Alex returns to the White House and meets up with June to let his sister in on everything that’s happened since he left. She’s emotional and happy to hear that it worked out with Henry. She also tells Alex that Nora has been missing for the past two days, and though that’s not unusual in times of crisis, Alex wishes she had been more present. However, when Nora does emerge, he learns that she got an anonymous tip from a hacker that the leak of Alex and Henry’s emails came from the Richards campaign’s private email server. She had been missing as she attempted to prove for certain that the allegations were true. The Richards campaign hired photographers who had been following Alex and Henry and taking pictures of them for months. They also hired the hackers who leaked the private emails. Ellen wants to take the story to the press, but she needs to know who anonymously tipped their campaign off. When Alex looks at the email, he knows it was Luna.
There’s a transcript of a podcast episode about the incident, calling Luna the unlikeliest hero of the 2020 presidential race. Now that the information about who outed Henry and Alex is public, Alex makes a historic speech, which June writes for him, and Henry flies in from London to join Alex onstage. In the speech, Alex talks about how he has grown up as a child of America, full of the American dream. He describes how he and Henry both are sons of their nations and grew up with a sense of pride in and duty to their countries. He positions the outing of their relationship as a denial of freedom but focuses primarily on their love. In the speech, Alex compares their love to that of other historic political couples. He admits that he was afraid to come out and urges the country not to let his sexuality impact how they vote for president.
Alex goes to visit Luna and makes a peace offering in the form of a bag of Skittles. Alex feels compelled to ask Luna if he was involved in outing Alex. Luna knows that Alex has every reason not to trust him but says he would never do that to Alex. Alex believes him. Luna reveals that when he was young, he interned for Richards, and Richards was inappropriate with Luna. Luna pretended everything was fine but couldn’t stand the pressure and told Richards to leave him alone. When he did, Richards pulled out a file of information about Luna full of sensitive information that would ruin his career and his family’s life. He blackmailed him into silence. All these years later, Luna joined the campaign to finally expose Richards’s history of inappropriateness and abuse of power.
The world in Red, White, and Royal Blue both parallels and differs from real life. In the novel, October 2, 2020 is a key day in history. In real life, October 2, 2020 found the United States embroiled in a divisive election and surviving a global pandemic, both of which came to a head when the incumbent president tested positive for COVID-19. Like Richards, the conservative candidate in the novel, Donald Trump was embroiled in scandal, had leaked the contents of a private email server during an election, and was accused of misusing his power to gain sexual dominance over others. In the novel, October 2, 2020 goes down in history as the day Alex stood in front of the White House and gave a speech about being both a prominent son in American politics and being bisexual. It is a speech filled with hope for the future and for a world that embraces change, difference, and love. In the novel, as in real life, the progressive candidate wins the 2020 election. By presenting an alternate universe that closely parallels the real world but prioritizes hope and change, the novel envisions a reality in which a different nation is possible.
Luna sacrifices himself and his political career to do the most good possible, making him, in the end, a strong role model for Alex. By aligning with Richards, Luna in many ways jeopardizes his political career, as Richards’s policies are further right than Luna’s and his tactics are illegal. Luna also jeopardizes his friendship with the Claremont-Diaz family, who are like family to him. He makes these sacrifices in order to expose injustice. Luna also rose to power as a gay man in a different world than Alex, and it is through the actions of people like Luna that Alex is able to come out as bisexual and continue to thrive. Though Alex struggles throughout the novel to reconcile Luna’s actions with the man Alex knows and admires, in the end, Luna’s choices continue to provide a beacon for Alex.
The phrase “History, huh?” illustrates the revolutionary power of Alex and Henry’s relationship. The full phrase lifted from a letter from Alex to Henry is “History, huh? Bet we can make some,” and it encapsulates the hope, strength, and joy in Alex and Henry’s relationship. It plays with ideas of history, teasing out the fact that their relationship is history-making in nature, that they are writing the history of their own lives together, and that they can change the course of history. The phrase also combines the gravitas of the word history with the informal, modern word huh, which parallels the way their relationship is both timeless and modern. For example, they quote love letters between LGBTQ+ figures of the past, using those writers’ experiences to express their longing and suggesting that the experience of love throughout history is in some way constant. They also post pictures of themselves on Instagram and navigate an Internet filled with trolls, making their relationship purely modern. By playing with what it means to make history, Alex and Henry both honor their LGBTQ+ ancestors, thumb their noses at straightwashed history books, and promise a new kind of future.