Welcome back, friends. I bring you another Hallmark classic titled Crown for Christmas. If you’ve read these recaps before, you know one of my most hated tropes is the American heroine who marries royalty from a nondescript country that just so happens to have an RP English accent.
I bring you a film that offers just this!
After getting fired from her job as a maid at a ritzy New York City hotel, Allie reluctantly accepts a temp gig as the governess to a young girl who is part of a powerful family in Europe that lives in an actual castle. After arriving, Allie learns the girl is named Princess Theodora and her father is Maximillian, the King of Winshire. The King informs Allie that the Princess has a tendency to terrorize authority figures, a predilection that has grown worse since her mother’s death. Yet governess and Princess wind up hitting it off while at the same time a spark forms between Allie and Max. However, Countess Celia is expecting to wed the King. Will Max take a stand for his feelings for Allie and make it truly a merry Christmas for all (or at least, most)?
AN ACTUAL CASTLE?! I’m irked after reading that.
Winnie from The Wonder Years aka Danica McKeller aka Allie for this film is living life as a maid in New York. Not in Manhattan, though. That’s a different film.
Allie is in the middle of painting when her younger sister walks in and encourages Allie to sell her paintings. The elder sister brushes off the notion. You see, Allie only has time to practice her craft in the wee hours of the morning before her real job. This is actually a realistic scenario so kudos to Hallmark for that.
As Allie prepares breakfast, her brother enters the kitchen nook and notices a bunch of past due bills that Allie failed to hide from her siblings. The family is broke and she is hoping that her Christmas tips will bring the family back into the black.
Allie and her sister work in the housekeeping department of a swank New York hotel. You can tell it’s swank because the concierge speaks with a “snooty” accent. The gals are sent to the VIP floor to tidy up the rich people’s rooms.
It happens that one of these rich people is our Hallmark Hunk, Maximillian. Max is told by his butler Fergus that another governess has quit teaching his daughter, so they need to hire someone asap. Exasperated, Max exits the room only to have Allie straight up ram him in the shin with a cart. She apologizes and throws a bunch of pillow chocolates at Max.
After the awkward encounter, Allie’s sister dips out of work to attend an audition, leaving Allie to handle the VIP floor all by herself. This goes pretty poorly as the elder sister gets chewed out by her boss for being too slow. Our heroine and her sister (by proxy) are fired on the spot. Hope sis got that acting gig!
It just so happens that Fergus overhears the entire firing process which sets the cogs in his brain in motion.
He materializes at Allie’s home to give her $5000 for not stealing Max’s watch from the room. A bit weird and creepy. Allie refuses the money, much to the dismay of her unemployed siblings. Fergus is inexplicably impressed and invites himself to eat the meal she just prepared.
During his imposition, Fergus learns that Allie raised her siblings by herself because they have DEAD PARENTSTM. Her harrowing tale compels him to offer her the job of governess. Allie is skeptical, but Fergus allays her fears by rattling off her age, marital status, and last three job titles. Apparently, he did a very normal background check before doorstepping her.
Dude is gonna murder the whole family.
Allie thinks this is all kosher and accepts the position. She is flown the next day to the country of Winshire. Fergus fills her in on the details as they drive up to her new place of work. So Allie just accepted a suspicious check, got into a strange limo, flew halfway across the world, and literally knew NOTHING about the job until now? Has she never heard of human trafficking?!
Anyway, she’s tasked with minding a princess, so she’s rewarded for her stupidity.
After being dropped off in her king-sized room, Allie looks out the window and sees the king arriving home. She realizes the king is the hunk she hit with her cart.
As this dawns on her, a snowball whaps her in the face. You can thank the king’s daughter Theodora for that. Allie quickly recedes into her room.
Later, Allie gets into it with Theodora and tries to use her American charm to win over the skeptical child. She ends up kicking a Christmas ornament into Max’s head.
So far Allie has made a terrible impression with everyone, so she decides to wander the castle by herself and touch things that aren’t hers. She talks to a horse. Max sees this happen and continues to employ her.
The next day, Allie learns that not only does Max have a DEAD FATHERTM, he also has a DEAD WIFETM. Allie uses this information to start bonding with Theodora. After all, she also has DEAD PARENTSTM!
While the green governess gets comfortable in her new role, Max is told by his advisor that he needs to get hitched already. The people need a royal wedding to distract them from a failing economy. Max refuses and storms out of the meeting. He stumbles upon Allie and Theodora playing with decorations and being the bestest of friends.
That night, Max and Allie go horseback riding and talk about their lives. They almost kiss. It’s been three days and they’ve spoken for half an hour at best! Unfortunately for the budding lovers, Max’s advisor sees this and begins to plot.
The advisor calls upon Lady Celia of Luxembourg, Max’s betrothed, to remind the king that he is meant to marry another royal. Celia has an English accent, so I’m suspect of her purported country of origin. Theodora isn’t into her new mother-to-be and grills the woman over dinner. Kid is SASSY.
The disastrous dinner is followed by another Allie-Theodora Christmas bonding sequence that merrily sucks in the whole staff. I’m going to lose my mind. Even Max joins in which incenses Celia.
Things continue to go sour as Theodora learns that she will no longer need a governess after Christmas. Baby is going to boarding school! She runs off and is consoled by Allie.
It’s the night of the big gala that the whole castle has been preparing for. Initially Allie isn’t meant to join, but Theodora invites her. She has nothing to wear, so a friendly co-worker gives the bumbling American an old dress. It manages to outshine Celia’s.
As is customary for a Hallmark film, everyone applauds when Allie enters the ballroom in her banging new dress. Celia tries to distract Max’s wandering eye by asking him to dance with a cheap prom dress. Once their waltz is over, Max beelines to Allie and asks her to dance.
Celia, sensing her doom, throws dignity to the wind and pleads for Max to make her his wife. Max pulls out the engagement ring at her request only to discover that it’s missing. Celia makes a big production out of this by walking straight up to Allie’s face and accusing her of pilfering the priceless heirloom. Allie decides to leave the country which causes Theodora to run off…AGAIN.
Long story short, Theodora took it. Allie asks Max to tell everyone that SHE took it, not Theodora. This is mind-bogglingly stupid. They could just blame it on a kid being a kid. Celia threatened to prosecute Allie if she was found culpable, so this can only go poorly for Allie. Everyone needs to chill.
The former governess packs her bags while the gala rages downstairs. Max gives a speech to his guests and tells them he ain’t getting married like they were desperately hoping.
Realizing she’s been dumped, Celia storms out. It’s a recurring theme in this film. Celia insults his kid, so there’s no chance she’s getting married to Max. He then sort of fires his advisor.
Since there are no direct flights to New York on Christmas Eve, Allie ends up staying at a nearby inn. Max appears from the mist on a horse. He professes his love for Allie and they make out.
He brings her back home where Theodora, Fergus, the nice co-worker, and two extras are waiting. The kingdom is now whole? What about Allie’s siblings?
I could literally copy-paste my review of Christmas at the Palace here. These royal films are all terrible. Are all these made-up countries former English colonies? Is this actually commentary on the expansiveness of the brutal British empire that they just left forgotten non-countries scattered throughout the world?
Rating: 1 out of 5 brats.
- Allie’s sister just walked out of work. I’m pretty sure that’s a fireable offense.
- “Winshire. We’re a sovereign nation near Luxembourg.” Smooth move, Hallmark. Choose the smallest country in Europe and jam another fake one in there. Who’s gonna notice?
- Max is weirded out that Fergus brought a maid home to teach his kid. This is a valid response.
- Allie tells Celia that she’s known Max for 5 days. This elicited a reaction of me shouting “FIVE DAYS?!” at the screen.
- Allie has Skype calls with her siblings. After learning that Max is betrothed, Allie’s sister apologizes for Allie’s broken heart. IT’S BEEN LESS THAN A WEEK!