thousands and thousands of people, and a lot of them are morons, and a lot of them are incredible, unique people, but I almost never meet somebody who's a match for you. Do you know that? You have so much in you, it's almost impossible to match it. But he's your match, dumbass."
June: "You should try saying some of that stuff to him."
Alex: "Stop trying to Jane Austen my life!"
June: "Listen, it's not my fault he's a mysterious and retiring young royal and you're the tempestuous ingenue that caught his eye, okay?"
Pez: "Say good morning to your strumpet, Henry."
Henry: "Good morning, strumpet."
Henry says, glancing away from the road to wink at the camera.
Alex: "So what are y'all gonna do today?"
Pez: "Frolic naked in the hills, frighten the sheep, return to the house for the usual: tea, biscuits, casting ourselves upon the Thighmaster of love to moan about Claremont-Diaz siblings, which has become tragically one-sided since Henry took up with you. It used to be all bottles of cognac and shared malaise and 'when will they notice us' -"
Henry: "Don't tell him that!"
Pez: "- and now I just ask Henry, 'What is your secret?' and he says, 'I insult Alex all the time and that seems to work.' "
Henry: "I will turn this car around."
Henry: "Oh, dear. What's in these? Vodka?"
Nora confirms, to which both Pez and Bea break out into a fit of giggles.
Henry: "Oh, I haven't had vodka since uni. It tends to make me, erm. Well -"
Pez: "Flamboyant? Uninhibited? Randy?"
Henry: "Excuse you, I am loads of fun all the time! I am a delight!"
Alex: "Hello, excuse me, can we get another round of these please?"
June: "Oh, no ... he's ... so ... hot ..."
Nora: "I know, babe."
June: "I want to ... put my fingers in his mouth..."
Alex: "Bisexuality is truly a rich and complex tapestry."
Henry: How is a man to get anything done knowing Alex Claremont-Diaz is out there on the loose? I am driven to distraction. It's all bloody useless because when I'm not thinking about your face, I'm thinking about your arse or your hands or your smart mouth. I suspect the latter is what got me into this predicament in the first place. Nobody's ever got the nerve to be cheeky to a prince, except you. The moment you first called me a prick, my fate was sealed. O, fathers of my bloodline! O, ye kinds of olde! Take this crown from me, bury me in my ancestral soil. If only you had known the might work of thine loins would be undone by a gay heir who likes it when American boys with chin dimples are mean to him.
Alex: Listen: I'll fly to London right now and pull you out of whatever pointless meeting you're in and make you admit how much you love it when I call you "baby." I'll take you apart with my teeth, sweetheart."
Henry: So, to borrow a passage from Sense and Sensibility: "You want nothing but patience - or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope." To paraphrase: I hope to see you put your green American money where your filthy mouth is soon.
Yours in sexual frustration, Henry.
Henry: "Front and center? Really?"
Bea: "Yes, Henry, in case you have forgotten, you are a royal and this is the Royal box."
She waves down to the photographers below, who are already snapping photos of them, before leaning to them and whispering
Bea: "Don't worry, I don't think they can detect the thick air of horn-town betwixt you two from the lawn."
Henry: "I want to do the absolute last thing I'm supposed to be doing right now."
Alex: "Then tell me to do it, sweetheart."
Alex: "Just so we're clear, I'm about to have sex with you in this storage closet to spite your family. Like, that's what's happening?"
Alex: "Awesome, fuckin' love doing things out of spite."
He snatches a shirt and boxers at random from the floor, and shoves them at Henry's chest, and points him toward the closet.
Alex: "Get in there."
Alex: "Yes, we can unpack the ironic symbolism later. Go."
Zahra: "This has been going on for seven months? That's why you - Oh my God, I thought you were getting into international relations or something."
Alex: "I mean, technically -"
Zahra: "If you finish that sentence, I'm gonna spent tonight in jail."
CALENDER REQUEST FROM MOM:
2P.M. WEST WING FIRST FLOOR
INTERNATIONAL ETHICS & SEXUAL IDENTITY DEBRIEF.
An hour later, there are several cartons of Chinese food and a PowerPoint cued up. The first slide says: SEXUAL EXPERIMENTATION WITH FOREIGN MONARCHS: A GRAY AREA.
Alex wonders if it's too late to swan dive off the roof.
The next slide is titled:
EXPLORING YOUR SEXUALITY: HEALTHY, BUT DOES IT HAVE TO BE WITH THE PRINCE OF ENGLAND?
She apologizes for not having time to come up with better titles. Alex actively wishes for the sweet release of death.
The one after is:
FEDERAL FUNDING, TRAVEL EXPENSES, BOOTY CALLS, AND YOU.
Ellen: "Oh, one last thing. I know Texas public schools don't have sex ed for shit, and we didn't go over this when we had the talk - which is on me for assuming - so I just wanted to make sure you know you still need to be using condoms even if you're having anal interc -"
Alex: "Okay, thanks, Mom!"
Alex half yells, nearly knocking over his chair in his rush for the door.
Ellen: "Wait, honey. I had Planned Parenthood send over all these pamphlets, take one! They sent a bike messenger and everything!"
Alex: History, huh? Bet we could make some.
Henry: Are you angling for a revolutionary soldier role-play scenario? I must inform you, any trace of King George III blood I have would curdle in my very veins and render me useless to you. Or are you suggesting you'd rather exchange passionate letters by candlelight? Should I tell you that when we're apart, your body comes back to me in dreams? That when I sleep, I see you, the dip of you waist, the freckle above your hip, and when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I've just been with you, the phantom touch of your hand on the back of my neck fresh and not imagined? That I can feel your skin against mine, and it makes every bones in my body ache? That, for a few moments, I can hold my breath and be back there with you, in a dream, in a thousand rooms, nowhere at all?
I think perhaps Hamilton said it better in a letter to Eliza:
You engross my thoughts too entirely to allow me to think of any thing else - you not only employ my mind all day; but you intrude on my sleep. I meet you in every dream - and when I wake I cannot close my eyes again for ruminating on your sweetness.
Henry: Once, there was a young prince who was born in a castle. His mother was a princess, scholar, and his father was the most handsome, feared knight in all the land. As a boy, people would bring him everything he could ever dream of wanting. The most beautiful silk clothes, ripe fruit from the orangery. At times, he was so happy, he felt he would never grow tired of being a prince.
He came from a long, long line of princes, but never before had there been a prince quite like him: born with his heart on the outside of his body. When he was small, his family would smile and laugh and say he would grow out of it one day. But as he grew, it stayed where it was, red, and visible and alive. He didn't mind it very much, but every day, the family's fear grew that the people of their kingdom would soon notice and turn their backs on the prince. His grandmother, the queen, lived in a high tower, where she spoke only of the other princes, past and present, who were born whole.
Then, the prince's father, the knight, was struck down in battle. The lance tore open his armor and his body and left him bleeding in the dust. And so, when the queen sent new clothes, armor for the prince to parcel his heart away safe, the prince's mother did not stop her. For she was afraid, now: afraid of her son's heart torn open too.
So the prince wore it, and for many years, he believed it was right.
Until he met the most devastatingly gorgeous peasant boy from a nearby village who said absolutely ghastly things to him that made him feel alive for the first time in years and turned out to be the most mad sort of sorcerer, one who could conjure up things like gold and vodka shots and apricot tarts out of absolutely nothing, and his whole life went up in a puff of dazzling purple smoke, and the kingdom said, "I can't believe we're all so surprised."
Alex: "Get off me."
June: "You're supposed to back me up on this!"
Nora: "I'll let you look at one boob. The good one."
June: "They're both good."
Alex: "I've seen both of them. I can practically see both of them now."
Nora: "Hashtag vacation nips. Pleeeeeeeeease."
June: "Sorry, Bug, but Nora did put more hours into her playlist, so she should get the aux cord."
Henry: "Why is it called Lake LBJ?"
Nora: "Lake LBJ, or Lake Lynson B. Johnson, is one of six reservoirs formed by dams on the Colorado River known as the Texas Highland Lakes. Made possible by LBJ enacting the Rural Electrification Act when he was president. And LBJ had a place out here."
Alex: "That's true."
Nora: "Also, fun fact: LBJ was obsessed with his own dick. He called it Jumbo and would whip it out all the time. Like, in front of colleagues, reporters, anybody."
Alex: "Also true."
Henry: "American Politics. Truly fascinating."
Alex: "You wanna talk, Henry VIII?"
Dad: "You two better take the bunk beds tonight! Santa Maria is watching!"
Alex: "Morning, sweetheart."
Henry: "Sorry, I was looking for someone else. Handsome, petulant, short, not pleasant until after ten a.m.? Have you seen him?"
Alex: "Fuck off, five-nine is average."
Henry: "Love, you and I both know you're rounding up."
Henry: I wish there weren't a wall.
Alex: "You thought you could fucking ghost me? I can't shut this off like you do, Henry."
Henry: "You think I don't care as much as you?"
Alex: "You're sure as hell acting like it. I honestly haven't got the time to explain to you all the ways you're wrong -"
Alex: "Jesus, could you stop being an obtuse fucking asshole for, like, twenty seconds?"
Henry: "So glad you flew here to insult me -"
Alex: "I fucking love you, okay?""
Henry goes very still against the mantelpiece. Alex watches him swallow, watches the muscle twitching in his jaw, and feels like he might shake out of his skin.
Alex: "Fuck, I swear. You don't make it fucking easy. But I'm in love with you."
Henry: "When have I ever, since the first instant I touched you, pretended to be anything less than in love with you? Are you so fucking self-absorbed as to think this is about you and whether or not I love you, rather than the fact I'm an heir to the fucking throne? You at least have the option to not choose a public life eventually, but I will love and die in these palaces and in this family, so don't you dare come to me and question if I love you when it's the thing that could bloody well ruin everything. It was never supposed to be an issue. I thought I could have some part of you, and just never say it, and you'd never have to know, and one day you'd get tired of me and leave, because I'm - "
He stops short, and one shaking hand moves through the air in front of him in a helpless sort of gesture at every about himself.
Henry: "I never thought I'd be standing here faced with a choice I can't make, because I never ... I never imagined you would love me back.
Alex: "What do you want?"
Henry: "I want you -"
Alex: "Then fucking have me."
Alex: "Fine. You know what? Fucking fine. I'll leave."
Alex: "I'll leave, as soon as you tell me to leave."
Alex: "Tell me you're done with me. I'll get back on the plane. That's it. And you can live here in your tower and be miserable forever, write a whole book of sad fucking poems about it. Whatever. Just say it."
Henry: "Fuck you.:
Henry says, his voice breaking, and he gets a handful of Alex's shirt collar, and Alex knows he's going to love this stubborn shithead forever.
Alex: "You seem .... less pissy."
Henry huffs a laugh
Henry: "You're one to talk. I wasn't the one who stormed the palace in a fit of pique to call me an 'obtuse fucking asshole.' "
Alex: "In my defense, you were an obtuse fucking asshole."
Henry: "I'm terrified, and my whole life is completely mad, but trying to give you up this week nearly killed me. And when I woke up this morning and looked at you ... there's no trying to get by for me anymore. I don't know if I'll ever be allowed to tell the world, but I ... I want to. One day. If there's any legacy for me on this bloody earth, I want it to be true, so I can offer you all of me, in whatever way you'll have me, and I can offer you the chance of a life. If you can wait, I want you to help me try."
Alex: "Stop, are you kidding me? 'Prince Consort Road?' Oh my God, take a picture of me with the sign."
Henry: "Hello. What was that for?"
Alex: "I just, like."
Alex: "Really love you."
Alex: "The top list of reasons to love you goes brain, then dick, then imminent status as a revolutionary gay icon."
Henry: "You are quite literally Queen Victoria's worst nightmare."
Alex: "And that's why you love me."
Henry: "My God, you're right. Al; this time, I was just after the boke who'd most infuriate my homophobic forebears."
Alex: "Ah, and we can't forget they were also racist."
Henry: "Certainly not. Next time we shall visit some of the George III pieces and see if they burst into flame."
Henry: I'll agree with your assessment that you're the Han to my Leia in that you are, without a doubt, a scruffy-looking nerf herder who would pilot us into an asteroid field. I happen to like nice men.
Henry: I should have just packed a bag, like I said. I could be in your bed, languishing away until I perish, fat and sexually conquered, snuffed out in the spring of my youth. Here lies Prince Henry of Wales. He died as he lived: avoiding plans and sucking cock.
Henry: Your hair was longer then. You weren't even a president's son yet, but you weren't afraid. You had a yellow ipe-amarelo in your pocket.
I thought, this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen, and I had better keep it a safe distance away from me. I thought if someone life that ever loved me, it would set me on fire.
And then I was a careless fool, and I fell in love with you anyway. When you rang me at truly shocking hours of the night, I loved you. When you kissed me in disgusting public toilets and pouted in hotel bars and made me happy in ways in which it had never even occurred to me that a mangled-up, locked-up person like me could be happy, I loved you.
And then, inexplicably, you had the complete audacity to love me back. Can you believe it?
Sometimes, even now, I still can't.
Alex: "You and me and history, remember? We're just gonna fucking fight. Because you're it, okay? I'm never gonna love anybody in the world like I love you. So, I promise you, one day we'll be able to just be, and fuck everyone else."
Luna: "Jesus, Alex, please, don't be like me. Find another fucking role model."
Alex: "I already am like you."
Luna: "What are you saying?"
Alex: "You know what I'm saying. I think you always knew, before even I did."
Luna: "You don't - You're not like me."
Alex: "Close enough. And you know what I mean."
Luna: "Okay, fine, kid. You want me to be your fucking sherpa? Here's my advice: Don't tell anyone. Go find a nice girl and marry her. You're luckier than me - you can do that, and it wouldn't even be a lie."
Alex: "Seria una mentira, porque no seria el." It would be a lie, because it wouldn't be him.
Ellen: "You listen to me. I am your mother. I was your mother before I was ever the president, and I'll be your mother long after, to the day they put me in the ground and beyond this earth. You are my child. So, if you're serious about this, I'll back your play. So. Do you feel forever about him?"
Alex: "Yeah. I do."
Ellen: "Then, fuck it."
Zahra: "Shaan. Listen up, you fuck. We are in the air right now. FSOTUS is with me. ETA six hours. You will have a car waiting. We will meet the queen and whoever the fuck else we have to meet to hash this shit out, or so help me God I will personally make your balls into fucking earrings. I will scorched-earth your entire motherfucking life."
Zahra: "Look, I'm only going to say this once, and if you ever repeat it, I'll have you kneecapped. I'm rooting for you, okay?"
Alex: "Wait. Zahra. Oh my God. I just realized. You're ... my friend."
Zahra: "No, I'm not."
Alex: "Zahra, you're my mean friend."
Zahra: "Am not. Don't speak to me for the next six hours. I deserve a fucking nap."
Zahra: "I'm running on nothing but black coffee, a Wetzel's Pretzel, and a fistful of B12. Do not even breathe in my direction."
When she releases him, he's finally able to see Henry behind her, slumped on the settee with a bottle of brandy. He smiles at Alex, weakly
Henry: "Bit short for a stormtrooper."
Philip: "This is the life we live, Henry. You've always known it. I've tried to tell you. I wanted to be a good brother to you, but you don't bloody listen. It's time to remember your place in this family. Be a man. Stand up and take responsibility. Fix this. For once in your life, don't be a coward."
Henry: "I'm not a coward. And I don't want to fix it."
Philip: "You don't know what you're talking about. You can't possibly know."
Henry: "Fuck off, Philip, I love him."
Philip: "Oh, you love him, do you? What exactly do you intend to do, then, Henry? Hmm? Marry him? Make him the Duchess of Cambridge? The First Son of the United bloody States, fourth in line to be Queen of England?"
Henry: "I'll fucking abdicate! I don't care!"
Philip: You wouldn't dare."
Henry: "We have a great uncle who abdicated because he was a fucking Nazi, so it's hardly be the worst reason anyone's done it, would it? What are we even defending here, Philip? What kind of legacy? What kind of family, that says, we'll take the murder, we'll take the raping and pillaging and the colonizing, we'll scrub it up nice and neat in a museum, but oh no, you're a bloody poof? That's beyond our sense of decorum! I've bloody well had it. I've sat about long enough letting you and Gran and the weight of the damned world keep me pinned, and I'm finished. I don't care. You can take your legacy and your decorum and you can shove it up your fucking arse, Philip. I'm done."
Alex: "For what it's worth, that is the bravest son of a bitch I've ever met."
Zahra: "If you want a fight, you should have seen it when I found out he had known about you two all along. Why do you think I got a rock this big?"
Shaan: "It usually works for us."
Zahra: "Yep. Plus, we banged it out last night."
Without looking up, Shaan meets her hand in a high five,
Philip: "Nobody's saying you don't deserve to be happy. First love makes everyone mad - it's foolish to throw away your future because of one hormonal decision based on less than a year of your life when you were barely in your twenties."
Henry looks at Philip square in the face
Henry: "I've been gay as a maypole since the day I came out of Mum, Philip."
Marine One touches down in a cacophony of noise and wind and rotors, and Henry emerges in head-to-toe Burberry looking dramatic and windswept, like a dashing hero here to rip bodices and mend war-torn countries, and Alex has to laugh.
Alex: "My life is a cosmic joke and you're not a real person."
Alex: "I said, you look great, baby!"
Alex: "If Alex from this time last year could see this ..."
Henry: "He'd say, 'Oh, I'm in love with Henry? That must be why I'm such a berk to him all the time.' "
Zahra: "Come on, you backyard-shooting-range motherfuckers."
Henry: "Did she just said backyard shooting range? Is that a real thing a person can have?"
Oscar: "You really have a lot to learn about America, mijo."