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"And while Cinderella and her Prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived."
Grande Dame

Ever After: A Cinderella Story is a 1998 film adaptation of the classic "Cinderella" story. Set in Renaissance France, the film eschews the magical elements of the original story and treats the plot as straight Historical Fiction.

The story begins when The Brothers Grimm are invited to the home of a French noblewoman (Jeanne Moreau) who tells them how much she enjoyed their story of Cinderella, but that they got some details wrong. She then proceeds to tell them this story...

Danielle de Barbarac (Drew Barrymore) is the beloved only child of the widowed Auguste de Barbarac and his late wife, Nicole de Lancret. When she is eight years old, he remarries the Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent (Anjelica Huston), and brings her home along with her two daughters, spoiled and cruel Marguerite and gentle but weak-willed Jacqueline. Shortly thereafter, he dies, leaving Danielle to the care of her stepmother, who already resents the love that he displays to his daughter (especially as he calls for her over his wife in his final moments), and the estate's three devoted servants - the housemaids, Paulette and Louise, and the retainer, Louise's husband Maurice.

The movie skips ahead ten years, to when Danielle is eighteen. Their estate has fallen onto hard times and things keep "disappearing," to the anger of the Baroness. Danielle has, of course, become a virtual house slave to the family, but takes comfort in the familial love she shares with the servants and the kindness she receives from Jacqueline. One morning, she is gathering apples in the estate's orchard when she spies someone stealing the horse of her late father. Enraged, she chucks apples at him, ultimately causing him to fall. It turns out to be the Crown Prince of France (Dougray Scott), running away from a father who wants to marry him off. To buy her silence, he gives her a great amount of gold.

Danielle and the Prince meet again when Danielle, disguised as a courtier and using her mother's name, goes to the castle to rescue Maurice, whom the Baroness had sold into slavery to pay off some of her debt. The Prince is intrigued by "Nicole's" beliefs and courage, and asks to meet her again. A courtship ensues, in which Danielle keeps trying to tell Henry that she is really not a countess and the Baroness gets increasingly suspicious of Danielle's odd appearances and disappearances. The King and Queen, desperate to marry their son off, are delighted that he has found a girl... but are keen to meet her, something Danielle wishes to avoid. Meanwhile, Leonardo da Vinci, who has been invited to court, befriends both Danielle and Henry and everything seems to be going along well, save for Danielle's growing anxiety about maintaining the masquerade.

This film provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Le Pieu, for Danielle. Not only is he much older than her, Danielle clearly finds his advances repulsive.
  • Abusive Parents: Rodmilla de Ghent, who is emotionally and physically abusive to her stepdaughter Danielle, and not much kinder to her unfavorite daughter Jacqueline.
  • Academic Athlete: Danielle, who's a bookworm, a tree-climber, and does her own heavy lifting, certainly qualifies. She's also an accomplished pitcher (the apple scene) and swordswoman.
  • Action Girl: Danielle swims, climbs trees and punches people in the face. She later frees herself from slavery by threatening her captor with a sword.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Danielle demands a horse and her dress back from the gypsies, their leader tells her she may have anything she can carry. She then lifts up Prince Henry and carries him off. The gypsies find this hilarious, taking the clever trick in good humor and treating the pair much more congenially afterward.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Unlike most tellings of Cinderella which have two evil stepsisters, Jacqueline, Danielle's other stepsister, is quite kind and compassionate towards her, even assisting her with Henry.
  • Altar Diplomacy:
    • Prince Henry of France is supposed to marry Princess Gabriella of Spain, and it's implied that it'll be a diplomatic nightmare for his father King Francis if Henry sidesteps the match. Henry, who especially at the beginning of the movie is kind of a brat, doesn't care.
    • There's also an allusion to the fact that Henry's parents married for diplomatic reasons as well.
      Queen Marie: Sweetheart... you were born to privilege, and with that comes specific obligations.
      Henry: Forgive me, Mother, but marriage to a complete stranger never made anyone in this room very happy.
      Queen Marie: [glances awkwardly at King Francis]
  • All There in the Manual: The novelization of the movie specifies the setting as 1512.
  • Amazon Chaser: Henry wants to know how "Nicole" lives with that kind of passion. He says to her, "You swim alone, climb rocks, rescue servants. Is there anything you don't do?" Later in the scene she hoists him over her shoulders to save his life.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's not fully clear if Rodmilla got her title of Baroness from a previous marriage or birth. She mentions that her mother was very hard on her, but she was very grateful to her since it resulted in her becoming a baroness (presumably by marriage), yet she also often boasts of her "noble blood." However, a baron/ness is the very lowest form of nobility (little more than glorified land owners).
  • Archetypal Character: Danielle = Cinderella, obviously.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The main villain is Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, an abusive parent to both Danielle and her Unfavorite daughter Jacqueline, and a conniving social climber who bribes, cheats, and manipulates her way into the Queen's good graces so her favorite daughter, Marguerite, will have a shot at marrying Prince Henry. Henry himself has shades of this at the beginning with his Royal Brat antics, but matures over the course of the story.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    • Danielle cuts through Prince Henry's snobbish elitism with one well-phased question during their first meeting with her pretending to be a courtier, which kick-starts his Character Development.
      "Nicole": Excuse me, sire, but there is nothing natural about [snubbing peasants]. A country's character is defined by its "everyday rustics" as you call them. They are the legs you stand on, and that position demands respect, not...
      Henry: (somewhat amused) Am I to understand that you find me arrogant?
      "Nicole": Well, you gave one man back his life, but did you even glance at the others?
    • Later, Danielle coldly snarks to Rodmilla, "What bothers you more, "stepmother": that I am common or that I am competition?" Rodmilla is too proud to directly answer that question, but it does indicate that Danielle is more aware of Rodmilla's disdain than her stepmother gives her credit for being.
  • Arranged Marriage: Between Prince Henry and Princess Gabriella of Spain. After Henry tries to run away in retaliation, his father offers a compromise, saying that he'll call off the marriage if Henry can find another woman he wants to marry before a masquerade ball taking place in a week. After seeing that Henry has undergone Character Development, Francis decides to not even bother with that condition, though by that point Henry is willing to go through with the marriage anyway. Halfway through the ceremony, however, Henry realizes that both he and the bride are in love with other people, neither of them actually wants this, and the whole situation is absurd, so they cancel the wedding for good.
  • Artistic License – Art:
    • Leonardo da Vinci is shown pulling The Mona Lisa out of a tube and unrolling it so that onlookers can admire it. The Mona Lisa was painted on wood panel.
    • Danielle's portrait is based on La Scapigliata, also painted on wood panel, not on canvas, and much smaller than the painting shown in the film.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • This is almost right, but... the researchers misunderstood. At one point, Henry feeds one of the stepsisters chocolate, saying, "The Spanish monks keep sending bricks of it." Yes, the Spanish were responsible for bringing chocolate abroad during their missions, and yes, chocolate was popular in France, causing the rise of several "chocolate houses"; but there wouldn't be any "bricks" of chocolate. Solid chocolate was developed about two centuries later by the British, and mastered by the Swiss (who made milk chocolate). So, either she would be drinking it (she wasn't) or eating a cocoa bean (which is bigger), or the seed (conceivable, but she wouldn't be finding it "sinful" because the seeds of the bean were rather bitter without sugar). In any case, shipping to France would not have been done by the Spanish, since the Spanish kept it a secret for a century or so. More here.
    • The entire movie is rather hodge-podge as far as accuracy goes. While the novelization by Wendy Loggia specifies the setting as 1512, Thomas More's Utopia was published in 1516, and Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 (in France, it must be said). 1519 was also the same year Henry II, son of Francis I, was born. His mother's name was Claude, not Marie, and he was married to Catherine de Medici.
    • Danielle tells Gustave that Rodmilla acts like she has "money to burn". Not only is it an inappropriately modern expression that seems to go only as far back as the 20th century, but it is inaccurate, as paper money would not be invented until approximately 250 years later or so. Ironically, the film accurately shows the correct currency of coins made from steels and precious stones, so Danielle's line should have been "money to melt".
    • Likewise, Paulette tells Danielle at one point that the only throne she wants Marguerite sitting on "is the one I have to clean every day." While modern toilets are often jokingly referred to as "thrones" for their throne-like shape, at the time people only went in small, round chamber pots... one of which Paulette is shown cleaning later in the movie.
    • The Queen comments that "Divorce is only something they do in England", which presumably is a reference to Henry VIII, who divorced Catherine of Aragon... in 1533, which is long after the events in the film.
    • The movie doesn't seem to have a clear (or consistent) understanding on how French nobility worked:
      • Barons were very low-ranking nobles, essentially land-owners, to the point of people literally being able to buy the title note . Rodmilla looking down on her servants is one thing, but regularly having an audience with the Queen is pushing it. Though it could be a case of Small Name, Big Ego since for all her posturing, she has to spend years scheming and bribing footmen just to get the royal family's attention, and most of the rest of court can barely stand her.
      • Also, Rodmilla is repeatedly called "Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent." She would have had to give up that title upon marriage to her second husband. But this also begs another question: who's running the barony of Ghent, if she and both of her children are in France? Does she also have a son who never gets mentioned?
      • It's possible that Rodmilla could bear the title in her own right; in France, the family title is seen as belonging to the whole family, so all the (patrilineal) relatives of a baron could also use the title. It's also possible that Rodmilla is simply continuing to use the title even after her second marriage and that her first husband was just another relative of the family.
    • There was never a princess Gabriella of Spain, and her parents in the film don't match any Spanish monarchs of the 1510s (both Ferdinand II of Aragon and his daughter Joan the Mad were widowed in the previous decade, and Joan's son Charles V was single until 1526 when he would have been addressed by his higher title of Holy Roman Emperor).
    • Averted at the masque: close partnered dancing, like the waltz, didn't develop until the mid-eighteenth century and wasn't widespread until the nineteenth. The masquers are shown engaging in large, formal group dances much more typical of the sixteenth century.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: King Francis to his son Henry. They spend the whole movie sniping at each other and pushing back at what the other wants; but just before the ball, the King makes an effort to be patient and softly explain why he wanted those things for Henry, compliments the progress his son has made being more selfless, and offers to call off his ultimatum altogether, though Henry declines that last one as he's heartbroken anyway.
  • Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch:
    Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent: Jacqueline, darling, I'd hate to think that you had anything to do with this.
    Jacqueline: [sarcastically] Of course not, Mother. I'm only here for the food.
  • Bald of Evil: Pierre Le Pieu.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. Danielle is often covered in dirt and soot, but the results of the severe whipping she receives are shown only once, hidden under her clothes for the rest of the film.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Jacqueline, due to having treated Danielle kindly for as long as she's known her, is spared the servitude that the Baroness and Marguerite are subjected to, and instead granted a place in her and Henry's court.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Henry uses one to make his getaway when he's rebelling against the arranged marriage; judging by his mother's comment, this isn't the first time he's done this.
  • Beta Couple: It's implied that Jacqueline, the mellower stepsister and the only one of the de Ghents to show Danielle any genuine kindness at all, hooks up with Henry's right-hand man Laurent.
  • Big "NO!": Danielle does this when Marguerite throws her father's book - the only memento she has left of him - into the fireplace. She lets out a few more later on when she's dragged off to become a slave to Pierre Le Pieu.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Princess Gabriella, Prince Henry's Spanish betrothed, babbles at him in her native language during their wedding to explain her heartbreak. No subtitles are used, but it's fairly clear from the context that she's in love with one of her parents' courtiers.
      "¡Por favor no te cases conmigo, por favor!" (Please don't marry me, please!)
    • Her parents' dialogue after Henry cancels the wedding and sends Gabriella to her beloved's arms is pretty funny too, especially the queen repeatedly shouting "Tu culpa!" (your fault) at the king.
  • Bitch Alert: Marguerite's first spoken line as an adult. Even Baroness Rodmilla tells her to dial it down.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The prince mentions his encounter with Danielle to Rodmilla when returning the horse, leading to this gem:
      Rodmilla: She is mute, my lord.
      Henry: Really? She spoke quite forcefully.
      Rodmilla: *Hand Wave* Well, it comes and goes.
    • At a luncheon with Marguerite and Rodmilla, the Queen expresses curiosity about the mysterious Comtesse Nicole de Lancret, who has enraptured Henry. Rodmilla, recognizing the name of Danielle's mother, realizes that it's Danielle and lies that Henry's sweetheart is already engaged. This comes back to bite her hard later on.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Henry gets this throughout the film as both Danielle and Leonardo da Vinci pointedly cut his ego down to size. In his case, it leads to Character Development, and he comes out better for it.
    • Rodmilla and Marguerite naturally get one at the end of the film, in the form of a Humiliation Conga combined with Laser-Guided Karma.
  • Call-Back: Danielle is the only one to see her father collapse from his fatal heart attack, because she's the only one to watch him ride away, explaining that "It's tradition—he always waves at the gate." Ten years later, when she goes to the ball, the servants stop Leonardo from going to see Gustave's paintings by exclaiming, "It's tradition!" Sure enough, at the gate, Danielle waves to them from the carriage.
  • The Chain of Harm: Auguste merely looking at his new wife Rodmilla and then turning to say "I love you" to his daughter with his dying breath was pretty cold. It's hard to blame Rodmilla for feeling hurt by that. However, Rodmilla then spends the next ten years making Danielle's life as miserable as she possibly can in retaliation, which is not all right.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Everyone is occasionally (probably consciously, due to the quick changes between humor and seriousness) guilty of this, the eight-year-old Danielle in particular.
    • Honorable mention to Marguerite, who throws a full-blown temper tantrum with stamping and screaming and yelling in front of the Queen of France. ("There was a bee.")
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Downplayed with Gustave, who admires Danielle in her noblewoman's dress but encourages her to go after the prince.
    "No one will be looking at your feet."
  • Cinderella Plot: Danielle de Barbarac is orphaned within mere days of her widowed father remarrying. She's left to the care of her mentally abusive stepmother, though at least she has the family servants who still love her, and one of her stepsisters is a kind and sympathetic person. Instead of a fairy godmother or her mother's ghost, this iteration sees her assisted by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: Danielle's mother's shoes, which give rise to the legend of the fabled "glass slipper." They're not glass, but they are a silvery-white color and decorated with sparkly beads.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Some of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions are a bit out there, like huge wooden shoes meant to help him walk on water and various flying machines. Outside of his inventions, however, he's actually one of the wisest and most sensible characters in the film, befitting his role as the story's Fairy Godmother-equivalent.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Most characters have one color scheme that they wear throughout the film, so you can easily spot them.
    • Danielle mostly wears blue and white (when she's not pretending to be a courtier, though even then she often leans toward silver-blues and silver-greens).
    • Rodmilla and Pierre le Pieu wear mostly black.
    • Marguerite mostly wears bold orange dresses.
    • Jacqueline wears dark blues and greens.
    • The king and queen often wear golds and oranges. Once Danielle becomes their daughter-in-law, we see her in a similar color scheme to indicate that she's part of their family.
    • Truth in Television as most real-world Medieval and Renaissance Europeans only had a handful of outfits they wore over their undergarments, and they tended to choose colors that complemented their own features and/or social standing, rather than whatever color was in style as we do today.
  • Color-Coded Patrician: Truth in Television, Invoked, and Enforced.
    • The king and queen are often shown in Gold-Colored Superiority.
    • Prince Henry is seldom seen without his Purple Is Powerful cape.
    • Various courtiers (including Rodmilla and her daughters) often wear bold colors and patterns in expensive fabrics to show off their status.
    • Most servants (such as Danielle) are shown in crude, faded blues, browns, beige, and whites. The gypsies also mostly wear brown, tattered clothes.
    • When Danielle decides to pretend to be a courtier, Gustave mentions the (real-life historical) penalty for servants dressing above their station.
  • Covered in Gunge: In their final scene Rodmilla and Marguerite get pushed into a dyeing pool and wind up with their faces and clothing stained purple/magenta.
  • Cruel Mercy:
    • Danielle keeps Rodmilla from being shipped off to the Americas... by asking the king to "show her the same courtesy that she has bestowed upon me." Cut to Rodmilla and Marguerite being ushered to their new jobs in the palace laundry.
    • Also doubles as an epic Oh, Crap! moment for Rodmilla and Marguerite at Danielle's words.
      Danielle: I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment, and never think of you again. But you, I am quite certain, will think of me every day for the rest of your life.
      Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent: ...And how long might that be?
  • Crush the Keepsake: Marguerite burns Danielle’s copy of Utopia. Thankfully, it's later subverted as the book is revealed to be the castle's copy, as Harry explains Danielle left hers in the carriage.
  • Damsel out of Distress: By the time that Henry shows up to rescue Danielle from Le Pieu, she has already freed herself.
  • Dark Is Evil: Rodmilla de Ghent and Pierre le Pieu, who both dress primarily in black with hearts to match. Subverted with Jacqueline, who shares her mother's black hair and tendency to dress in dark colors, but is one of the shyest and sweetest characters in the movie.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Le Pieu is essentially a Renaissance France variation on this archetype.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Danielle reveres her father's memory, and trash-talking her mother is not a good idea.
  • Death by Childbirth: Possibly what happened to Danielle's mother. It's not stated, but it's heavily implied that Danielle doesn't remember her at all, since she at one point tells her stepmother that "You are the only mother I have ever known." If she didn't die giving birth to Danielle, she died before the girl was very old.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Rodmilla takes it for granted that Marguerite will marry Prince Henry and become Queen one day, and thinks nothing of scheming, bribing, lying, and racking up huge debts in the meantime, presumably assuming her daughter will use her royal privilege to repay her when all is said and done. When Henry marries someone else and her schemes are exposed, she ends up losing everything.
  • Dirty Coward: Marguerite's haughtiness and cruelty disappear when Danielle actually stands up to her, at which point she runs away in terror.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Maurice, whom Danielle saves from being sold and shipped overseas near the beginning of the film.
    • Henry runs into some trouble with a band of gypsies, leading to Danielle being the one to save him.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • Danielle punches Marguerite in the face when the latter insults Danielle's deceased mother. In a later scene, Marguerite is shown sporting a massive black eye, which she has to explain away through Blatant Lies.
    • Jacqueline, Rodmilla's Unfavorite daughter, helps set her and Marguerite up for their Humiliation Conga at the end by using Exact Words to imply that the prince is planning to marry Marguerite.
    • At the very end, Danielle winds up having a chance to decide her stepmother's fate, and while she does prove far more merciful than Rodmilla would be in her place, she's not quite above letting her stepmother squirm for a few seconds before announcing this decision.
  • Dramatic Irony: When young Danielle first learns about her new stepfamily, she is delighted at the idea of having a new mother and two new sisters. Little does she know what's in store for her for the next ten years.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Not a literal unmasking, but Rodmilla exposes Danielle's deception by telling Henry, in front of his court, that Danielle is a servant. This is especially cutting because Danielle had been planning to tell Henry herself before Rodmilla beat her to it. For bonus points, this happens at a masquerade ball.
  • Dresses the Same: Played with. Both Laurent and Jacqueline attend the masquerade dressed as horses, though their costumes aren't identical.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Auguste to his daughter, Danielle. Rodmilla didn't take very kindly to this.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It isn't easy for Danielle or Henry, but they ultimately find happiness in their marriage.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. It's not to say that Danielle condones any of Rodmilla's past deeds or abuse. But when all is said and done, Danielle makes it clear she's exercising the concept of forgiveness by putting Rodmilla's abuse behind her and refusing to let it affect her life any further. Notably, this comes only after she's certain Rodmilla won't be able to hurt her — or anyone else — ever again.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: When told by the gypsies who've waylaid them that she may leave with anything she can carry, Danielle hoists Henry over her shoulder and proceeds to walk off with him. The Leader of the gypsies is so impressed that he calls her back to offer her a horse.
  • Empathic Environment: As Danielle sits alone and crying after Henry publicly rejects her at the masque, it starts pouring.
  • Entitled Bitch: Two of them, courtesy of Rodmilla and Marguerite. This mother and daughter duo treat Danielle lower than shit and try to steal her late mother’s dress, then force her into a Sadistic Choice between the dress or burning her father’s last gift (a book), only to burn the book anyway and whip Danielle. Once Danielle hides the dress, Rodmilla and Marguerite outright demand her to surrender the dress, but Danielle stands her ground and refuses.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Most characters refer to Rodmilla as "The Baroness," or "Baroness" when directly addressing her.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Danielle picks Henry up after being told she can leave with "anything she can carry".
    • Also, Jacqueline tells her mother and Marguerite that the prince told her he was a fool for wanting to marry a foreigner over "your sister." They assume she means Marguerite; she actually means Danielle. (Not quite a straight example, as those weren't his real words to her, but it was some cleverly worded improvisation on her part.)
    • When Henry asks Danielle her name during what he thinks is their first meeting (actually their second), she replies "I fear that the only name to leave you with is Comtesse Nicole de Lancret." Note that she never actually says that this is her name.
  • Famous Ancestor: It's not clear exactly who the woman telling the story to the brothers Grimm is (they address her as "Your Majesty," while the credits identify her as "Grande Dame"); but at the end she refers to Henry and Danielle as being her great-great-grandparents, adding that by the time of "the Revolution," "the truth of their romance had been reduced to a simple Fairy Tale. It's been speculated that the woman is Marie Therese, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoniette. It would make sense, since she would be the direct descendant of Henry and Danielle, and would qualify to be "Your Majesty", since she was, by marriage to her cousin, Queen Consort of France.note 
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Rodmilla first meets Danielle, she shows mild jealousy of the affection Auguste shows her, distaste over her dirty appearance, and remarks that her father "speaks of nothing else" (rather than "no one else"). This foreshadows her lifelong jealousy and distaste for Danielle.
    • In the introduction, right after her father leaves, Rodmilla and her daughters go inside. Danielle exercises her father's will that she show them the ropes and tells them they have to wave good-bye to her father as part of the de Barbarac tradition. But Rodmilla just ignores it and walks back inside without batting an eye. If the time skip is any indication, this won't be the last time Rodmilla looks down on Danielle, or neglects her duties as mistress of the manor.
    • When Henry returns the horse he took from the de Barbarac stables, Laurent is briefly shown looking appreciatively at Marguerite and Jacqueline. Laurent and Jacqueline will later meet again at the masquerade ball, where it's implied they hit it off and begin their own budding romance.
    • The first time Danielle dresses up as a courtier, she mentions that the shoes are too big and ends up wearing her own shoes instead. Leonardo da Vinci notices this, and is unsurprised when "Nicole" later turns out to be a servant.
    • During Danielle's second meeting with Henry, she condemns the practice of shipping debtors and other criminals to the Americas as unjust. At the end of the film, she saves her stepmother and Marguerite from the same fate, proving that despite their abuse, she still has her morals and won't sink to their level.
    • Marguerite burning Daniell's book (and Rodmilla holding her back from salvaging it) forebodes that the two can and will hit Danielle where it hurts most when given the chance.
  • Framing Device: The movie is about one of Cinderella's descendants telling The Brothers Grimm about her real life.
  • Freudian Excuse: Rodmilla laments that her own mother was so hard on her and feels like the position of Baroness is a sign of her hard work paying off. In addition, it's implied that Rodmilla was saddened that she barely knew her second husband, and wished that he did love her.
  • Funny Background Event: The first moment we see Pierre Le Pieu, a donkey can be heard braying in the background.
  • Gaslighting: Danielle and the other de Barbarac servants do this a few times to Prince Henry to hide Danielle's status as a servant. "Nicole de Lancret" lets Henry think he's crazy or imagining things by denying they've met before, so he won't realize she's the servant who hit him with an apple earlier. Later, when Henry stumbles across Danielle tending livestock at the market, she throws a chicken in his face and flees while Paulette and Louis make a big commotion, and they pretend they were the only servants he saw. It's not entirely unjustified, as Danielle would have faced serious punishment if anyone found out she was a servant dressing as a noblewoman. However, it's still Played for Laughs, only shifting to Played for Drama when Henry learns the truth and realizes that "Nicole" was lying to him the whole time: he's understandably furious and calls her out on it.
    Rodmilla: What are you two doing?! Trying to scare the prince to death?!
    Paulette: We were startled, that's all.
    Henry: (Slowly) ... Were there just the two of you?
    Louis: And the chicken, Your Highness.
  • Gender Flip: Rather than a Fairy Godmother or Cinderella's mother's ghost, the role is played by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Several are worn by Danielle to look the part of a courtier. Her family wears them too.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Rodmilla will never forgive Danielle for the fact that her husband loved his daughter more than her, nor for the fact that he turned away from Rodmilla to tell Danielle he loved her with his dying breath. She also becomes jealous of Danielle's success in wooing the prince over her own daughter.
    Danielle: What bothers you more, stepmother? That I am common, or competition?
  • Grounded Forever: As punishment for his disobedience, the king tells Prince Henry that he'll "deny you the crown and... live forever!" Much to the King's dismay, Henry replies, "Good. Agreed. I don't want it!"
  • Group Hug: When Danielle brings Maurice back, he and Louise rush into each other's arms. Paulette runs to join their embrace, and then Louise reaches out and pulls Danielle in.
  • Happily Ever After: The title makes it a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Happily Married:
    • Danielle and Henry clearly establish that they're going to be this in the first few months of their marriage that we see.
    • It's implied that Jacqueline and Laurent will end up this as well.
    • Maurice and Louise, definitely. Just look at how overjoyed Louise is when Danielle brings Maurice back to her.
  • Hate Sink: Marguerite has all of of her mother’s worst traits with none of the former’s charming qualities.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jacqueline wasn't a terrible person to begin with - just withdrawn and severely cowed - but she becomes much more sympathetic to her stepsister after the Sadistic Choice Marguerite and Rodmilla put Danielle through.
  • Heel Realization: Marguerite possibly appears to have had one once she's been forced to become a laundry maid, but it's also a bit unclear because even though she calls herself and Rodmilla 'nobodies', the context is trying to get Rodmilla to do a certain task instead of her.
  • Historical Domain Character: If this movie is to be believed, Cinderella's fairy godmother was really Leonardo da Vinci. He befriends both Prince Henry and Danielle, gives them a lot of assistance and life lessons, and helps start their relationship.
  • Historical Fiction: The Cinderella story minus the magical elements and thus also count as Demythification.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: The death of Danielle's father. He feels shooting pain in his left arm, then keels over and dies of a sudden heart attack thirty seconds later.
  • Humiliation Conga: At the end of the film, Rodmilla and Marguerite are both subjected to this. They show up at court, assuming Marguerite is going to marry Prince Henry, and instead get chewed out by the Queen in front of the entire court for being manipulative, lying social climbers. Rodmilla is stripped of her beloved title, and it becomes clear that no one is willing to help them. Then Princess Danielle reveals herself and takes enough pity on them to save them from exile, while also making it clear that once they leave, they never existed as far as she's concerned. Finally, they're put to work as servants and naturally end up making fools of themselves with their Small Name, Big Ego antics.
  • Hypocrite: Rodmilla berates Danielle for keeping secrets from her, declaring that she won't tolerate deceitfulness. This is coming from the woman who's secretly selling off household heirlooms, then blaming the servants and docking their wages for "stealing" them. Not to mention all the bribery, falsehoods, and intrigues she's using to try and marry Marguerite off to Henry.
  • I Gave My Word: Danielle asks for this from the Gypsy leader to allow her anything she can carry. He agrees and does nothing to stop her from lifting the Prince to carry him away. He's so impressed, he offers Danielle and the Prince a horse and a meal.
  • Ignored Epiphany: During Rodmilla and Danielle's quiet heart-to-heart, Rodmilla reflects on her troubled relationship with her mother, observes that Danielle is a lot like her father, and even implies that she felt some genuine fondness for him. However, she quickly brushes these feelings aside, sends Danielle away, and spends the rest of the film continuing to be cruel to her.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Baroness Rodmilla of Ghent is constantly spending money on bribes, dresses, and jewelry, mostly for her daughter Marguerite, but is deep in debt and is secretly selling off everything from household valuables to servants to keep ahead of her creditors. She firmly believes it's all going to be worth it because Marguerite will marry Prince Henry and become Queen.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Gabriella, the Spanish Princess, because she's being forced to marry someone other than the Spanish courtier she's in love with. Can you really blame the poor girl?
  • Informed Ability: Danielle is an old hand with the sword, though we never see her use one and it is only mentioned once. It's entirely possible that she's bluffing, given that she claims she was trained by her father, who by her account would have had to have taught her well before she was eight.
  • Ironic Echo: Delivered by Jacqueline - see Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch.
  • Jerkass: Rodmilla and Marguerite, with the latter being much less subtle about it than the former.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Henry is a Royal Brat, but shows that he has a good heart by helping a man being robbed by gypsies recover his stolen property, at the cost of being caught by the guards sent to track him down and bring him back to the castle. He also promises not to try and escape again in exchange for being allowed to return said stolen property, much to the gratitude of one Leonardo da Vinci. Earlier, he gave Danielle twenty gold francs in exchange for not mentioning she'd seen him (and, implicitly, as an apology for taking her father's horse) when he could have simply ordered her to say nothing and been on his way. And after being clobbered with apples, no less.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Rodmilla kicks several dogs through out the movie.
      • The whole business of selling off household items on the sly and then punishing the servants for their "theft" by docking their wages...
      • Early in the film, Rodmilla advises Jacqueline (who is much softer-spoken than her sister) "not to speak unless (she) can improve the silence." (This was in response to Jacqueline answering her question on how to act like a lady, which Rodmilla directed at Marguerite.)
      • After Danielle has been rejected by Henry and utterly humiliated in front of the entire French court, Rodmilla decides to sell her - to her Stalker with a Crush.
      • When Danielle asks Rodmilla if she has ever loved her, even a little bit, Rodmilla's response is a cold "How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?"
      • Even after a satisfying sock to her right eye by Danielle, Marguerite throws Danielle's favorite (and only) book, the last gift she ever got from her father, into the fireplace, even after Danielle surrenders her mother's shoes to her. Then Rodmilla gives her a lashing that occurs off screen.
    • Marguerite is just like her mother. Not just the book incident; she also tells Danielle that Jacqueline (who was actually upset that her mother was trying to give Danielle's dress to Marguerite) didn't want her to go to the ball.
  • Know When to Fold Them: The instant Marguerite sees the rest of the French Court bow to to the newly crowned Princess Danielle, she immediately bows and lowers her eyes, knowing she's beaten. Rodmilla, by contrast, spends several long moments glaring at Danielle before she begrudgingly concedes.
  • Laborious Laziness: Rodmilla de Ghent refuses to tend to the manor since she considers it beneath her as a Baroness. Instead, she spends all her time trying to set Marguerite up with Prince Henry by constantly hawking anything that'll fetch a price to buy eye-catching jewelry and dresses, bribing footmen to spy on the prince for her, stalking the prince's whereabouts, and playing games and intrigues to get the royal family's attention. Imagine how much she could get done if she put a fraction of that effort into actually running the manor and bringing in an honest income.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Everybody gets what they deserve. Rodmillla and Marguerite are forced to work in the palace laundry. Monsieur le Pieu traded everything he bought from Rodmilla for Danielle, then lost it all when she escaped. Meanwhile, the kinder stepsister Jacqueline and the Barbarac servants who essentially raised Danielle all get to live with her in royal comfort, while she and her Prince get their Happily Ever After.
  • Masquerade Ball: A regal celebration at which Henry's engagement is to be announced.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The copy of Utopia which was Danielle's last gift from her father; also Danielle's mother's shoes.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: We first meet Danielle, her stepsisters, and her friend Gustave as children, before Danielle's father's death ushers in a ten-year-long Time Skip.
  • Myopic Architecture: Before leaving for the ball, Rodmilla locks Danielle in the pantry. The servants are frantically trying to free her, but they don't have the key. Leonardo da Vinci lets Danielle out by removing the pins from the hinges and opening the door from the other side.
    Leonardo da Vinci: I shall go down in history as the man who opened a door!
  • Mythology Gag: The Framing Device claims that the popular Cinderella fairy tale, with its magic and fairy godmother, is a distorted retelling of what really happened. Thus, the story contains many nods to traditional elements of "Cinderella," but often played with in various ways.
    • When Danielle first dresses as a courtier, she mentions that the shoes that go with her dress are too big, which aligns with most retellings of Cinderella declaring that the slipper is too small for anyone's feet but Cinderella's.
    • Most of "Nicole's" meetings with Prince Henry end with her declaring that she's late for something and running off. In fact, about the only time she doesn't do this is at the climactic ball.
    • When Francis offers his compromise to Henry, he sets the deadline for Henry to find another prospective wife at midnight on the night of the ball. He actually has his mouth open to announce Henry's engagement to Princess Gabrielle when Danielle enters the ballroom, and Henry stops him just in time.
    • When apologizing and once again confessing his love to Danielle, Henry opens by telling her that he's looking for the owner of a certain lost shoe. When she accepts his proposal, he slips the shoe onto her foot before embracing her.
  • The Namesake: The 'Cinderella' title is invoked when we learn that this is Marguerite's nickname for her stepsister. It comes into play when they're having tea with the Queen, who asks them if they know the woman who has so enraptured Henry.
    Rodmilla: She's been around for years. And, staying with us as a matter of fact.
    Marguerite: Yes. Of course. ...Our cousin.
    Rodmilla: You like to call her 'Cinderella'.
    Marguerite: [realizes who this means and throws a massive tantrum]
  • Never My Fault: Rodmilla frequently blames her servants for her own poverty and debt, even though her own neglect of the manor (which has the best soil in the province) and tendency to sell off the servants she needs to work the land (which would bring income) are the cause of her misfortune.
    Danielle: Unbelievable. She ignores the manor, blames us for her debt, and still pretends to have money to burn.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Most nobles aren't, since they believe their station gives them the right to treat peasants as property. Danielle believes in this, though that's not surprising given her station. Since Prince Henry doesn't know this when they first officially meet, he's fascinated by the "walking contradiction" of a courtier preaching the importance being nice to the help. As she grows on him, he visibly makes an effort to be nicer to peasants and servants he encounters.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Danielle's efforts to stand up for herself and protect her belongings only get her punished by her stepfamily; first, Marguerite seemingly burns her father's book, then she's whipped and Rodmilla locks her in the cellar.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Danielle twice at the start of the film. Every time she tries to defend throwing apples at the prince, her choice of words just ends up Digging Yourself Deeper. First when she tells him, "I did not see you," causing Henry to wryly reply that her aim would suggest otherwise. Then, when she tries to defend herself to Rodmilla, she claims she "did not recognize him," making her look like a simple country girl.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: King Francis spends most of the movie berating his son and arguing with his wife over Henry's refusal to fall in line with his Arranged Marriage to Princess Gabriella of Spain. When the marriage finally takes place and the young couple mutually call it off, they discover that the Spanish royal family is just as screwed up as their own.
    Francis: And I thought I had problems.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Danielle is clearly having these thoughts when she first pretends to be a courtier (trying to free Maurice) and hears Prince Henry behind her.
    • "Did you, or did you not, lie to Her Majesty the Queen of France?" The King and Queen are not subtle in their implication that they might have the Baroness executed for her actions, and her panic is evident. Even worse, no one will speak for her. Then, when someone does, all the blood drains out of her face as she turns around to face the only person willing to save her—Princess Danielle.
  • Only in It for the Money: The footman Rodmilla has been bribing for information on the royal family proves completely willing to hang her out to dry as soon as her fortunes turn and it's clear she won't be paying him anymore. During Rodmilla's Humiliation Conga at the end, he's briefly shown standing in the background, making no move to speak up for her and clearly enjoying her downfall.
  • Parental Abandonment: Danielle's father dies of a heart attack about fifteen minutes into the film.
  • Parents as People: King Francis's initial interactions with Henry mostly consist of arguing and ultimatums, but his later scenes show that he's willing to ease off on Henry once he starts to show genuine interest in running the kingdom, making his earlier behavior come across as a frustrated parent desperately trying to motivate a rebellious child to apply himself.
  • Peer-Pressured Bully: Overlaps with Extreme Doormat. Danielle is bullied by her mother and elder stepsister. Younger stepsister Jacqueline, whom they don't treat much better, is clearly uncomfortable with and sometimes outright disgusted by their actions, but struggles to muster the courage to actually stand up for Danielle or herself. She gets better about this as the movie goes on, eventually outright siding with Danielle against her mother and sister. By the film's denouement when Danielle and the prince are married, Jacqueline is in a Pair the Spares relationship with the Prince's valet, and the lone member of her family not to be exiled for the mistreatment of Danielle.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Pierre le Pieu sniffs Danielle's hair this way after she is sold to him.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After Danielle is whipped (offscreen) for punching Marguerite in the face, Jacqueline nurses the lash-marks on her back, adding that Marguerite should never have said what she had about Danielle's mother.
    • Rodmilla gets a single moment of this when she tells Danielle that she looks a lot like her father. Subverted immediately afterward when she appears to catch herself and explains that what she really meant is that Danielle's appearance and mannerisms are "so masculine."
    • Another brutal subversion in the final act of the film; The morning after the masquerade, Pierre le Pieu arrives at Danielle's father's estate with all of the possessions Rodmilla had secretly been selling to him. While Danielle is aghast at her stepmother's actions, she forces herself to thank le Pieu for his kindness in returning them... only to be informed that he simply sold them back to Rodmilla in exchange for Danielle herself.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Danielle and Gustave. They've been inseparable since childhood, but there's no sign of romantic feeling between them, and he encourages her relationship with the Prince. Danielle even counters Gustave's horror at her masquerading as a noblewoman to rescue Maurice by saying Gustave would do the same for her. They're either this trope or Like Brother and Sister.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Rodmilla does one of these to Auguste as he lies dying of a heart attack, but it's more out of selfishness than love, since she's wailing that he "cannot leave [her] here" and basically ignoring his heartbroken young daughter kneeling beside him, and proceeds to be horrible to her for the next ten years. It's implied she's also jealous of the fact that Auguste's Dying Declaration of Love was meant for Danielle instead of her.
  • The Queen's Latin: Although they are in Renaissance France, everyone (including the Italian Da Vinci) speaks with a British accent. Barrymore's is particularly jarring.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Henry's mother, Queen Marie. She is sympathetic to Henry's reluctance to go through with the marriage to the Spanish princess, and she appears to be highly uncomfortable with Danielle's public humiliation at the masque, despite Danielle's deception of Henry. She's also clearly an affectionate mother, and is visibly pleasant and respectful to everyone we see interact with her.
    • King Francis decides to give Henry the chance to find love before attempting to finalize the marriage arrangements with Spain again. It is implied he does this because he didn't realize before that point that his threat to "never give [Henry] the throne and live forever" would fall so flat, as Henry has no interest in being a part of political theatre and therefore doesn't consider the threat valid. In an attempt to placate Henry, King Francis tells Henry to find love by the time of Da Vinci's ball or he will confirm the engagement to Spain again. It's only five days until then, but Henry will take whatever he can get...
      • Later, King Francis reveals that his agreement to the engagement with Spain wasn't entirely for political gain - as a father, he felt that Henry was aimless, ignorant of his duties as a prince and Francis hoped that the wedding would help Henry realize his obligation to his throne. With Henry's sudden declaration regarding the university, Francis sees progress in his son, enough that he offers to rescind the marriage contract with Spain, even if Henry didn't have someone to marry (as was decided by Francis from the initial deal).
  • Rebel Prince: Henry isn't keen to assume his princely duties, and first meets Danielle when he's running away from home. He's rebellious out of snobbish boredom.
  • Renaissance Man: The original Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci himself, shows up to facilitate the romance.
  • Requisite Royal Regalia: The King and Queen, as well as Prince Henry, are crowned and in full court dress for the public humiliation of Rodmilla and Marguerite, and the revelation of Henry's wife, the newly-titled Princess Danielle - who is likewise richly attired and crowned. Otherwise downplayed, as the members of the royal family (and Henry in particular, due to his having the most screen time) are shown to dress much less elaborately for everyday business.
  • Returning the Handkerchief: What the girls hope will happen in the tennis scene—Henry has handkerchiefs stuffed into his clothing by hopeful courtiers.
  • Rich Bitch: Rodmilla and Marguerite. Henry may also count as a male example, at least at first.
  • Roguish Romani: A quite stereotypical "Gypsy" band appears initially attempting to steal Danielle's dress and hold the prince hostage, but after she impresses them with her quick thinking, they give everything back and invite the couple to their revelries. Also played with, as Danielle points out in-universe that the way people think of Gypsies is almost entirely defined by stereotype rather than by any real understanding of them as people; this prompts Henry to reciprocate their earlier hospitality by inviting them to the masquerade.
  • Royal Brat: Prince Henry is a male version, on which behavior "Nicole" frequently calls him out. He eventually gets better thanks to Danielle's influence and some well-timed reality checks from Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Sadist: Both Rodmilla and Marguerite enjoy tormenting Danielle, though Rodmilla is at least capable of showing some restraint and is shown to be motivated by jealousy that her late husband loved Danielle more than her. Marguerite, on the other hand, is a Spoiled Brat who openly enjoys making others suffer.
  • Sadistic Choice: Danielle is forced to choose between letting Marguerite wear her mother's dress and shoes to the masque or forever lose the last thing her father ever gave her. Even after she surrenders the shoes to Marguerite, the spiteful bitch tosses the book in the fireplace anyway.
  • Say My Name:
    • Danielle has a heartwarming scene where Prince Henry (while apologizing for being a Jerkass) spontaneously calls Danielle by her real name (instead of Nicole, her mother's name, which he has been using up this point). She begs him to repeat it — not the apology, but the part where he says her name.
    • There's also the bit just before that, where he tells her to call him Henry instead of "Your Highness" (which is how he demanded she address him when he discovered she was a commoner).
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Everybody notices when Danielle arrives at the ball. The moment is soon ruined, of course.
  • Shipper on Deck: Leonardo da Vinci for Henry and Danielle. He befriends both of them, helps Danielle get to the ball, and chews out Henry for rejecting her at said ball after he learns her true identity.
  • Shrinking Violet: Jacqueline is quiet and shy.
  • Significant Name Shift: Prince Henry calls Danielle by her name for the first time, instead of the alias she used for half the movie, after they have truly fallen in love.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Rodmilla de Ghent is very proud of the fact that she is a Baroness, and often boasts of her status to everyone, yet barons are the lowest possible title of nobility, little more than land-owners. Even more pronounced at the end, when she holds herself above Marguerite and the other castle servants just because she is "of noble blood." The head laundry servant isn't impressed. It's also weird because, since Margeurite is Rodmilla's own daughter, she is of noble blood too!
  • Smug Snake:
    • Le Pieu is especially smug after Danielle is made his slave.
    • Marguerite is often shown smirking smugly, even though it's all due to her mother's machinations. So it's very satisfying to see that smug grin wiped off her face at the end, when she realizes Danielle is a royal and now holds Marguerite's fate in her hands.
  • Society Is to Blame: What Danielle believes, as shown in the quote below while she is saving Maurice from being arrested over debts. She later points out the harm caused by stereotypes, citing how Henry feels defined by his role and expectations as the Crown Prince with no room to be seen as a person as an example.
    Danielle: A servant is not a thief, Your Highness, and those who are cannot help themselves.
    Henry: Really! Well then by all means, enlighten us.
    Danielle: If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?
  • Spoiled Brat: Marguerite, big time. She's even called such by Danielle when she refuses to give away the location of her mother’s gown.
    Danielle: I would rather die a thousand deaths than see MY MOTHER'S DRESS ON THAT SPOILED, SELFISH COW!!!
  • Stalker with a Crush: Monsieur le Pieu is implied to be something like this to Danielle, judging by his behavior toward her in the marketplace and then later when he owns her.
  • Stealth Pun: The Ambiguously Gay Leonardo da Vinci is Danielle's Fairy Godmother.
  • Talk to the Fist: While trying on Danielle's mother's dress, Marguerite harshly reminds Danielle that she's dead when she confronts them. Danielle gets really pissed and decks Marguerite.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Rodmilla gives this to Danielle as punishment for punching Marguerite. We do not see the lashing take place, thankfully, instead it cuts to a touching scene of Jacqueline treating her wounds.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Jacqueline catching Laurent's eye at the ball. It's especially satisfying because it has already been established that Laurent is a Nice Guy and Jacqueline is a Nice Girl.
  • Timeshifted Actor: Danielle, Marguerite, Jacqueline, and Gustave are played by different actors before the time skip. Justified since they're all children at this point.
  • Time Skip: We don't see anything between the father's death and Danielle's eighteenth year, a jump of ten years.
  • Tomboy: Danielle
  • Troubled Abuser: It's implied that Rodmilla's own mother was an abusive perfectionist, and there's no doubt that her second husband turning away from her to look at his daughter in his final moments hurt her deeply. This goes a long way toward explaining her ruthless ambition and cruelty toward Danielle (and, to a lesser extent, toward Jacqueline), though it doesn't excuse any of it.
    Rodmilla: My mother was hard on me too, you know. She taught me that cleanliness was close to godliness. She forced me to wash my face at least twenty times a day, convinced it was never clean enough. But I was very grateful to her. She wanted me to be all that I could be. And here I am... a baroness. And Marguerite shall be queen.
  • Truth in Television: While this movie is infamous for its historical inaccuracies (but then again, this is a fairy tale they're retelling), they did get a few things right. Francis I was a huge Italiophile, and spent much of his reign and resources trying to get his hands on the city of Milan. As a result, he incorporated many Italian characteristics into his court, including fashion (which would explain the Italian fashions in the movie, even if they would have been at least a decade out of style) and art (Leonardo da Vinci really did spend his last few years in France, which is how many of his works ended up in the palace known as the Louvre).
  • Twice-Told Tale: Cinderella, obviously.
  • The Un-Favourite: Of Rodmilla's two daughters, Jacqueline is obviously not as dear to her mother as Marguerite is. And then there's Danielle, whom the Baroness quite clearly doesn't care about in any kind of motherly way at all.
  • Verbal Backspace: During a heart-to-heart, Rodmilla affectionately observes that Danielle is so much like her father. When Danielle lights up she then catches herself, and tries to cover it up by claiming she meant that her features are very masculine, and she was raised by a man.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Part of the reason why Danielle puts up with Rodmilla as long as she does is the hope of receiving any scrap of maternal affection from her. Shown best when Danielle lights up a bit when Rodmilla has a near Pet the Dog moment with her. As she points out later, "You are the only mother I have ever known."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Marguerite and Jacqueline's father is evidently deceased prior to the movie, but who's running the barony of Ghent? It may be that Rodmilla de Ghent is the Baroness in her own right, considering that the Queen stripped her of it and there would be no point in stripping a dowager of her title.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Leonardo's speech to Henry after he rejects Danielle is pretty epic. May also count as a Precision F-Strike - although the actual f-bomb is not dropped, this is the only real instance of profanity in the movie, and leaves both Henry and the audience somewhat stunned.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Zigzagged. There are plenty of moments, but it's not with the hero, it's with Marguerite and Rodmilla. Every time, they prove again and again that, in the dark, they'll take every advantage to get ahead in life. For example, with the help of a bribed footman, they trick the Queen into thinking she lost a jewel she "didn't remember putting on that morning".
    • An example that crosses the Moral Event Horizon: To get her mother's glass slippers, Marguerite threatens Danielle that she'll burn her book if she doesn't hand them over. Even though she gives up the slippers, Marguerite still burns the book, and Rodmilla holds back Danielle from salvaging it. It's later revealed to be the Prince's copy of Utopia, not Danielle's. All in all, their actions are still reprehensible and second-hand indicate that given a chance, they would do horrible things if it meant actively hurting Danielle.
    • In a heroic example, when Henry runs across a caravan being robbed by a band of Gypsies, he initially tries to ride by, since a regiment of the Royal Guard is right behind him and he knows they'll deal with it. But when one of the travelers begs Henry to stop a man who's fleeing with an item of great personal importance to him, Henry does so, even knowing he'll likely be caught and hauled back to the palace because of it. He is, but he agrees to go along quietly in exchange for being allowed to return the stolen property — which turns out to be the Mona Lisa — to its owner.
  • White Sheep: Jacqueline is the only nice member of her birth family. One has to wonder how she turned out as well as she did, all things considered.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Wouldn't be a Cinderella retelling without one, would it?
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In order for Danielle to be the Grande Dame's great great grandmother, the story would have to be set in the 17th century at the earliest, rather than right at the beginning of the 16th. note 
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Danielle goes to the masquerade ball to attempt to tell Henry who she truly is. Unfortunately, Rodmilla immediately seizes the chance to tell him herself, humiliating Danielle in front of the entire French court and causing Henry to coldly reject her.
  • You Are Grounded!: As punishment for trying to run away (again), King Francis tells Henry that he's not allowed to leave the castle grounds, much to Henry's annoyance.
  • You Know What You Did: After rescuing Maurice, Danielle goes in and finds Rodmilla pacing. Marguerite and Jacqueline are playing a game at the table.
    Marguerite: Somebody's in trouble...
    Danielle: What do you mean?
    [Rodmilla grabs Danielle by the arm and throws her into a nearby chair.]
    Rodmilla: You stupid, stupid girl. How dare you do this to me, to Marguerite? Why, the whole thing makes me sick! It's deceitfulness, Danielle, and I will not have it in this house.
    Danielle: What did I do?
    Marguerite: Think, Danielle. Think really hard.
    [Danielle glances at Jacqueline, who makes a motion with her hands while mouthing "the horse". She stops as Marguerite gives her a sharp look.]
    Danielle: Prince Henry stole our horse this morning.
    Rodmilla: Yes, and that would explain why he returned it this afternoon. How dare you let him surprise us like that!
    Danielle: I'm sorry...
    Rodmilla: Luckily for you, Marguerite turned in a beautiful performance. She and the prince had quite an interlude.
    Marguerite: Yes, I shouldn't be surprised if he drops by again.