Today’s installment is a variation on the undercover royal/Christmas bride theme that we experienced during My Christmas Prince. But since this one premiered last year, we’ll give the edge to the one with an actual star in it – ta da! Jane Seymour appears as the snobby queen, dueling wits with Lacey Chabert over Prince Leo, played by some blandly handsome Brit.
In the first 20 seconds of the movie after the credits, we’ve already seen a plug for Wal-Mart and Folgers Crystals. Just so we know where the production money came from.
Lacey Chabert plays Emily Taylor, who dates this handsome Brit who loves her pancakes and bacon. Emily is a clothing designer who has not been discovered yet. They have a lovely relationship, and are in a very, very snowy Philadelphia, where Emily’s dad is a tailor (and his name is Taylor!) and Emily’s sassy best friend also works at the tailor shop.
Leo has to tell Emily something, so they pick a very fancy restaurant with a table by the window. But seriously, that is the ugliest tablecloth on the table – it’s plaid – at a fancy restaurant? Weird. But Leo tells Emily he’s a prince. Wait whaaaaat? Prince Leopold of Cordinia, which is a small sovereign state in the south of France. Where they all have British accents. Emily is suitably freaked out about him being a Prince, but she’s off to Cordinia to prove that her Leo is still the same guy as Prince Leopold James Archibald William Henry Quincy something something something IV.
Jane Seymour is Queen Isadora, who is a bitch to the staff. (Her tea was tepid! Quelle Horreur!) She also has a very strange relationship with her handsome butler, Victor. This will come into play later, I am sure.
Jane Seymour is not impressed by her son’s choice of girlfriend. Emily gives her a Philadelphia snow globe, and Queen Jane hates on Benjamin Franklin. The idea. Oh, and Prince Leo is totally like “You don’t have control over my feelings!” “But one day, you’ll be king!” spits the queen. She also names drop Natasha, which is the Caroline Bingley character, and you know she’ll be obnoxious.
Queen Jane serves them haggis, as a traditional European dish, but really just to gross out her son’s girlfriend. Doesn’t work, as Emily basically inhales it. She
is less than thrilled by Emily’s prospective line of hoodies that she just designed. I don’t know how much you can improve upon the hoodie.
Palace hosts a Christmas Ball (of course it does). Prince Leo is trying to make Emily feel all at home in the palace, that is very tackily decorated. What is it with set designers in these movies, don’t they do research?
Emily makes a friend with the maid. Because Emily is different from the other royal guests who stay in the palace, because she offered to help her clean her own room.
Queen Jane has to get her digs in with Leo – you have a responsibility, you have to marry someone royal, I had to do the same thing. And then it cuts to Butler Victor, so you know she had to give him up in order to marry Leo’s father, with whom she shared a great affinity. Because that’s what people want in a marriage, a great affinity.
Leo thinks that wearing a hat and sunglasses means no one can figure out who he is. They find a Christmas bazaar, and buy a tree from Poppy, an orphan girl who lives with the nuns at St. Francis’ Orphanage. Keep an eye on Poppy! She’ll come up later, too, I’m sure. You can’t have that many speaking lines without being important enough to show up later.
Now cue awkward dinner party with a bunch of royals. And Duchess Natasha, who shows up in a red dress and bad posture. Who just referred to the Queen by her first name. That’s not a thing.
Emily doesn’t know how to use all the forks at the dinner table. And she drinks from the finger bowl. Who uses finger bowls? That still can’t be a thing, right?
Queen Jane is over-scheduled and has looped in Leo, so that he and Emily can’t be together. But she still has time to schedule in a morning ride with Leo and Natasha. Ew. But during all this, Emily gets to make friends with the servants – apparently there are only 5 of them that need speaking roles.
And now Emily has made friends with childless Baroness Galena, and who should they meet in the only shopping area of the town, but orphan Poppy. Emily then assists the orphans with her superior dress making skills – and they make scarves out of tablecloths. Not as good as dresses out of curtains, but still, the thought is there.
Duchess Natasha and Queen Jane are still trying to get Leo away from Emily, because of course they are. It’s bad form to bring up past relationships in front of the new girlfriend, but they don’t care. Queen Jane has just insisted that Emily wear one of her own old dresses to the Christmas ball – I’m sure that won’t look good. And then Victor gives Emily some etiquette lessons while Leo is out doing princely stuff. We have yet to see the dress, but Emily learns how to curtsey, and how to eat hors d’oeuvres in a ballgown – the trick is, take off your gloves.
OMG, the dress is awful. It’s like 1970s threw up every bridesmaid dress ever made. But Emily is a seamstress! Again, no mice are at work, but somehow, she gets all the alterations done in time. Will there be a moment when the room stops and she descends from the staircase? OF COURSE.
But are the Queen and Natasha happy? You judge:
Who else is at the ball? Orphan Poppy! Baroness Galena is going to adopt her! It’s a Christmas miracle!
Natasha takes Leo away for another dance, and her taking Leo to the dance floor allows Emily to sneak away to the kitchen, to instruct the waitstaff on the art of a six-foot hoagie. Which they decide to make during the party. Because that’s what one does in the kitchens of a palace. Which gets the two waitstaff fired by the queen, and Emily, according to the queen, has “No idea what it takes to be royal.” AAAAND Emily leaves the ball in tears. Queen Jane is gloating. That bitch.
Now, I’m not going to lie – the next scene is Leo proposing to Emily, and the first time I saw this, I totally cried. Yeah, I know. But it’s because Emily says no! They don’t belong together, he’s a prince, and she’s from Philly. But Leo won’t accept a no, he would renounce the throne for her – but Emily won’t let him do it. And Queen Jane overhears just how lovely and selfless Emily is being and gets as emotional as she can get.
Leo hates his mom, you guys. And Natasha can’t help herself, she still has to throw herself at Leo one last time, before she says that Emily was a pretty cool girl. Yeah, this girl sucks, too!
Humble Pie time from Queen Jane. Time for reality – Queen totally wanted to marry Butler Victor, but was unable to do so because he was a commoner, and she wasn’t. It’s like Julie Andrews and Hector Elizondo in Princess Diaries 2! So she totally understands (finally) what Leo needs in his life. She then says she’s totally fine with Leo marrying Emily. Fuel up the Jet! The Royal Family Heads to Philadelphia!
Philadelphia is a lovely city, and has much better snow removal than is represented on screen.
Leo proposes in the snow. His mom is watching from the car. It’s weird. Queen makes it all better, and now they’re engaged. Wahoo.
It’s a Real Fairy Tale! Yay! And in true Hallmark movie magic – for the first time in 100 years, it’s a Cordinian Christmas miracle, because it snows in the south of France. The End.
Even though this one is very silly, I still like it. It has the Cinderella aspect we all love, plus snotty royals who learn to love the common folk, and tons of smashing British accents. I was happy to watch it again, just so you don’t have to.