The recent release of the film adaptation of the romance novel sensation Red, White & Royal Blue on Amazon Prime has fans visiting the same-titled 2019 novel by Casey McQuiston. When fans of this high-stakes and sensual rom-com read the source material, they may notice differences between the page and screen versions.
The film condenses the romantic plot between Henry and Alex by removing some fan-favorite elements from the novel in favor of substituting them with new elements that keep the focus on the star-crossed lover’s affair. At the same time, the film doesn’t include all characters from the book.
10 Alex’s Older Sister June Isn’t Included
In the original novel, Alex is not the only Claremont-Diaz sibling. He is the younger brother of June Claremont-Diaz. June is a journalist whose practical and calm nature serves to temper the more impulsive nature of Alex. She also adds an alternate perspective on the life of a child in America’s First Family that differs from Alex’s perspective.
The decision to remove June from the film adaptation is, without a doubt, the most controversial change for fans of the book. One of the best details of the novel was the captivating side characters and the vital supporting role they played in Alex and Henry’s journey. Removing these characters made the movie undoubtedly more one-dimensional than the novel.
9 Erasing Senator Rafael Luna Cut a Political Intrigue Storyline
In the original novel, the Claremont-Diazs family has a friend named Rafael Luna. Rafael Luna is a politician mentored by Alex’s father, Senator Oscar Diaz. Alex looks up to him, even working on his Senatorial campaign.
As the novel progresses, Rafael becomes entangled in a political conspiracy by President Claremont’s opponent, and this scandal provides an intriguing contrast to the primary romantic-comedy storyline. The film adaptation’s removal of Rafael’s character results in this storyline being scrapped and the movie losing an extensive plot line. With this narrative now void, many of the story’s big moments had to be rewritten or even ignored.
8 Alex and Henry’s First Meeting
Every love story has a beginning, and in this case, there are two different first meetings for Prince Henry and First Son Alex. In the movie, Alex and Henry meet at a 2016 Climate Conference in Melbourne. Unlike other love stories, this isn’t love at first sight.
Despite Henry leaving the initial meeting nursing a crush on Alex, their meeting is marred by emotional states and a miscommunication that sets them on a years-long path as bitter rivals. The result is consistent in the book, while the location differs. In the novel, Alex and Henry meet when they’re young men at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
7 The Addition of Miguel Ramos Changes a Key Moment
Miguel Ramos is a character who is not Casey McQuiston’s novel but plays a pivotal role in the film adaptation of Red, White, & Royal Blue. Miguel’s addition is meant to fix some plot holes created by altering or removing some book plot points and characters.
Political journalist Miguel Ramos is a multipurpose character with a complex past relating to Alex, taking on actions relating to erased book characters to continue the overarching arc of Henry and Alex’s relationship. The way Miguel is used in many different ways makes him appear as a flat character with few motivations other than messing with the protagonists’ relationship.
6 Henry and Alex’s Relationship Leaking Has New Motivations
The leak of Henry and Alex’s romantic emails to the public is a key moment in Red, White, & Royal Blue. The events after the leak prove that the couple’s love is forever, and they have what it takes to challenge the historical and close-minded institutions they are a part of.
In the book, the leak is a calculated action by President Ellen Claremont’s opponent Governor Ritchie to damage Ellen’s campaign. However, Ritchie is more one-dimensional in the movie and seems like a standard politician. He is barely present at all. In the film, Miguel releases them for journalistic points and possible retaliation against Alex for rejecting him.
5 Princess Bea’s Past Is Glossed Over in the Movie
Henry’s little sister, Princess Bea, is one of the most beloved side characters in Red, White, & Royal Blue. Bea is Henry’s lifeline in his restrictive home life, and they have supported each other emotionally since their father died. In the film, Bea is seen in this capacity, but she does not seem to have any role outside of supporting Henry emotionally.
In the book, Bea breaks immensely after their father dies and struggles with addiction before she enters recovery. Henry plays a part in helping her become sober, which leads to him being protective over her. This narrative also adds important context to their relationship that is missing from the film.
4 Alex’s Political-Powerhouse Parents Are Happily Married
The First Family in the Red, White, & Royal Blue movie consists of Alex and his politician parents. His mother is a Texas-born Democratic President who is running for re-election, while his father is a Democratic Congressman.
One of the largest differences between the book and the film is the relationship between Alex’s parents. In the book, they’re divorced and often butt heads about decisions relating to their children. While in the film, director Matthew Lopez intentionally kept them together to “give Alex a stronger support system… and keep the storytelling clean” (via Entertainment Weekly).
3 The Royal Family Looks a Bit Different in the Film
Portraying any version of the British Royal Family, fictional or not, can be a minefield to navigate. England’s monarchy is century-spanning and complex, and this does not change when it comes to Red, White, & Royal Blue.
In the novel, the reigning monarch is a queen, and Henry’s mother is present yet withdrawn since the death of her husband. The film changes the gender of the monarch to a king and does not feature Henry’s mother on camera. The gender change of the monarch was potentially done to avoid any disrespect to Queen Elizabeth II, who was the current monarch when the film was in development.
2 Alex’s Father Is a Congressman From a Different State
Alex’s father, Congressman Oscar Diaz, is a big source of inspiration for Alex in both the movie and the film versions of Red, White & Royal Blue. His father is a hardworking man who has advocated for the rights of marginalized groups, and he, along with his mother, are the reason Alex wants to follow in their footsteps.
In the novel, Oscar is a senator from California and often splits time between California and D.C. However, in the film adaptation, Oscar represents Texas in the House of Representatives, and it’s mentioned that his family immigrated to Texas from Mexico when he was 12.
1 Alex Is Already a Law Student in the Movie
Alex Claremont-Diaz embraces his role as a politician’s child in both versions of Red, White & Royal Blue, but in the novel, he is younger and at a different place in his political journey than viewers find him in the movie. In the novel, Alex graduates from college and is debating if law school is the right decision for him.
In the movie, Alex is already a law student at Georgetown (where he attended undergrad in the novel) and is implied to have graduated from the University of Texas for his undergraduate degree. An undergraduate experience in Texas also strengthens Alex’s connection to his home state, which he later focuses on during his mother’s re-election campaign.
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