In recent years Netflix’s been going a little stir crazy with their original holiday films, but regardless, they’ve definitely provided a myriad of unique material. Netflix’s Christmas trilogy “A Christmas Prince” is a popular choice and has gained a cult following. Since 2017, Netflix has been gracing users’ screens with these films every Christmas season.
On Dec. 5, Netflix released the third and latest addition to the “A Christmas Prince” series. “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” is a romantic comedy that continues the story of journalist turned Queen, Amber Moore (Rose McIver) as she and her husband, King Richard (Ben Lamb), plan for the birth of their firstborn. As they prepare for the arrival of their baby, the royal couple must prepare their fictional country, Aldovia, for its centennial treaty signing with their main ally, Pengila (another fictional bordering country). However, before they can do that the treaty is stolen and it’s now up to Amber to figure out who did it before midnight on Christmas Eve or else they risk a curse to be bestowed on their firstborn.
There is so much about this Netflix original film that brings me indescribable joy due to its heightened holiday fluff and pure ridiculousness. If you like that Hallmark kind of cheesiness, you’ll love this movie for sure. It’s got the stamp of approval from both of my grandmothers.
As someone who’s been following the series since it came out, I will give it props; it was a nice continuation from the first two. It’s great to see the development of these characters and also have some sort of feel-good movie to look forward to during finals season. As someone who also loves Christmas, it’s a film all about Christmas. I mean it seems like Aldovia is constantly celebrating this holiday. I think the only thing this country ever looks forward to is Christmas, despite them clearly having issues. For example, in the previous “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding,” they had a pretty bad recession. Maybe Aldovia should be focusing on some different issues for a change; just saying.
This film spends most of its time following Amber and Richard as they try to step into their new role of parenthood. Throughout the film they’re seen trying to do things any first time parents would be doing such as building a crib and thinking about names. There’s even a scene which focuses on Amber’s baby shower, which is a bit unnecessary, but thrown in there regardless. Amber and Richard are also seen trying to bond with King Tai (Kevin Shen) and Queen Ming (Momo Yeung) of Pengila as a way to update the treaty into the 21st century by having the Queens be the first to sign the treaty.
However, before they can sign the treaty, Amber and Richard must figure out who took the treaty in the first place. While they’re trying to solve the mystery, Amber is also seen growing more anxious as she learns that a curse may take place upon her baby if it’s not signed before midnight on Christmas Eve. While the supernatural aspect of the film getting thrown in there is a little unexpected and tacky, it definitely causes the castle to go into a frenzy.
Spoiler alert, the culprit ends up being none other than the Butler (it’s always the Butler), Mr. Little (Richard Ashton). One of the most neutral characters throughout the series, Mr. Little confesses that he had stolen the treaty due to a sacred blood oath his family had made centuries ago. While it was definitely a curveball, it was rather odd and predictable by the end. It’s heavily hinted throughout the film that Mr. Little is the thief due to the brief comments he makes. However, the fact that they chose to pick a character that has done absolutely nothing wrong throughout the series, and make him evil just because of some random blood oath, is poor writing.
The entire mystery subplot was written horribly. While the writers mostly focused on the fluff and the baby aspect of the plot, the mystery subplot was thrown under a bus and then run over by four different trucks. Ironically, my favorite part of this plot was the fact the characters took way too long trying to figure out the mystery. When Amber finally goes into labor, conveniently before midnight on Christmas Eve, they have ten minutes to figure out the mystery but take their sweet time. Did I mention she’s in labor? This woman is about to push a baby out yet in those ten minutes they manage to solve a mystery, sign a treaty, and also have a surprise proposal.
I also want to reflect on the fact that a centuries old document managed to be stolen way too easily. Even if it was the butler, the fact that the castle of Aldovia has no high tech security whatsoever is mind boggling. There’s even one scene where the Dowager Queen Helena (Alice Krige) and Princess Emily (Honor Kneafsey) plan to do some sleuthing in the castle’s medieval dungeon and get locked down there. What were two of the most important monarchs in Aldovia doing down there without any guards or some sort of security? Maybe because there’s like 20 people living in this country– case in point when the same 20 background actors show up for every public gathering. Regardless, the writers definitely should’ve taken just a smidge more time to create possibly a more realistic mystery subplot.
There is also no doubt in mind that this film, and the series in general, is just one big Meghan Markle and Prince Harry fanfiction. Besides the fact these films so happen to follow a very similar timeline of their relationship, anyone who is a fan of the royals can easily spot the references made throughout the film. According to Cosmopolitan, some easter eggs include little things such Amber receiving an “I love New York” onesie while Meghan received one from the New York Yankees when she’d been pregnant.
Ultimately, it’s a film you cannot take seriously, in any sort of way. Even actors McIver and Lamb understand how ridiculous it is, with McIver stating in an interview with CNN that: “these films feel almost like a million holiday films you’ve seen before and that’s comforting. But rest assured, we have a very weird streak that sets us apart, see Amber’s supernatural crime solving in the delivery room for reference.”
Even if this film is bonkers at times, it’s a feel-good movie. It’s a film that will get you in the Christmas spirit and just feel a sense of positivity afterwards. Trust me, there is so much they need to work on content wise, but nonetheless, it’s a chill film to flip on the television when you need some cheering up this holiday season.