Henry ghosts Alex and refuses to answer his texts, and Alex is lovesick. He struggles to function or do anything other than check his phone. Without work to distract him, he spends his time pacing and worrying until he finds a love note that Henry left in his kimono the night they did karaoke. Alex can’t take the silence from Henry any longer, so he buys tickets for Cash and him to fly to London. Alex demands that Shaan let him in and begins shouting outside of the palace. Henry lets him in, and Alex demands to know what’s going on. Alex tells Henry that he loves him, and Henry takes off his signet ring. Henry tells him that he can’t be in a relationship with Alex because of his duty his country. Alex says he’ll leave but only if Henry directly asks him to. Henry can’t and the two make love. As it’s happening, Alex isn’t sure whether they are starting their relationship officially or saying goodbye. The next morning, Henry tells him that he’s in and the two are officially in a relationship and very much in love. Alex stays for one more day and Henry takes him to one of his favorite places in London, The Victoria and Albert Museum. He arranges a private showing and takes Alex to a room filled with sculptures of figures from mythology and the Bible. Henry tells Alex it’s always been a fantasy to take someone he loved to the room. He puts on “Your Song” by Elton John and the two dance in front of the statues. Before Alex leaves London, Henry gives him his signet ring. When Alex is in the air, he puts the ring on the chain that holds his old house key.
This chapter is made up of a series of love letters sent over email between Henry and Alex. They are in a similar situation, both stuck at home, staying away from the outside world. Alex often dreams in his letters of a time when they can be together more regularly, saying he hopes that can happen after the election. Henry wants to visit Alex in Texas and see the house that Alex grew up in. Alex asks Henry about coming out to his family, and Henry describes coming out to his brother. Prince Philip doesn’t take it well and lectures Henry on his duty to his family’s legacy. Henry describes the first time he met Alex and fell for him. He says Alex was the most incredible thing he’d ever seen and that he was afraid to get too close to him. Alex sends a list of things he loves about Henry, from his laugh to the way he plays the piano to his misguided ideas about Star Wars. He also encourages Henry to stay strong in the face of his brother’s homophobia. They quote LGBTQ+ love letters from Vita Sackville-West, Radclyffe Hall, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelangelo, and Richard Wagner.
These chapters explore the power of reclaiming history through an LGBTQ+ lens and the hope inherent in acknowledging LGBTQ+ ancestors. Throughout the novel, an often-hidden LGBTQ+ history emerges as Alex and Henry’s romance deepens. In the sculpture room, after they have just committed to loving each other, this secret history of England is present for Henry. By invoking James I and other gay monarchs from the past, Henry acknowledges that he has a lineage, too. Though he is ostracized from his blood family because of his sexual identity, he feels a kinship with the queer monarchs that help him understand his place in the world. After the trip, the letters between Alex and Henry are the most passionate of their correspondence, and each one ends with an homage to gay lovers of the past that helps them articulate their love and longing for each other and their hope for the future. As Alex and Henry face the difficulty of being very public figures who keep their love secret, they turn to the words of great thinkers, artists, and politicians who were in the same situation and loved ardently in spite of the danger. This parallels the leap that both Alex and Henry take in committing to each other.
This section explores the signet ring as a symbol of Henry’s legacy. The signet ring is an established accessory of the British monarchy, worn by kings and other aristocrats since the Middle Ages to illustrate their power and elevated social standing. The rings often bear a family crest which emphasizing their link to the family legacy. They are historically used to sign documents, emphasizing their link to inherited power. Henry always wears the ring on his pinky finger, and this symbolizes of his duty to his family and his country and to the legacy that he has inherited. When Henry and Alex argue about whether or not they can be together, Henry removes his ring. This suggests that in order to have the conversation with Alex, he needs to set aside the duties and expectations of his family and his standing in the world. He leaves the ring off as he and Alex talk and make love, and when Alex sees it on the mantle, he takes it as a sign that he still has hope for being with Henry. When Henry gives Alex the ring, it symbolizes that not only is he giving Alex his heart, but he’s also committing to creating a new legacy with Alex that isn’t defined by the historical traditions of his family. Instead, Alex and Henry set out to create a new legacy based on authenticity, love, hope, and change.
McQuiston uses the Star Wars motif to give insight into Alex’s and Henry’s characters. In their letters, Alex and Henry both agree that Alex is Han Solo and Henry is Princess Leia. Like Alex, Han Solo is sarcastic and witty and a bit of a daredevil, willing to take risks others think are outrageous. Like Henry, Princess Leia is royalty with a deep sense of duty. Both Henry and Leia smash stereotypes about gender and aristocracy. For example, Leia thwarts stereotypes of the damsel in distress when she chokes Jabba to death while escaping him. Henry thwarts stereotypes of the emotionless king by writing poetry, falling in love with a man, and coming out to his family. The comparison also gives insight into the nature of Alex and Henry’s relationship. Han continuously needles and teases and bickers with Leia, frustrating her into finally admitting her feelings and kissing him. Similarly, Alex antagonizes Henry until he, in a bout of frustration, kisses him.