Alex and Henry in 'Red, White & Royal Blue'

The Sassiest (and Cutest) Bickering Matches Between Alex and Henry in ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’

We just can’t get enough of the way Alex and Henry bicker in ‘Red, White & Royal Blue.”

Prime Video’s Red, White & Royal Blue, based on the novel by Casey McQuiston, follows the romance between the son of the President of the United States, Adam Alex Claremont-Diaz, and His Royal Highness Prince Henry of England. The two start as bitter enemies – exchanging quippy retorts with ease — yet a romance slowly blossoms between the energetic and spontaneous Alex and the reserved and polished Henry. The two fall for each other, while Henry battles with a homophobic monarchy and strict set of royal expectations that would rather he live miserably closeted than out and happy. 

The movie’s second half is quite the slow-boiling love story (which leaves us single folk yearning for romance), but the first half is filled with some bickering matches between our primary protagonists. So, let’s discuss our favorite wisecracking exchanges. 

“Did your parents send you to the school of snobbery?” 

After Prince Henry refuses to shake Alex’s hand  — as he stands among a line of men waiting for the royal’s acknowledgment — Alex decides to put Henry in his place at the subsequent wedding reception. However, prior to this scene, the film shows both Alex and Henry speaking to their fellow confidantes — a friend and sister, respectively — making not-so-kind assessments of one another. Alex calls Henry “the world’s rudest person;’ Henry calls Alex the “world’s most irritating person.” Oh… isn’t the love just oozing from their pores?

At the fancy wedding reception — with crystal chandeliers the size of elephants hanging from the ceiling — Alex and Henry have their first heated interaction. Alex notes that the cost of the eight-tiered cake behind them could feed several families, upon which Henry retorts that Alex could feed more starving people if he put his shoes up for auction. Alex then asks, “Tell me something, your majesty: Did your parents send you to snobbery school, or does looking down on people just come naturally to you?” Henry notes that it’s inevitable (given Alex’s height), to which Alex angrily replies that they are the same height. This leads to Alex bidding Henry goodbye with a sarcastic “Your Majesty,” to which Henry replies, “Actually, it’s Your Royal Highness. Your majesty is reserved for the king.” Alex begrudgingly thanks him for the “etiquette lesson,” and, the two get in a little bit of a pickle regarding the cake…it comes tumbling down on both of them, and buttercream frosting covers every inch of their pristine tuxedos and beautiful faces. 

The way they argue is like an old married couple; there’s so much tension. There’s so much frustration bubbling beneath the surface, but their chemistry and unwavering eye contact allude to an attraction neither can deny. 

“My NDA is bigger than yours.”

While on a little image-bolstering press trip, Alex and Henry are forced to make nice. Alex’s mother needs this for her campaign. She can’t have a bad relationship with England marring her reputation preceding the election. While smiling for the press, yet keeping their bitter grimaces ever-so-slightly disguised, Alex notes, “My NDA is bigger than yours. I want you to know that” in a quite cheeky double-entendre alluding to something far from legal documentation. Henry replies, “You’re wearing lifts. I know that too, sweetheart,” once again poking the bear and coming for Alex’s height – seemingly aware that Alex has a bit of a complex about this. 

The two proceed to shake hands with vitriolic tension for the camera as if being in each other’s presence is a chore in and of itself — let alone having to feign agreeability and companionship. What makes these snappy retorts so compelling is the degree of friskiness that defines each interaction. These comments are not as much mean as they are sassy. They are not as much hurtful as they are arousing. Both bickering participants only add fuel to a burning fire that in time will transition from a representation of animosity to one of adoration. 

“Freestyle rap” and an “incredible Barbra Streisand impression” 

When naming three adjectives he would use to describe Henry, Alex says “white, Blonde, and British,” to which Henry notes that he admires Alex’s “willingness to admit when he’s wrong,” clearly alluding to the fact that Alex is utterly incapable of doing such. They are talking to the press – answering various questions designed to convey their bestie bond — so they must conceal their negative judgments beneath vague responses and double meanings. It’s hysterical. It’s truly clever writing, augmented by strong performances from Taylor Zakhar Perez (Alex) and Nicholas Galitzine (Henry).

Nothing beats Alex suggesting Henry do a little freestyle rap to which Henry urges Alex to take a swing at his “incredible Barbra Streisand impression”. Also, Barbra Streisand… we among the LGBTQ+ see you Henry, and we approve of choosing such a queer icon for this retort. That urge to show your true colors and come flying out of the closet with rainbow attire is bubbling right beneath the surface. And soon enough, not even the monarchy will be able to rain on your gay parade.

Alex and Henry have an unquenchable need to one-up each other. It’s an insatiable desire to “win” when really they just want to win each other’s hearts (sorry for the cheese..couldn’t resist).

“Why do you dislike me?”

When fireworks are mistaken for gunshots, a member of security shoves Henry and Alex into a janitor’s closet and, forced into intimate quarters, the truth surfaces. The two are physically annoyed with each other, bumping elbows and knees as they try to attain a semblance of comfort in this tiny space. Henry asks Alex, “Why do you dislike me?” to which Alex notes a time, many years ago, when Alex went to introduce himself to Henry, who looked at him like he “had head lice.” He remembers Henry turning to his equerry and uttering, “Get me out of here.” Henry admits he could have been nicer and asks for more reasons, to which Alex comes up dry. 

Henry shames him a bit for holding onto this one event for so many years as the basis for his festering resentment. Alex gets mad at Henry for “minimizing it” before Henry says he couldn’t possibly do such a thing for it’s “already as minimal as it gets.” When Alex explains that it was his first “foray into the world as a public figure” and he was looking for someone to confide in, to trust,” Henry gets it. Alex was looking for someone with the capability to help him via personal experience as a young man thrust into the spotlight, yet Henry walked away from him with a sense of urgency. 

Henry apologizes and this is a turning point in the story; Henry opens up about his father’s death and his tendency to act like a prick to everyone at the time. Their relationship begins to transform, and, with the past understood and contextualized, they can move forward. They can fall in love. 

The following interactions between them that are snarky in nature are defined less by irritation and indignance and more by bubbly excitement. Sassy retorts and frustration give way to playful teasing and flirtation. 

“What do you have against color?”

This comment comes in the form of a text message, so we must note that Alex puts Henry in his phone as HRH (His Royal Highness) Prince Dickhead with a smiling poop emoji. There’s still some resentment there…just a healthy sprinkling. Alex tells Henry that he hates the tie he’s wearing in Vogue, asking him if he has something against color, to which Henry replies, “Gray is a colour, thank you.” It’s still spunky, but more schmaltzy.

The two continue to text like this for quite some time — flirting via insult…what the British would call “the banter,” or should we say “banta?” Their exchanges continue on this way until they meet in person once again, and all that underlying passion comes to the surface with one romantic kiss in the snowy outdoors. It’s a polaroid moment. 

About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.