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Film / A Princess For Christmas

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A Princess For Christmas is a Made-for-TV Movie that premiered on Hallmark channel in 2011. While a modernized version of Cinderella, it also explore the thematic of mourning and inter-class romance, - and is set during Christmas holidays.

Jules Daly (Katie McGrath) has raised her nephew and niece Milo and Maddie by herself since their parents died the year before. A few days before Christmas, they are invited to go to the Castelbury palace by the kids' grandfather, Duke Edward Huntington (Roger Moore).

The latter disowned Charles, his eldest son, after he married Jules's sister, who was of an inferior social rank. Still, he now wishes to meet his grand kids. Jules, as a Christmas enthusiast, tries to cheer up everyone, while romance blossoms between her and Ashton (Sam Heughan), Edward's youngest son. Who's a prince, by the way.


A few years before Netflix's movies A Christmas Prince and The Princess Switch, the movie explored the thematic of a middle class-character falling for European nobility, Promotion to Parent, and Heartwarming Orphan, all wrapped up in the Christmas atmosphere. Still, the mourning characters make it a bit Darker and Edgier than its Spiritual Successor.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: Jules calls her nephew "007" when she sees him in a tuxedo- while being in the palace of a former James Bond.
  • Alliterative Family: Milo and Maddie.
  • Alpha Bitch: Lady Arabella, despite this is not a High School context. Being The Rival, a Rich Bitch, and not among scheming, she fits many of the requirements. She is the closest equivalent to the evil stepsisters.
  • Anachronistic Orphanage: While shopping in Castelbury, Jules, Milo and Maddie spot a choir of orphans. They wear uniforms and apparently are taken care of by a religious congregation ( a nun lead the choir). However, in Present Day Europe, traditional orphanages have closed since WWII and orphans are now in foster families.
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  • And Starring: Sir Roger Moore gets the citation.
  • Angst: Poor Milo, constantly angry since he became an orphan. It will take a few archery lessons with his uncle Ashton to calm down.
  • Brainy Brunette: Jules may be a commoner but she is far from uncultured. Her formation as an antique dealer explain it, and she sometimes can tell the origin of Castelbury ornaments better than aristocratic guests.
  • Brick Joke:
    • During the beginning of the film, Milo and Maddie's nanny rants at Jules for her bouncing checks. Midway through the film, Milo casually reveals that he's been the one swiping it, causing Jules to Double Take.
    • When they arrive at Castlebury palace, Jules almost slips to the floor with one of the servants telling her that they wax the floor everyday. When Jules returns to that exact place in a later scene, she slips for real while servants are waxing the floor in the background.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Jules tells Milo that he looks like "James Bond" during the film's climax. Of course, Duke Edward is played by Sir Roger Moore, the third cinematic Bond and the actor with the longest tenure in the role when it comes to the numbers of films made.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Ashton teaches Jules waltz in the middle of the film, so of course they will have a Dance of Romance at the climax.
  • Classical Music Is Boring: Ashton once teaches Jules how to dance waltz on the tune of the "Waltz of the flowers". Jules gets bored of it, gives a cooler look to Ashton by ruffle his hair, switch to a more modern tune, and teaches Ashton how to dance on it, until Arabella walks in and shut it off.
    • Averted at the Christmas ball, where Jules and Ashton dance on a classical tune.
  • Cool Aunt: Jules, overlapping with Promotion to Parent.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Jules officially meets Ashton (she has only seen him in photos beforehand) by accidentally bumping into him while looking for Mrs. Birch.
  • Creator Cameo: Director and co-writer Michael Damian appears as Jules' boss in the beginning of the film.
  • Dances and Balls: A Christmas ball, no less.
  • Dance of Romance: Twice; first when Ashton teaches Jules how to dance waltz, and later during the Christmas ball.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Mrs. Birch, very strict at first before she burst into tears when she is reminded of her sad childhood Christmases. That's why she finally let Jules put a Christmas tree inside Castelbury castle-and starts to befriend her.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster:
    • The "wave of bubbles" occurs in the first scenes. Seven years old Maddie just wanted to wash the shirt she just stained, without disturbing her nanny. Unfortunately she's too young to have been taught how to deal with the washing machine.
    • Later on, a rare voluntary example of "giant iron hole" occurs with benevolent intentions. A maid of Castelbury castle burns Jules's evening dress to the fiber with her iron... Actually a pretext to buy her another, more spectacular dress for the Christmas ball.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: A slight twist: Jules and Ashton meet and fall for each other after their brother and sister got married, and later died.
  • Downer Beginning: Let's see, Jules's sister and brother-in-law died a year ago, she had just lost her job, the Badly Battered Babysitter had run away, Jules is in a critical financial situation and Milo, in a rebellious phase, had just stolen a video game, in sharp contrast with the Happy Ending.
  • Event Title: A Princess for Christmas.
  • Fictional Country: Averted, the name of the country inherited by Ashton is never stated. Castelbury is actually a fictional town but it is said to be near Geneva. It is also stated to be a "stone's throw" from the Real Life principality of Liechtenstein.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mrs. Birch was initially cranky before her Character Development.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Jules is a male name in many countries. It explains why some foreign dubs call her Julie instead (while in the US it's often used as a nickname for Julia).
  • Gold Digger:
    • Arabella accuses Jules to be this during the ball. However she's wrong: Jules had no clue Ashton was a prince until the day after they met, and learn that he is a crowned one only right after their wedding.
    • Edward, on the other hand, is right when he tells Arabella that she is the real gold digger. Indeed, she exclaimed in the previous scene she just wanted "to become a princess".
  • Grand Staircase Entrance: Jules, at the Christmas ball; like often in Cinderella stories.
  • The Grinch: Edward and Milo both stated, in the very beginning, that they hate Christmas. Justified, because the holidays remind them of the death of their beloved ones. They passed away last Christmas.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Edward, until Maddie manage to mellow him, after she showed him what used to be his favorite childhood Christmas ball.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Maddie, to the point she does not seem to have noticeable flaws. Her addiction to chips seems to come out of nowhere (alluded to just before the ball), but at the moment she needed a vice that Arabella could blame her for.
  • Hidden Depths: Ashton is not just a blank Prince Charming. Not only does he miss his brother and teach Milo that he must not use violence, but he knows Edward preferred Charles. And still tries to bond with him.
  • History Repeats: Duke Edward Huntington's sons both marry a Daly.
  • Idle Rich: When Arabella blames Jules for getting fired, Edward reminds Arabella that she's never worked a day in her life.
  • I Have No Son!: Edward had disowned Charles in the past for marrying a commoner. His butler invites Charles' children and their aunt to Edward's home for Christmas, which kicks off the plot. Edward admits doing this was wrong, regretting it after Charles died along with his wife.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: Edward, in order they live up to their Royal Blood, announce to the kids that they will take these. Maddie and Milo end up delighted, as they respectively learn Ballet and electric guitar.
  • Maid Corps: Castelbury is filled with maids and butlers, who came very handy to the plot, especially as Shipper on Deck.
  • The Namesake: Jules did not officially become a princess until the very last scene.
  • Nephewism: Jules is the children's aunt, but has clearly served as their parent since their real ones died.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Katie McGrath slips into her Irish accent sometimes. Leilah de Meza (who's English) also slips into hers a bit.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Duke Edward outlives Charles, which is a big reason why he tries to reconnect with his grandchildren.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jules once overheard Edward and Ashton talking about a "crass, untitled, and poor" lady they are reluctant to invite to the ball, despite that they have to do it. Jules comes to the conclusion it must be about her, and she had better leave before the ball. Luckily the domestics catch her before she take the train, and take her back to the Castelbury ball. There, Ashton explains that they were actually speaking about Bunny Mac Cullen, a nasty old lady who's rude and a Child Hater. As she is also a poor commoner, the reason why Edward felt he was compelled to invite such an unpleasant person is a mystery.
  • Posthumous Character: Milo and Maddie's parents died the previous year.
  • Preppy Name: Lady Arabella Marchand du Belmont.
  • Present Absence: The late Prince Charles and his wife are posthumous characters, yet their memories and death looms over all the characters throughout the film.
  • Promotion to Parent: Jules becomes the legal guardian of her sister's children after the latter and her husband died.
  • Protagonist Title: Jules is the eventual princess in the title.
  • Punny Name: One of the prominent maids is named Abigail. The word "Abigail", by definition, is a Lady's personal maid.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Arabella gives one to Jules and her nephews at the ball, but it backfires. Jules answers they do have the flaws they've been blamed for, but will redeem, and they are not gold diggers. Then Edward tells the Marchand du Belmont that they are the ones who suck, and are self-interested.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The theme of Practical Magic was the melody running through the movie.
  • Rich Bitch: Arabella and her parents, who can't suffer the presence of middle-class guests at the ball.
  • Romantic False Lead: In the beginning, Arabella dates Ashton, but it did not last long.
  • Royal Blood: Ashton, through his mother. Also Milo and Maddie, through their late father.
  • Santa Claus: His existence is discussed throughout the story by Maddie, until he shows up, putting presents under the Christmas tree at the very end. If he is the real one, or an actor hired by Edward, is never stated.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Jules, at the ball, in a Pimped-Out Dress provided by the domestics, fitting the Fairy Godmother's role.
  • Snow Means Death: Implied, as it is mentioned that Jules' sister and brother-in-law died during the previous Christmas.
  • Snow Means Love: Jules and Ashton fall in love during Christmas season.
  • Spoiler Title: Jules marries the prince in the end and becomes a princess.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Jules and Ashton are Milo and Maddie's adoptive parents while also being their maternal aunt and paternal uncle.
  • The Un Favourite: Ashton once states to his father: "I'm still your son. Not the one you prefer, but the only one who is still alive."
  • White Sheep: Thomas, Arabella's brother and Ashton's best friend, seems to be the only nice person in his family.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Paisley baits Jules and the children to come with him to Castlebury by saying Duke Edward has a terminal illness. Jules and the kids are not amused with The Reveal that he is in fact quite well.


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