A middle-class girl named Lena and Norwegian Crown Prince Karl Johan, often known as Kalle, become classmates after Lena moves from Horten to Oslo in the Netflix romance drama Royalteen. Directed by Per-Olav Srensen and Emilie Beck, the 2022 film develops through the bond between Kalle and Lena that goes beyond the former’s royal status and the latter’s secrets she keeps from her lover and classmates. We’re curious to see if the film has any parallels to real life as it offers a glimpse into the world of the Norwegian monarchy and the class feuds that develop between it and others. Let’s do the same!
Does Royalteen have a true story behind it?
The movie “Royalteen” is not based on a true story. The Heir, the first book in the Norwegian book series Royalteen, written by Randi Fuglehaug and Anne Gunn Halvorsen, forms the basis for the film. Like the book, the film is influenced more by fairy tales than reality. “You know, the old Cinderella fairy tale. Although I don’t think you’ve ever seen it that way,” Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne, who plays the ruthless Margrethe, told Vogue Scandinavia about the parallels between the traditional fairy tale and the film.
With the depiction of the gripping love story between Prince Kalle and a future Princess Lena, “Royalteen” successfully imitates the seductive fascination of the fairy tale. The two lovers in the film also have to fight evil forces to get together, reminiscent of the old prince and princess stories. The actor who plays Fanny, Filip Bargee Ramberg, explained the basis of the film’s plot to Vogue Scandinavia: “I think we grew up with stories of princes and princesses and now there’s this mystique around them – we want more about that know what they are. you’re really like.”
According to co-director Per-Olav Srensen, “Royalteen” is a combination of “Gossip Girl” and “The Crown”. The Norwegian film, whose ‘royal’ setting bears some similarities to the acclaimed historical drama, celebrates youth in the same way as the popular teen series, emphasizing the importance of gossip in children’s lives. Nevertheless, the film by Srensen and Beck does not entirely ignore reality. The film examines the negative impact of social media on the lives of modern teenagers, especially given the fake personas they build on these platforms. Such a persona, unrelated to Kalle’s inner nature, has him as a victim.
Alongside the criticism, the film also shows how a social media presence encourages teens to be independent, through Tess using these platforms to proudly build her own life while her schoolmates exclude her.
Is Karl Johan a real Prince of Norway?
Karl Johan is not a legitimate prince of Norway. The character, like the film, is a fiction. The protagonist of the show’s source material, The Heir by Randi Fuglehaug and Anne Gunn Halvorsen, is Karl Johan, also known as Kalle. The problems faced by a prince – or a member of the royal family – when leading an active life in the public eye are nonetheless explored in both the book and the film, which is not dissimilar to reality. Kalle finds it difficult to be the center of attention all the time, which encourages the spread of countless rumors about him.
Through Kalle, Srensen and Beck examine celebrity and its negative effects, which have real-life analogies, particularly in modern times. Kalle and his life seem to have been inspired by the unbearable popularity that royals have to endure in the real world. In addition, the novel and film about Kalle and his relationship with Lena, who come together despite their social class differences, show that love knows no boundaries.