Is 'Red, White & Royal Blue' based on a true story?

Where did author Casey McQuiston draw inspiration for her beloved novel? What romance fans need to know about the bestseller-turned-movie

Is Red, White & Royal Blue based on a true story? Pictured: Nicholas Galitzine as Prince Henry and Taylor Zakhar Perez as Alex Claremont-Diaz in Prime Video's Red, White & Royal Blue
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Is Red, White & Royal Blue based on a true story? After getting lost in Prince Henry (Nicholas Galitzine) and Alex Claremont Diaz's (Taylor Zakhar Perez) romance, fans are curious how the novel-turned-movie came to be. 

Casey McQuiston has rightfully earned her place as a household name in the romance genre thanks to her debut, but where did she draw on inspiration? For the uninitiated, the novel follows the son of an American president who is on bad terms with the Queen of England's grandson. After a particularly frustrating moment between the two at a royal wedding, they attempt to rectify their relationship to appear as though they're on good terms. But what happens when this fake friendship turns into something more?

So, where did this inspo come from? Let's find out!

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
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Is 'Red, White & Royal Blue' based on a true story?

No, Red, White & Royal Blue is not based on a true story, given that Alex Claremont Diaz is the son of the United States' first female president—something we're still not-so-patiently waiting on. Additionally, royal buffs will note that Prince Henry's story in the book and movie does not follow any of the British royals' IRL storylines. However, given that the LGBTQ+ romance did touch on race, it seemed fairly similar to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's now-famous love story. 

McQuiston told Glamour in 2019 that she hadn't planned it that way, it just sort of happened. 

"I feel like I shouted into the universe and the universe shouted back," she told the publication. "I was like, 'Wow, okay, so the youngest prince is going to marry a famous biracial American.'"

Even though the stories of Prince Henry and Prince Harry might have a few parallels when it comes to racial identity, the author revealed that she mainly drew inspiration from things she watched and read. All in all, Red, White & Royal Blue was a combo of Veep, My Date With the President's Daughter (ah, Disney Channel nostalgia) and The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (available on Amazon). She did want to bring her own flair to the genre, which is why she settled for an LGBTQ+ plot.

"I’m a huge rom-com fan, but I’m also like, 'How can I do this differently?'" she further revealed to Glamour. “I’m a queer person. So the first subversion was thinking, 'What if this is a queer kid and he has to deal with what that means for his position in the world?'"

When it comes to what we see on screen, Tony Award-winning playwright Matthew López, who directed Red, White & Royal Blue, drew on various famous performances: Moonstruck, When Harry Met Sally, Broadcast News, and Bringing Up Baby, according to NBC News. In an interview with our sister site, What To Watch, Lopez revealed that he pretty much immediately wanted to turn the novel into a film. 

"I allowed myself to finish it for the first time just for pure pleasure, but by the time I got to page 50 I knew I wanted to make this movie," he said. "Once I knew that, I went back and I re-read it a little more critically, just to make sure that I was not jumping in without checking the depth of the water, so to speak. And I was like 'Yep, I wanna do this, let’s go!'"

While the story might not have been based on a true story, perhaps it can inspire a few real-life events. (Female president, anyone?!) Catch Red, White & Royal Blue streaming on Prime Video.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 


When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.