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    There Are 15 Christmas Prince Movies And I Watched Them All

    It's a whole genre.

    UPDATE

    This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to include 2018 releases.

    Like so many people last holiday season, I watched and fell in love with the terrible masterpiece that is Netflix's A Christmas Prince. Naturally, when I discovered there were other royalty-themed Christmas movies with basically the same plot, I had to watch them ALL.

    Netflix / Hallmark / Lifetime / Ion

    And because I'm generous (or, you know, wanted to feel semi-productive while watching all these trash movies), I decided to rank them. Like all good rankings, this is, of course, completely subjective – not an indication of which movies are better (objectively, they are all bad), but rather which ones I enjoyed the most. So grab some eggnog and figgy pudding (whatever that is), and get ready to become an expert on royal Christmas movies without having to sacrifice 20+ hours of your life to them (unless you want to, of course, which I would completely support tbh, because this was a lot of fun).

    15. A Christmas In Royal Fashion (ION, 2018)

    ION

    What it's about: Kristin (Cindy Busby) is an executive assistant to a demanding PR executive. When Prince Patrick of Edgemoor (Diarmaid Murtagh) appears to enlist Kristin's boss's help for some royal charity fashion show, Kristin pretends to be her boss for...reasons. They fall for each other, the lie causes drama, etc etc.

    My thoughts: Ooft. I almost didn't make it through this one. In fact, the only thing stopping me from turning it off was the knowledge I would be writing about it. This movie is utterly devoid of charisma, charm, chemistry...basically any of the "ch" words that are all-important in a cheesy royal romance. There was barely even any Christmas! I did not care about a single character or event in this whole thing. A MESS.

    Rating: 0/10

    14. A Royal Christmas Ball (ION, 2017)

    Ion

    What it's about: King Charles (Ingo Rademacher) of Baltania's wife has died, but it's OK because he didn't love her that much anyway. In his heart he still pines for his college sweetheart, Allison (Tara Reid), who didn't know he was royalty as he was studying in America under a fake identity. Meanwhile, Allison has secrets of her own – like the child (Haley Pullos) she conceived with Charles the night before he abandoned her 17 years ago.

    My thoughts: You guys, this movie has so much. Secret identities! Secret bastards! Tara Reid! It should be a lot of fun. But there's a very, very fine line between so-bad-it's-good and just plain bad, and unfortunately this one falls heavily on the latter side. For one, it's set in Hollywood, and both the royalty and Christmassy vibes you come to these movies for are dialled way down (and super tacky when they do appear – I'm talking obviously plastic crowns, folks). Meanwhile, the acting is distractingly awful, and bless Tara Reid, but she has zero chemistry with old mate Ingo (who you might recognise from General Hospital and The Bold and the Beautiful). I'd compare them to two blocks of wood, but at least when you rub sticks together you get a spark. If the movie focused more on Lily, Allison and Charles' illegitimate daughter, it probably would have been a lot more entertaining (like What a Girl Wants, but Christmas!). As it is, the stale romance makes for pretty uncomfortable viewing.

    Rating: 1/10

    13. My Christmas Prince (Lifetime, 2017)

    Lifetime

    What it's about: Not to be confused with A Christmas Prince, this is about an ordinary blonde who lives in New York and falls in love with a handsome, British-sounding brunette prince. But the twist is, Samantha (Alexis Knapp) and Alex (Callum Alexander) have been dating for a year, and she doesn't know he's a prince. She thinks he's a lowly diplomat! But on a trip to her hometown for Christmas, Samantha learns the truth when an old classmate turns out to be a royal watcher and recognises Alex as Prince Alexander of Maldovia. Hijinks ensue!

    My thoughts: So I liked the fact that Samantha and Alex's relationship was well-established and, unlike a lot of these movies, they didn't fall in love in a matter of days. But that's about all this couple had going for them. I mean, look at that photo above. See that beige wall they're standing in front of? Yeah, that about sums up their relationship. They both looked kind of dead behind the eyes throughout the whole thing. And the setting of Generic Small Town USA wasn't my fave – I came for CASTLES, dammit! However, I was pretty excited when Mr Sheffield from The Nanny turned up as Alex's dad.


    Rating:
    3/10

    12. Christmas with a Prince (UPtv, 2018)

    UPTV

    What it's about: Tasha (Kaitlyn Leeb) is a busy paediatrician whose world is turned upside down when a guy from her past shows up in her ward. That guy is Prince Alexander Cavalieri (Nick Hounslow) of an unspecified (but appropriately British-sounding) country, who has broken his leg and is being treated in the children's ward for, uh, privacy? The sick kids turn out to be great props for teaching Alex a thing or two and also making him seem super hot to Tasha.

    My thoughts: I respected this movie for trying something different with the genre. The hospital setting was unique (although again, not what we're here for) and the doctor/patient angle is fresh. It's a shame it's squandered on a couple with zero chemistry. Kaitlyn Leeb had more sparks with the guy playing her brother...so, yeah, that was awkward. Also, the costumes were TERRIBLE. The movie does get points for being one of the few holiday romances with an actual non-white lead though. Oh, and Mr Sheffield from The Nanny is Alex's dad in this movie, too. Just to make things super confusing for us all.

    Rating: 3/10

    11. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (Netflix, 2018)

    Netflix

    What it's about: Picking up a year after A Christmas Prince, Amber (Rose McIver) heads to Aldovia for her wedding to King Richard (Ben Lamb). Unfortunately her wedding plans are hijacked by an overzealous wedding planner, while Richard doesn't have time for her since he's busy, you know, being king and all. Amber isn't happy; can her ~excellent~ journalistic instincts save her big day – not to mention the entire country??!

    My thoughts: I was soooo excited for this movie, which perhaps set me up for disappointment. But, like, whoever decided to make this movie less about romance and more about the failed economic policy of Aldovia messed up big time. I literally fell asleep in the middle of the movie, it was so boring. Cousin Simon was the best part of the whole thing! There was more screentime for Princess Emily's budding romance with some random guy from her school than there was for Amber and Richard. And don't even get me started on that incredibly underwhelming wedding dress.

    Rating: 3/10

    10. A Prince For Christmas (ION, 2015)

    ION

    What it's about: An ordinary blonde from a small town falls in love with a British-sounding brunette prince. See, Prince Duncan of Balemont (Kirk Barker) is trying to escape a marriage to a complete stranger, so he runs away from his vaguely European country to America, where his car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and he meets and falls for another complete stranger – our heroine, Emma (Viva Bianca). He hides the fact he's a prince, of course, and Emma's precocious teen sister (who she's raising because their parents died a few years back – ON CHRISTMAS, of course) does a spot of matchmaking, until the truth blows up in all their faces. Will Duncan be able to make it up to Emma?! OF COURSE.

    My thoughts: The best way to explain how I felt about this movie is to give you a peek into the notes I took while watching it. Here are some of the highlights:

    -this is some soap opera acting

    -Rex Manning and Kelly LeBrock are the king and queen?!?!?!

    -he ran away through a book shelf

    -he’s mansplaining her own diner to her?

    -SHE'S teaching HIM how to play pool, what a twist

    -now the teen is cock-blocking

    -omg he’s fallen in love when they’ve been on three dates

    -bad bad bad dialogue

    -very, very bland couple

    So yeah. That about sums it up. I was honestly a bit bored through this one. And there were NOT ENOUGH CASTLES.

    Rating: 4/10

    9. Crown For Christmas (Hallmark, 2015)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: This one really switches things up because the WOMAN is brunette and the man is blonde. Talk about a twist on the formula. This one also features a king, not a prince – King Maximillian of Winshire (Rupert Penry-Jones), to be exact. He bumps into Allie (Danica McKellar), a maid at the hotel he's staying at, and in a series of fortunate events, she winds up as the governess to his daughter. Naturally, she helps the grumpy widowed king reconnect with his precocious young daughter, and manages to win both their hearts along the way (spoilers, I guess, except duh).

    My thoughts: This is literally The Sound of Music, except with more royalty, less kids, and no singing. It was a lot of fun – all the requisite scenes were there, including baking, tree-decorating, snowball fights, horse rides, Christmas ball makeovers etc etc etc. Rupert Penry-Jones is a total dreamboat (I've had a thing for him ever since he played Captain Wentworth in Persuasion), although his character here didn't have a lot of personality beyond "sad king". Plus it didn't feel like he interacted with adult Winnie Cooper enough for them to build an actual connection – which is really saying something, considering most of these movies involve people getting engaged after approximately three days. But look, I wouldn't say no to watching this again.

    Rating: 5/10

    8. Once Upon A Holiday (Hallmark, 2015)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: This movie is truly a fresh take on the formula, considering the fact that not only are BOTH the leads brunette, but this time the woman is the royalty! That's right, our girl Katie (Briana Evigan) is princess of Montsaurai, and while on a trip to New York she runs away from her royal obligations to live like a normal woman for a few short days – with the help of a charming, flannel-wearing handyman named Jack (Paul Campbell), of course.

    My thoughts: Yeah, this one is Roman Holiday, but Christmas! I have to say that while NONE of these movies have plots that make sense, this one definitely made the least – like, Katie had this aunt who was basically her personal assistant and nagged her about her responsibilities as a princess – but said aunt, as the sister of the king, should have been a princess herself?! And the king and queen are dead, but Katie is still just a princess, so no one is actually ruling Montsaurai I guess? And Katie is so obsessed with Christmas in New York because she thinks it's magical, but Montsaurai is literally a Christmas village?! And Katie inexplicably has an American accent (come on, we all know vaguely European royalty should sound British!)?! Anyway, I had a lot of questions watching this. But I cackled with glee at several scenes, including one where a bunch of Santas tried to create a diversion so Katie and Jack can get five minutes of alone time. I really enjoyed the gender-flipped plot, plus the main couple had a bit of chemistry, which is always nice.

    Rating: 6/10

    7. A Royal Winter (Hallmark, 2017)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: Maggie (Merritt Patterson) gets dragged along by her token black friend on a European holiday to Calpurnia, where she bumps into a charming guy with a British accent named Adrian (Jack Donnelly) who rides a motorbike, does magic tricks and, oh yeah, turns out to be the prince! Surprise! After some googling, Maggie discovers he has a playboy reputation, but Adrian proves to her he's REALLY got a kind heart and no commitment issues at all. He does have some daddy issues, though.

    My thoughts: OK, I took A LOT of notes while watching this one. A key selection:

    -OK the prince is very handsome

    -Her Majesty texts!

    -“what happens in Calpurnia stays in Calpurnia”

    -omg he came back and stole her hat he totally has a boner for her

    -HE STOLE HER WATCH WITH MAGIC

    -“Assembled members… sounds like something out of Frankenstein

    -he's a WOKE prince

    -he spent most of his trust setting up foundation for children from low income families to… play volleyball?

    -oh they ALSO do choir practice hahahah because “some of the kids aren’t into sports”

    -they’ve been on at least three dates

    -four dates

    -FIVE dates!

    -OH ROYAL HIJINKS!

    -where is Christmas tho

    -oh shit it's just Christmas-adjacent

    -NOW THAT IS A MAKEOVER

    OK, so as you can see, I realised midway through that this is NOT technically a Christmas movie, because I'm pretty sure it's set in January. But it has the exact same look and feel as the other Christmas movies, what with all the snow and fake European town-ness and the strong magic vibe happening. SO I'M CHEATING AND STILL INCLUDING IT. Because I kind of loved it? Unfortunately, it loses points for the lack of Christmas trees.

    Rating: 7/10

    6. A Royal New Year's Eve (Hallmark, 2017)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: Caitlyn (Jessy Schram) is a magazine assistant with dreams of being a fashion designer. She's assigned to help plan a New Year's Eve ball with Prince Jeffrey (Sam Page) while simultaneously designing a gown for his soon-to-be fiancé Lady Isabelle. Naturally, things get very complicated when Caitlyn and Jeffrey begin to develop feelings for each other.

    My thoughts: Before you come @ me, no, this isn't technically a Christmas movie either, with New Year's Eve right there in the title and everything. But it's set over the Christmas period, and there are trees and decorations everywhere, so it still totally counts. Which is a good thing, because I really liked it. The leads have decent chemistry – Jessy Schram is charming, and I'm frankly a total sucker for Sam Page, even if his accent is truly frightening here. The costumes are even pretty good in the context of the genre, too. All in all, a solid entry!

    Rating: 7/10

    5. Christmas at the Palace (Hallmark, 2018)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: Katie (Merritt Patterson, again!) is a former pro figure skater visiting San Senova who stumbles into a job coaching the young princess, Patricia, for a Christmas ice skating show. She butts heads with the king, Alexander (Andrew Cooper), who has been dubbed the "Grinch King" because of his hatred of Christmas. Except he doesn't REALLY hate Christmas, he has just been left broken-hearted by his wife's death. If only someone would skate on in to heal his heart and teach him to love Christmas...and other things... again...

    My thoughts: A holiday romance with ice skating AND a hot single dad? Now you're talking my language, Hallmark. I enjoyed this movie a lot, and Andrew Coopers gravelly voice was only, like, 70% of the reason why. There was good chemistry, a suitably Christmassy palace, and lots of totally adorable moments to allow the two leads to bond. There was even a sweet little side-romance between Katie's friend Jessica and Alex's assistant Nicholas. Fun!

    Rating: 8/10

    4. A Princess For Christmas (Hallmark, 2011)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: Jules (Katie McGrath) is a regular gal from Buffalo, New York, who is raising her niece and nephew after her sister and brother-in-law died in an accident. She loses her job and is in a desperate financial situation when the kids' grandfather (Roger Moore) on their dad's side remembers they exist and invites them to Castlebury for Christmas. Yep, he's a duke! And his son Ashton (Sam Heughan) is a prince ("on his mother's side")! Who is ready to fall in love with Jules, naturally, and it's OK THEY AREN'T RELATED because the movie explicitly says so at least twice.

    My thoughts: Oh my god, this cast. Roger Moore! Morgana from Merlin! JAMIE FUCKING FRASER from Outlander! I was so, so ready to love this. AND I DID. Except not quite as much as I'd hoped. Because for two such good looking, charismatic people, Katie and Sam sadly did not have a lot of chemistry. Like Crown for Christmas, there was too much time spent on precocious children and not enough time on building the actual romance. Jules has the weirdest accent (it definitely doesn't sound American), the location of Castlebury and whether it's an actual country or a province or just a damn building is confusing AF, and the royal line of succession is a complete blur. But there's a scene where Sam Heughan dances like an absolute dork and it's honestly one of the greatest pieces of cinema I've ever seen.

    Rating: 8/10

    3. A Royal Christmas (Hallmark, 2014)

    Hallmark

    What it's about: Emily (Lacey Chabert) and Leo (Stephen Hagan) have been dating for a year when she discovers he's... you guessed it, secretly a prince! Of a totally real country called Cardinia! He takes her home for Christmas and it's all completely normal, except of course his mother, THE QUEEN (Jane Seymour), wants to break them up so her dear boy can marry some posh duchess. You know, just regular family stuff.

    My thoughts: I'm not sure if I've just watched too many of these things (I mean, I definitely have), but I want to say this one was almost... good? Like, the main couple are actually pretty damn charming (excerpt from my notes: "THEY’RE ADORABLE!!!") and the fact they didn't just meet, but have been dating a long time, makes it feel SLIGHTLY more plausible. And Emily stands up for herself and is kind of great. Like, the way she handles everything feels pretty realistic and relatable (in the context of this totally batshit genre). It doesn't hurt that she's played by the iconic Lacey Chabert, who is apparently now the queen of Christmas romances.

    Rating: 10/10

    2. The Princess Switch (Netflix, 2018)

    Netflix

    What it's about: Vanessa Hudgens apparently loves Christmas so much she plays not one but TWO roles in this movie – ordinary Chicago baker Stacy De Novo and duchess of Montsaurai Margaret Delacourt. Stacy travels to Belgravia for a baking competition with her best friend Kevin (Nick Sagar) and his daughter in tow. There, she literally bumps into Margaret, who immediately seizes the opportunity to take a break from her royal duties in the lead up to her wedding to Prince Edward (Sam Palladio). The two switch places, making for much comedy – and romance.

    My thoughts: This movie not only has it all, it has DOUBLE it all. Double the romance! Double the tropes! Double the fun! I LOVED IT. Vanessa is charming as hell, and she seems to be having the best time. Plus she has good chemistry with BOTH Sam Palladio and Nick Sagar. And as if Netflix wants to prove how edgy it is compared to Hallmark, we actually get a shirtless scene with Kevin which I honestly have not stopped thinking about. It's all just completely ridiculous and I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Rating: 10/10

    1. A Christmas Prince (Netflix, 2017)

    Netflix

    What it's about: Amber (Rose McIver) is a junior editor from New York who longs to be "a real journalist", and can't believe her luck when she's sent to the very authentic-sounding European country of Aldovia to find out more about the playboy prince who is about to become king, if he bothers to show up to his coronation. When she arrives, she bumps into a very rude man who turns out to be – plot twist! – Prince Richard (Ben Lamb) himself. Oh, and she goes ~undercover~ as the tutor for the precocious young princess, Emily, who plays matchmaker. Love and snowball fights ensue.

    My thoughts: I'm sorry. It had to be number one. It just had to be. Sure, it may not be the best movie on this list (it certainly isn't), but it's the one I love the most. It was my gateway drug. My FIRST, and if you've spent any time watching romance movies you'll know you never forget your first. Aside from that, I love the completely bonkers plot. This movie has taken literally every iconic moment from all of the other movies on this list (and then some), but turned the ridiculous factor up to 11. And added in even more absurd plot twists. There was SO MUCH happening, and I loved every second of it. What can I say, I am complete A Christmas Prince trash.

    Rating: 11/10

    Bonus: please enjoy this A Christmas Prince drinking game, but I will not be held responsible for the damage you do to you liver.

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