Photo Courtesy of Netflix

Crown Prince Wilhelm: a man on a mission or a villain in the making?

Young Royals’ Season two shows Wilhelm coming for August’s neck, no matter what political, financial or social structures he has to destroy. But is it the morally right thing to do? And will it get him Simon’s approval?

Nov 21, 2022

“But are you really a bad person because you do one bad thing?”
The second season of Young Royals brings many political, relationship, and especially moral dilemmas to the small screen. We see Crown Prince Wilhelm in all his glory, increasingly vengeful, increasingly arrogant and increasingly (ab)using his newfound privilege. Right from burning August’s face off a photograph in the very first episode, it’s clear that Wilhelm’s intentions in this season are vastly different from the docile, obedient second in line prince we met in the first season. Wilhelm has vowed to punish August on his own and goes about doing just that through a variety of sabotage, emotional blackmail and plotting schemes. And so adeptly does he carry out his self given verdict, that the audience can’t help but question Wilhelm’s moral standing as a character.
“I’m not Wilhelm,” said August, agitated that someone would even think to compare them, and Wilhelm would say the same about him, but are these two characters really that different?
Just like August in season one, Wilhelm lies to Simon. He conceals the fact that August took the video that destroyed their relationship, taking away Simon’s agency to make his own decision about whether to report August or not. Just like August in Season one, Wilhelm attempts to emotionally blackmail Simon into taking him back. “You’re the only one I can talk to,” says Wilhelm to Simon, because the Crown Prince gets what the Crown Prince wants. Just like August, Wilhelm is obsessive about what he wants — whether it be Simon’s love or August’s tears. He’s egocentric, and expects Simon to wait for him for two years, until his parents allow him to discuss their relationship. He’s invasive, checking Simon’s texts with Marcus, Simon’s rebound boyfriend, without permission. And he’s selfish, kissing Felice to get over Simon, taking advantage of how he knew she was in love with him for a very long time. He shows the same antagonistic behavior that we associate August with — standing in doorways, zoning out, plotting peoples’ demise. The way he can’t help but contain a sadistic smile when August is removed as prefect and team captain is testament to the new lows that Wilhelm is willing to stoop to ensure the downfall of someone he might not be that different from.
But while he’s taking down August for personal vendetta, Wilhelm also continues to dismantle and undermine the traditional hierarchy of his school and his nation throughout Season two. In some ways, August represents the old, the traditional, the rules of the monarchy that have been unfailingly obeyed for centuries. And Wilhelm, accidental Crown Prince whose sexuality and mindset both aren’t agreeable to the monarchy, represents the new rebellious youth.
By doing things as simple as using the seniors’ washrooms, not affording them the same respect as has always been done, questioning traditions that no one’s ever dared to speak against, Wilhelm begins to deconstruct authority within the school. And outside it, he curses at the royal advisors, blackmails them into not making decisions for him, and refuses to appease them. This disobedience also stems from his affection for Simon and the unconventional relationship they have, another way he doesn’t conform to the Crown Prince model. Simon’s unwillingness to accept Wilhelm’s role as a royal is reason enough for Wilhelm to despise that role and do everything to defy it.
So Wilhelm fights and screams and breaks things, redirects all his anger towards hating August and lets the blame burn him up inside, attempts to get Simon back and cries to himself when Marcus takes him away.
“You’re exactly like them!” says Simon, and shatters all falsity in Wilhelm’s mind — every time he's convinced himself he was doing the right thing by ‘punishing’ August himself instead of reporting him to the police, every time he’d thought it didn’t make him the same as the very person he despised. It reminds him that this blame game won’t take him anywhere, and that if Simon can’t trust Wilhelm the way he doesn’t trust August, then maybe he is no better. It is this realization that his dual plan for the larger part of the season, trying to protect the crown’s image and his relationship with Simon, won’t work.
The beloved couple do get back together at the season’s finale, Wilhelm supposedly forgiven after he confesses to being in the video with Simon. It’s left for the audience to imagine how Wilhelm’s mother and the rest of the bluebloods are going to react to the brand new can of worms Wilhelm just rolled open to the public.
Tiesta Dangwal is Deputy Columns Editor. Email them at
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