Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Barbie: Princess Charm School

Go To
You can tell she's a princess
She doesn't need a crown
You can tell she's a princess
She'll turn the world around

'Barbie: Princess Charm School is a Direct to Video movie released by Mattel in 2011. It is preceded by Barbie: A Fairy Secret and followed by Barbie: A Perfect Christmas.

Barbie plays Blair Willows, a lowly waitress in the kingdom of Gardania, trying to get money for her sick adoptive mother. When her adoptive sister Emily placed her name in a lottery, Blair didn't expect to be a student at Princess Charm School, a school dedicated to teaching rich girls to be princesses and ladies royal.

Blair decides to go into the school in hope of getting the status of lady royal to help her family. However, she is humiliated from time to time. When Dame Devin suspects Blair looks a lot like the kingdom's missing princess, she goes out of her way to keep her from taking the throne to ensure her daughter Delancy becomes the new ruler of the kingdom in place of the late royal family. Blair soon realizes she might be the lost princess Sophia, and she and her friends begin an adventure to get the Gardenia Crown.


Barbie: Princess Charm School provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Dame Devin's a borderline example, calling her daughter a "useless child". Dame Devin seems to be so domineering over her daughter that Delancy really has no choice but to say yes. It's implied that Dame Devin's trying to live her dream of being a princess through her daughter, if not outright making Delancy into her puppet queen.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Subverted; only the fairy was small enough to crawl in, and she failed because of the ventilator at the end.
  • Alpha Bitch: Delancy, at first. The reason she was this was because Blair is the long-lost princess Sophia, and she's the true heir to the throne, and was mean to her for the sake of not wanting her to steal her title.
  • Arc Words: "Every girl has princess potential."
  • Advertisement:
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The students of Princess Charm School are all crowned the princesses and Lady Royals of their kingdom at the end of the year during the graduation ceremony. Blair gets one herself when Delancy gives the crown to its true owner, allowing the crown to recognize Blair as Princess Sophia.
  • Big Bad: Dame Devin, who suspects of Blair's true heritage and will do whatever she can to stop her from taking the throne in place of Delancy.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Blair, Hadley and Isla disrupting Delancy's coronation just in time for Blair to announce that is her crown, not Delancy's, and she's the true heir to the throne.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Blair shouts, "WAIT!" to stop the coronation and announce she's the real heir to the throne.
  • Blue Blood: Only rich girls can attend the school. "Commoners" can get in through a lottery, and only once.
  • Book on the Head: Delancy manage to walk with about twenty books. On the other hand, Blair has difficulties with carrying only one and finally falls on her classmates.
    • Later, Headmistress Privet exaggerates the trope while, in private lessons for Blair, she teaches the girl how to carry a dozen books on the head. While standing on one foot. With a flower vase in each hand.
  • Call-Forward: At the graduation ceremony, the student Josette is crowned Lady Royal of her kingdom Zinnia, which will be the home world of Princess Alexa in Barbie and the Secret Door.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Hadley's ability in sports allows her to cross the Laser Hallway quickly, and Isla's talent for music is what releases the three girls at the very end; when she guesses the new code of the door from the buttons's sounds.
  • Classical Music Is Boring: The dance class in couple starts with classical music, but Delancy suddenly makes Blair trip. In order to cover it, Prince Nicholas, Blair's partner, suddenly switch the moves for a much more modern dance. Everybody (but Delancy) soon imitates him, and strangely the background music changes accordingly, becoming a techno version of the tune. One of the princes even starts breakdancing.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Portia, to the point even Dame Devin doesn't bother to correct Portia when the latter holds the book over her head instead of balancing it on her head; Devin just says, "You're doing fine," and moves on, rolling her eyes.
  • Complexity Addiction: Dame Devin didn’t have to arrange ways Blair to leave the school like accusing her of stealing and raising the fire alarm. She should’ve just let her be a Lady Royal because that is what Blair wanted and just find subtle ways Blair won’t learn the truth like she’s an Identical Stranger. Because of Dame Devin’s actions, Blair and her friends (and then even Delancy) became suspicious.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Blair almost leaves Princess Charm School upon being humiliated so much, but Miss Privet's confidence in her encourages her to stay.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It just so happens that Delancy picked Blair's name and then the princess Sophia just turned up as a commoner, Blair Willows.
  • Cool Crown: Of course the dresses have matching tiaras, with jeweled heart ones for the princesses and generic flower headdresses for Lady Royals. The royal crown of Gardania, on the other hand, is the most important of them all; it is to be worn by the heir to the throne, and glows when placed on the head of its rightful owner.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the DVD cover and its summary, Delancy is described as one of Blair's good friends, and Isla is nowhere to be seen. See Toyless Toyline Character below.
  • Custom Uniform: Just after Blair's, Hadley's and Isla's uniforms are torn apart by Delancy, their fairy companions use the leftover material to stitch new uniforms for them in their theme colors. Delancy also gets one herself following her Heel Realization.
  • Damsel out of Distress: The three heroines locked in a strong room immediately try strength, technology and finally intelligence to run away. It works.
  • Dance of Romance: Happens twice. One is at a class and the other at the end of the movie. Note that the scenes have different music playing.
  • Dance Party Ending: The movie ends on this, set to the song Isla plays at the after-party.
  • Disappeared Dad: We never see or hear about Delancy's dad—we also never hear about Blair and her sister, Emily, having an adoptive father (although it is entirely possible that Ms. Willows adopted Blair and Emily as a single parent).
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: To distract the coronation so Blair and her trio can arrive in time to reclaim the crown, Delancy makes everyone spin around seven times in honor of the "Seven Hills of Gardania".
  • Fairy Companion: All the PCS-students have a "personal princess assistant" in the form of pixie sprites who resemble their princesses (or lady royals) when it comes to their interests/personalities.
    • Blair's sprite is a pink one named Grace and is a bit of klutz, but ultimately very helpful, supportive and a good friend.
    • Hadley's sprite is a turquoise one named Caprice and she's sporty/athletic like Hadley is.
    • Isla's sprite is a blue one named Harmony, which doubles as a Meaningful Name because the definition of the name is "the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions with a pleasing effect," reflecting Isla's love and passion for creating music.
    • Delancy's sprite is a green one named Wickellia, which also doubles as a Meaningful Name since the sprite is mean like the student she assists (at least until Delancey reforms).
  • Fictional Country: The kingdom of Gardenia. Blair inherits it at the end.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Dame Devin is quietly shocked when she gets a look at Blair's face during the posture lesson. This is because the late Queen Isabella looks like Blair in her youth, foreshadowing Blair is the baby Sophia who survived the car crash.
    • When our heroines need to escape Dame Devin's trap, what's the code they use to open the door? The date that Blair's biological parents, King Reginald and Queen Isabella, died, and the day the baby Sophia was left on someone's doorstep—also known as "the day it all came together". Rather telling, no?
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: During the dinner scene at the palace, Headmistress Privet reminds students they must begin with forks which are the most on the outside.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: Delancy has to pick whether to give the crown to Dame Devin so she can crown her, or to Blair, the crown's true owner; she chooses the latter, which reveals her as the kingdom's missing princess Sophia.
  • Gem-Encrusted: The bodices on the dresses at the end look like the front was cut out of huge gemstones.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Queen Isabella looks exactly like her daughter, Blair Willows/Sophia when they were PCS-students.
    • Dame Devin and her daughter Delancy look a lot alike. However, they have opposite views. While Dame Devin actually killed her own relatives and in-laws, Delancy realizes how much her own mother kept so many secrets from her. She initially believed that her mother is only trying to get rid of Blair because of her lack of...well...everything. But when she overheard Blair and her friends' conversation about the legend and connecting it with the past, she tries to do what is right.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: The dresses at the end have gold trimmings, and the tiaras are mostly gold.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: The royal crown give Blair a new dress.
  • Happily Adopted: Blair embraces her family when she was crowned Princess. She loves her family so much she is willing to go to Princess Charm School just for the money needed for her mother and sister. Her little sister Emily is also adopted as stated by Blair when opening Emily's care package.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Delancy has hers when she overhears Blair learning about her (potential) true nature as the lost princess, and the true heir to the throne, and helps Blair and her two best friends reclaim the crown by graduation so she can reveal the truth.
  • Hidden Depths: It's revealed that Delancy only wants to do what is right especially when she learns the truth.
  • Honorary Princess: Discussed by Emily, in her Princess Phase, who assure that Blair would do perfectly in the Royal School. Also the first song, "You can tell she's a princess", that pretty much describes the trope. Even if Blair turn out to be the lost princess Sophia, the legitimate heir to the throne.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Several of these occur throughout the movie.
  • Irony: Blair wins the lottery and gets to go to the titular Royal School, yet it’s eventually revealed she was a princess all along.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Years ago, the royal family of Gardania was killed in a car crash; however, the baby Sophia survived and ended up at the doorstep to the Willows' apartment, where they raised her and named her "Blair".
  • Laser Hallway: The girls have to cross one at one point.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: Classes in this school are mostly this.
  • Letting Her Hair Down:
    • When Blair is introduced, she has her hair in a Prim and Proper Bun. When she changes into her school uniform, her hair falls, but has a small ponytail left on the side. When she is revealed to be Princess Sophia near the end, her hair falls entirely loose with wavy curls.
    • Delancy wears a bun when she is introduced, but by the coronation she lets it down with curls, which shows her Heel–Face Turn.
    • As do Hadley and Isla, though for party use.
  • Lost Orphaned Royalty: Blair, which leads to the question why Dame Devin didn't actively searched for baby princess Sophia years ago, in order to avoid the trope.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Gardania's Magical Crown can only be used by its true rightful owner; it was thought to be Delancey until Blair is revealed to be the baby Sophia of the royal family, and the only one who survived the car crash, making her the true owner of it. Once the crown is placed on Blair's head, it glows intensely and changes her to look like a real princess, confirming Blair is the true heir to the throne.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Done by everyone in the throne room, and Ms. Willows and Emily watching the TV, when Blair arrives to reclaim her crown and announce her true heritage as Princess Sophia. And they get an even bigger one when Dame Devin accidentally admits she murdered the royal family.
  • Meaningful Name: The name "Devin" has many meanings, specifically "fawn" or "poet", but it also sounds a lot like "devine", specifically matching Dame Devin and Delancy's outlook.
  • Mother Makes You King: Dame Devin, in part of her Stage Mom, seemed to want to place Delacey as the heir and eventual ruler. She doesn't seem to want to be Queen Dowager unless she was a Regent for Life after the king, queen, and princess died.
  • Multinational Team: Many of the characters are different nationalities/ethnicities.
    • Blair is American/European.
    • Hadley is Latina.
    • Isla is Japanese.
    • Portia is Irish/Scottish.
    • Josette is black.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Blair, Hadley and Isla (the twins from the Twelve Dancing Princesses) aren't the first princesses to be named as such.
      • Queen Isabella was also the mother of the twelve princesses.
    • Also that nutcracker doll Blair finds in the strong room.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Dame Devin comes within two seconds of having her daughter crowned, but Blair arrives last-minute to reclaim it.
  • Never Say "Die": Zig-zagged; while the movie has no problem stating that the royal family died, when it's revealed that Dame Devin was the one who killed them, she merely claims that she "eliminated" them.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In the first trailer, Delancey is described as one of Blair's good friends, and Isla is nowhere to be seen.
  • Not Quite Dead: When the Royal Family was murdered in a car crash, it turns out the baby Sophia survived, and was found on the doorstep of Ms. Willows’ apartment. She turns out to be Blair herself.
  • Oh, Crap!: Dame Devin gets one the moment she first sees Blair's face, thinking the missing princess is right before her. She has an even bigger one when Blair is crowned instead of Delancy, and she is revealed to be the missing princess in front of the whole crowd.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Gardania's magic crown can only be given to the rightful heir of the throne; its glowing when placed on said owner's head will confirm this. It glows when placed on Blair's head, confirming she is indeed the owner.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies exist at Princess Charm School, and act as Personal Princess Trainers to the students.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The dresses at the end with gold trimming and jewel bodices.
  • Pottery Barn Poor: If it wasn't for the malfunctioning TV, the Willow's apartment look pretty nice. It's vast, clean, with pretty pink and flowered furniture.
  • Power Glows: Gardania's Magical Crown glows when placed on the head of its rightful ruler. This is shown in the climax when Delancey, instead of giving the crown to Dame Devin so she can crown her, she gives it to Blair instead, causing the crown to glow because Blair is the owner.
  • Princess Phase: Emily is so firmly in the phase that, being too young to register in the princess school, she did it for her big sister instead. It works.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Blair's fancy dress is pink. Her Custom Uniform is of that color too; and regular uniforms include pink skirts and pumps.
  • Princesses Rule: Gardenia is a kingdom, as late monarch Isabella (Blair's biological mother) was called a queen. Still, Delancy is supposed to sit on the throne while being called a princess. When finally Blair is crowned instead of her, she is referred to as a princess rather than a queen by everyone, certainly to fit the movie's title.
  • Punny Name:
    • Portia comes from the kingdom of Narcissia.
    • Gardania is an obvious take-off of the gardenia.
  • Race Against the Clock: The last third of the film becomes this for Blair as she has to get to the ballroom and reclaim her crown before Delancey becomes the ruler.
  • Rags to Royalty: The Sleeping Beauty type.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The graduates of Prince Charming Academy had no problem wearing pink vests and ties at graduation.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Blair starts to suspect it when she and her friends notice her physical resemblance with late Queen Isabella's portrait. However, only the magical crown will confirm this, while shining on Blair's head, revealing her as the rightful heir of the throne.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Headmistress Alexandra Privet. She tutors Blair when her royal lessons keep faltering on her, and accepts her for who she is. She's also proud of her when she was revealed as the lost princess.
  • Red Herring: Delancey was originally thought to be the heir to the throne, but in reality, it's Blair who's the heir, because she's the only survivor of the royal family after they got murdered in the car crash.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Once you find out that Blair is the rightful hair to the throne and not Delancy, everything in the movie takes on a whole new meaning.
  • Royal School: The movie revolve around this trope, and yet subvert it in many ways. The academy is a high school, and the setting is Present Day, although each student have a Fairy Companion. They wear mundane uniforms, ball dresses being for the coronation day. The school isn't princesses-only, a good portion of students are ladies royal in training.note 
  • Scholarship Student: Dame Devin and her daughter frequently remind Blair she's only this. Ironically, Dame Devin herself was this when she was a PCS-student—according to Isla and Hadley (Blair's friends/roommates), even though Dame Devin managed to pass the semester, no one chose as a lady royal, not even her sister-in-law, Queen Isabella.
  • Significant Birth Date: Blair claims her birthday, which is also the day she was found on Ms. Willows' doorstep, was April 26; turns out this was the day the royal family got murdered in the car crash and the baby Sophia ended up on the doorstep the same way, pinpointing her in about her true identity.
  • Sole Survivor: The only member of the royal family who was not killed in the car crash was the baby Sophia, who escaped and ended up on the doorstep of the Willows' apartment, where she was adopted and renamed to Blair.
  • Spear Counterpart: Prince Charming Academy is the brother school to PCS.
  • Stranger in a Strange School: Blair compares herself to "a burp in a symphony." However not only she'll finally manage to blend in with her own efforts, but it turn out she belonged to the place from birth.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The late Queen Isabella looks exactly like Blair in her youth, which is the first clue that Blair is the missing Princess Sophia.
  • Stunned Silence: The moment Dame Devin first gets a good look at Blair's face, she is silently stunned for about thirty seconds, which confuses Blair. As it soon turns out, the baby Sophia didn't die in the car crash — she is indeed right in front of her and the true heir has returned.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: When Blair, Isla and Hadley leave their table after lunch in the cafeteria scene, their plates are still completely full.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Isla. Her role in the movie was intended for Delancey when dolls were created before the scenario, then she was changed into the Alpha Bitch and Isla appeared.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers and DVD cover spoil the revelation that Blair is the missing princess.
  • Transformation Sequence: For the sake of Merchandise-Driven and Rule of Glamorous, Blair transforms into Princess "Sophia" at the end once Delancey gives the crown to her.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Dame Devin, for being one of the few characters in a Barbie movie to have actually murdered someone.
  • We Need a Distraction: Delancy constantly distracts the coronation with various mundane yet important rules in the kingdom book to give Blair and her friends time to arrive and reclaim her crown.
  • Wham Line:
    • Hadley realizes Blair is the lost Princess Sophia:
      Hadley: I'm thinking maybe Baby Sophia didn't die in that crash. Maybe she was found and left on someone's doorstep! [...] Look at the portrait, you look exactly like Queen Isabella! You could be Baby Sophia! If it's true, and Dame Devin and Delancy know it, that would explain why they're so awful to you! Because you're the rightful heir to the throne, and not Delancy!
    • Blair reveals her true identity to the crowd:
      Blair: I am here to make a decree to the throne because... I am Princess Sophia! Daughter of Queen Isabella!
    • Dame Devin reveals she was the one who murdered the queen:
      Dame Devin: You useless child! Do you have any idea what you've done?! I eliminated Queen Isabella so you could be princess one day!!
  • Wham Shot: Quite a few. First, there’s the portrait of young Queen Isabella, who is the splitting image of Blair, prompting her to realize she’s the lost princess Sophia who survived in the car crash). Second, when Delancy gives the crown to Blair instead of Dame Devin, the crown glows once placed on her head, revealing she’s the rightful owner and transforms into her true form following such.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Miss Privet to Blair throughout the movie, also Hadley and Isla and her sister Emily.

There’s a princess in every girl.

Barbie Princess Charm School

The main trio consists of Blair Willows (white), Hadley Ainsley (Latina), and Isla Kokoro (Japanese).

How well does it match the trope?

2.17 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TokenTrio

Media sources: