‘The King’s Affection’ Becomes First K-Drama to Win an International Emmy

The world of K-dramas has another reason to celebrate in 2022. At the 50th International Emmy Awards in New York on November 21, The King’s Affection won the Telenovela category. It marks a historic win as it is the first K-drama to win an International Emmy. Starring Park Eun-bin and Rowoon, the historical romance tells a riveting story of forbidden love and political turmoil.

Park Eun-bin and Rowoon's 'The King's Affection' wins the International Emmy.
Park Eun-bin and Rowoon’s ‘The King’s Affection’ wins the International Emmy | via KBS

‘The King’s Affection’ won the Emmy against series from Spain, Brazil, and China

Tensions ran high during the Telenovela category at the 50th International Emmys. Alongside The King’s Affection, the K-drama was up against Nos Tempos do Imperador from Brazil, Two Lives from Spain, and You Are My Hero from China. According to the International Emmy’s official Youtube page, the K-drama’s executive producer, Yoon Jae-hyuk, received the coveted award.

He expressed gratitude toward KBS and the international fans who loved and cheered on the K-drama. According to Soompi, the head of the KBS Drama Center, Lee Geon-joon commented, “I’m so happy that The King’s Affection won the first-ever International Emmy as a Korean drama, and it’s a pleasure to have the potential of Korean dramas as a whole receive recognition.”

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The King’s Affection is not the first K-drama to have been nominated for an International Emmy. In 2021, the psychological romance K-drama, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay was nominated in the mini-series category. But The King’s Affection marks a historic win as the first K-drama to win as a Telenovela.

The gender-bender K-drama explores palace politics and a forbidden romance between the King and his teacher

It is no surprise among K-drama fans that The King’s Affection was nominated for and won the Emmy. The K-drama is tagged as a gender-bender due to its hidden identities and romance themes. In the Joseon dynasty, the K-drama tells the story of twins born to the future king.

But when one child is born a girl, it is a forbidden omen. The king sentences the little girl to be killed. Unable to let go of her child, the Crown Princess fakes her death and smuggles her out of the palace. Dam-yi (Park Eun-bin) grows up unaware of her royal title but returns to the palace as a young court maid in training.

It leads her to meet the Crown Prince Lee Hwi (Choi Myung-bin), her twin brother. Realizing who they are to each other, they form a small bond. But trouble ensues as the past king learns the twin girl is possibly alive. In a case of mistaken identity, Lee Hwi convinces Dam-yi to swap places, leading to his death.

Knowing the palace would be in chaos, Dam-yi’s mother convinces her to pose as her twin brother. Years pass, and Dam-yi grows up pretending to be a man and the Crown Prince. But The King’s Affection adds a romantic curveball when she and her Royal tutor, Jung Ji-woon (Rowoon), begin to fall into forbidden love. Between her secret, the palace, her duty as the future king, and her love, Dam-yi faces rough waters.

The King’s Affection is available to stream on Netflix.

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