A Christmas Prince Commentary: Why Did Netflix Make This Film?

21 June 2018

I don’t know how to use the Xbox.

It shouldn’t be such monumental issue in my life. I should just learn. In December, not knowing changed my life.

In the spirit of Christmas, we put on Netflix’s new film, A Christmas Prince, a heart-warming tale about love, friendship, family and the bourgeois. Every single member of my family got up and left the room at some point during the film. But I didn’t know how to turn off the Xbox. So I sat there, and watched the whole thing, alone, and it was such an experience I have to share it, to process it, and hopefully move on with my life.

(Be warned, this is just one big spoiler below.)

The film follows Amber, a journalist who will be covering the coronation in the kingdom of Aldovia, a small, doll-like country in Europe, where everyone seems a little too happy and nothing looks out of place or tatty. In short, entirely fake, but that hasn’t stopped articles explaining that it isn’t a real country. The fact that they all have British accents in the middle of Europe could have been a giveaway, but alas no. The coronation in Aldovia can only occur at the Christmas Eve ball, meaning no other journalist wants the job. Amber is marked out as the bottom of the magazine hierarchy, by a man with too many hand gestures, then her wonderful range of diverse friends (to balance out our blonde, heterosexual, able-bodied Barbie of a protagonist) tell her off for working too hard. Classic Amber.

Amber is stressed about this assignment, because Prince Richard has been missing for a year, and there are rumours that he might abdicate. He’s been labelled as a playboy by the press, although we later discover (by the fire of his dead father’s man-cave-hunting-cabin, after saving Amber from wolves), that Richard isn’t a playboy—he just needed to find himself, on a yearlong trip around Europe. He’s so worried about how he’s seen, he doesn’t want to be king. It’s a good, comfortable plot since we’ve all seen The Lion King.

After an altercation over a taxi with a mysterious bearded man (AKA, the prince), Amber makes her way to the palace, but pretends to be the princess’s new tutor to avoid being thrown out as a pesky journalist. Again, like any film, book or Shakespeare play ever written, a surprising storyline emerges. If you pretend to be someone else, it is highly likely you will be found out. In this wonderful film, it is Princess Emily, Amber’s student, who works it out. She’s a slightly scary kid and blackmails Amber into having fun with her, because everyone else treats Emily like she’s made of glass as she has spina bifida. While snowball fights may not be what the queen recommends, Amber will be fired either way, so she goes along with it.

Of course, evil cousin Count Simon is waiting in the wings for the throne and gets Prince Richard’s horrible ex Baroness Sophia to help plot against him. In the meantime, Amber accidentally discovers a secret hiding place in the dead king’s desk, which conveniently contains Prince Richard’s adoption certificate. That’s right folks—the future king of Aldovia was adopted! The audience is shocked, Amber is shocked, and Simon and Sophia are shocked when they raid her room and find out too. (Also, somewhere along the line they get married? Anyway, weird plot point and Sophia doesn’t like him, but she does like the idea of being queen.)

Naturally, Amber and Prince Richard have fallen in beautiful, heterosexual love, and he invites her to the Christmas Eve ball, but probably regrets it when he sees her eyeshadow. But honestly—that’s the least of his worries because Count Simon reveals the adoption certificate to everyone, demonstrating that he should be the rightful king. Now here’s the thing—it’s a monarchy. While Simon is evil and all that, in actual fact he is the rightful heir. If they want to choose their leader, well, there’s a name for that and it’s democracy. But this is monarchy, where bloodlines are treasured, and the literal job of the crown is to produce the next ruler, due to their excellent genes and divine right. I have a question for the Aldovians—why not let the princess be your queen? It’s 2018, grow up. This whole problem would be averted if you weren’t so backwards.

It gets worse. Amber returns to a poorly written poem she found on the desk which held the adoption certificate. Written by the previous king soon before he died, Amber cracks the code and realises in the acorn decoration the king was making for the queen, he had hidden a proclamation claiming Prince Richard as his heir. I could not make this up if I tried. (What was the king’s plan? He didn’t expect to die then. Was he going to ruin Richard’s Christmas by telling him he was adopted? Why was it a gift for the queen? She’s not going to be the ruler. Why did it have to be a Christmas present?) Anyway, the magical acorn enables Prince Richard to be king (again, if you’re so keen on picking a leader, democracy is probably a better option) and Amber returns to her life in New York, where she is fired for writing nice things about Prince Richard.

Her friends want to celebrate New Years Eve with a random collection of dates they found, but Amber isn’t keen. It’s lucky she stayed in, because she gets a surprise visitor at her dad’s diner: Could it be … Richard? He saw the popular blog she started about the “real” him, sometime between Christmas, New Years and getting fired and proposes. (Also why was the office open? Most companies would be on holiday break.) Yes, the new king of a small European country proposes to some random girl who lied to him for the whole week they knew each other, after literally only one kiss. How can he be sure she’d be a good queen, when he doesn’t even know her?

Now that ending isn’t even a real spoiler because later this year we are all going to be blessed with the sequel, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. Oh my lord there’s going to be another. I have no idea how Rotten Tomatoes managed to give this film a rating of 83 per cent, but I hope they come to regret it when they realised they have helped spawn another.

This is not a film I’d recommend. To anyone. Don’t see it. Don’t put yourself through it. Read this repeatedly until you are cured of the urge.

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