Disclaimer: This blog post contains spoilers for the movie A Christmas Prince on Netflix.
If you haven’t seen this movie and want to see it spoiler free — Stop and come back later.
If you haven’t seen this movie, have no plans to see this movie, and just want to hear me talk about it — Proceed.
If you haven’t seen this movie and don’t care about spoilers/want to read this post in viewing preparation — Proceed.
If you have already seen this movie and can’t wait to hear my hot takes — Proceed.
See my review of A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding here.
What do you get when a boring, reluctant prince with no personality meets a bewildered journalist who is lying about her identity to exploit him and his entire family? Why, true love, of course!
The aforementioned bewildered journalist is Amber Moore, a junior editor at a magazine who is looking for her big break as a writer. Her opportunity to shine comes when she is asked to fly to the country of Aldovia and write a piece on Prince Richard — the handsome playboy set to take the throne in the wake of his father’s recent death.
When she arrives in Aldovia, a disheveled man steals her cab, and she calls him a selfish jerk. This detail matters because it is part of the meet cute, which is a very stupid meet cute, indeed. Despite her cab loss, Amber manages to make it to the press conference. Prince Richard, however, does not, and the press conference is postponed indefinitely. Amber decides she can’t go home empty-handed and sneaks into the castle, rather than leaving with her fellow journalists.
She enters through a side door and begins wandering halls and snapping photos with her iPhone (with the sound on! So much clicking), and is caught by a staff member who mistakes her for Princess Richard’s baby sister’s new tutor. She is taken to meet the Queen, and is surprised to find Prince Richard with her. She is even more surprised to find that Prince Richard is the selfish jerk who stole her cab!!!
Amber begins to tutor Richard’s sister, Emily, to maintain her lie and stick around the castle for as long as possible. Despite her complete ineptitude, the two of them begin to bond, and Emily invites Amber to a cocktail party for “esteemed members of the nobility.” This party introduces us to our villain, Cousin Simon (but you will call him LORD DUXBURY!), who is smarmy and power hungry, and also kind of hot. Cousin Simon and Richard exchange some “witty” banter (Still soul searching?/At least I have one!).
Later, the family gathers to decorate the Christmas tree and we are introduced to two more characters. One is a giant wooden acorn ornament that was hidden away by the late King as a surprise for Queen Helena. Everyone gushes over it’s beauty (it’s not that beautiful, it’s just a giant acorn; but it does come into play later). The other is Sophia — Richard’s ex-girlfriend and plotting, evil partner of Cousin Simon. She gifts the family with a shiny ornament and asks Richard to “be gentle with it” as he hangs it on the tree. I am convinced that this was supposed to be sexual in some way, but I cannot work out how.
One fine, snow-covered afternoon, Richard heads into the forest for a horse ride. Amber steals a horse and follows him into the woods, because she is… a monster? Let the man have a tiny bit of privacy! She loses track of him pretty quickly, and starts talking aloud to her horse, “I hope you know where you’re going!” He doesn’t seem to, and is also probably sick of hearing Amber talk, so he throws her. She is then attacked by wolves, but Prince Richard shows up to save her. He takes her to his father’s hunting cabin to warm up, and they connect over tea and a secret poem written by the late King Richard.
Frost a’sparkle in the fields ‘twixt the frozen minarets.
Winter’s harvest, meager yields, heavy burdens, the year’s debts.
But from a seed, and acorn’s gift, henceforth the truth will flood.
Darkness such a secret bears, and a love far greater than blood.
I have to admit, I have read worse poetry than this. But “a’sparkle” is the most ridiculous word I have ever heard, and I will find a way to weave it into my daily speech this holiday szn.
“It’s mysterious… it’s beautiful,” Amber says as she and Richard nearly kiss. But Richard is startled by a noise and goes to check it out. While he is gone, Amber discovers some hidden documents in the cabin, revealing that Prince Richard was adopted.
Instead of leaving the papers where she found them because they are none of her business, or revealing them to Richard, she takes them back to her room at the castle because, again… monster?
The next night, Amber and Richard take a moonlit stroll. Richard kisses Amber and asks her to be his date at the coronation ball. Although this seems like an ideal time for Amber to out herself as an exploitative journalist who has been lying to him for their entire relationship, or maybe admit to knowing important details about Richard’s past — the thought doesn’t even seem to cross her mind. Meanwhile, Simon and Sophia sneak into Amber’s room and find the adoption papers.
Princess Emily enlists her glam squad to help Amber get ready for the ball. When Amber arrives at the ball, heads turn as she floats down the stairs.
Amber: Why is everyone staring at me?
Prince Richard: Because you are perfect.
Amber and Richard dance the night away. Later in the evening, as Richard is about to be crowned, Sophia disputes his claim to the throne, pulling out the adoption papers and calling Richard a “FRAUDULENT CHRISTMAS PRINCE!” She outs Amber as a liar in front of everyone, which is totally deserved, and Richard runs off in disgrace. Plans are made to crown Cousin Simon as king the next day.
Amber packs up her things and heads the airport the next morning to catch a flight home. While waiting to board, she suddenly remembers King Richard’s “beautiful, mysterious” poem and the fact that it literally has the word “acorn” in it. Acorn secrets!! Amber goes back to the castle, books it to the Christmas tree, and pries open the acorn. Sure enough, it contains yet another secret paper. Amber runs into the (parliament meeting room?) just as Simon is about to be crowned. She unleashes the secret paper, which turns out to be a “decree” from King Richard giving Prince Richard the ability to be king, despite not being of royal blood. I don’t understand why King Richard didn’t just do that in the first place if it was going to be that simple? Regardless, They kick Simon out, crown Richard as king, and Amber takes off and flies back to New York.
Back in New York, Amber writes a story about her experience that her boss calls “mature, thoughtful, and well-written,” but says she can’t publish it because it’s “a puff piece, pure schmaltz.”
Amber can’t believe the first piece she has ever written in her life has been rejected, so she quits in a rage to “focus on her own work,” which is going to be a blog about king Richard. Her blog is called “Amber’s Blog,” and her first post is titled “A KING FOR REAL.”
As unemployed Amber spends New Year’s Eve helping out at her dad’s diner, she sees Richard standing in the middle of the street just… waiting for her. He forgives her unconditionally and proposes right there in the street. The movie ends with her father watching them kiss through the diner window.
You know, I don’t love Amber. She spends the entire movie lying and exploiting people, and the movie expects us to believe in her good intentions the entire time. She never seems to feel bad about the way she is behaving, and just stumbles around the castle like a doe-eyed idiot.
But I do blame a little of her unethical journalism on the royal people around her. Why doesn’t anyone notice that she is videoing them with her phone all the time? Or that she obviously isn’t smart enough to be a tutor and describes her lesson plans as having “lots of numbers and equationy thingies?”
I don’t hate Amber. But I don’t really like her either. She goes down kind of like a day-old Taco Bell taco – I’m not enjoying it, but I’m definitely not going to stop eating it.
P.S. No shade to Rose McIver, who I do actually like! It’s just the character that is a mess.
The Love Interest
The first time I watched this movie, I wasn’t totally sold on Prince Richard. But upon third viewing, I have decided that he is super hot. His character is not compelling or interesting, but I was just feeling him this go-round. He is charming and cute and boring and stupid.
The chemistry between Prince Richard and Amber is straight-up nonexistent. I honestly cannot think of another rom-com where the leads have less chemistry than these two human beings.
People/Things Amber has more chemistry with than Prince Richard:
The bland-looking cookie she eats at the jellied meat party
The forest wolves
Her many pairs of Converses
That guy with the mustache she sits by on the way to the press conference
Things/People King Richard has more chemistry with than Amber:
The snowman he builds with the village children
The shiny ornament Sophia tells him to “be gentle with”
His father’s tombstone
Best Secondary Character
Princess Emily. I fell in love with her ridiculousness when she stared pensively out of a window and said,
You’re wondering what’s happened to me, aren’t you. It’s called spina bifida and there’s no cure… poor little rich girl.
Worst Secondary Character
Also Princess Emily. She is bad and annoying in a way that is funny, but also bad and annoying in a way that is bad and annoying.
Most Ridiculous Line
“Where there’s a tiara, there is dirt! Trust me!” – One of Amber’s extremely one-dimension stereotypical friends
Prince Richard’s fashion can best be described as Hot Business Dad on a Corporate Retreat in Vermont.
And this is him in his fancy prince garb. Does he look hot? Or stupid? Hot right? No, stupid? I don’t know anymore, this movie has addled my brain.
Amber’s fashion is very I Bought Some Clothes at Old Navy in 2006 and I Haven’t Bought a New Item of Clothing Since. I mean, I hate, really really hate, every single thing this woman wears.
And then there is this bumble bee dress that she almost wears to the coronation ball. BUMBLE BEE DRESS.
Side note: this bracelet that Emily gives her as a gift is definitely just a Pandora bracelet, right?
Somehow the dress Emily’s glam squad scrounges up for her is not that much better than the bumble bee dress.
In conclusion: I HATE all the clothes in this movie.
Amber at one point walks up on Prince Richard playing “The First Noel” on the piano and exclaims, “you’re really talented.” He is not. She looks at him like she has never seen anyone play a piano before.
We are led to believe that Amber grew up pretty blue-collar, but somehow she knows how to ride horses and, even more baffling, how to waltz?
What one earth is the structure of the Aldovian government? The fact that there is a Prime Minister would lead one to believe that the royal family are essentially figureheads. But apparently the king can just write something on a piece of paper and stuff it into an acorn and it becomes law without parliament needing to vote on it or anything? I don’t get it!!
My Twitter thread detailing how this and Beauty and the Beast are the same movie:
9/10. Amber sucks. Richard is boring. They have no chemistry. The clothing is horrible. Emily is obnoxious. Everything about this movie is bad, but somehow I still really enjoy watching it. Why? I literally don’t know. So I’m giving it a 9/10 for whatever witch magic happens when I am watching it that makes me enjoy it.