Hallmark Christmas in July: A Royal Christmas Crush Recap/Review

After what feels like a million years, it’s finally Christmas. Time off, cool gifts, and precious moments with your loved ones. Oh, it’s not real Christmas? It’s Christmas in July, a Hallmark cash grab? Fine. I guess we’re going to observe the “holiday” and look at what Hallmark thought wasn’t good enough to air during December. Crack open the summertime hot chocolate and let’s watch… A Royal Christmas Crush? Aw, man. How many times must a woman fall in love with a prince?!


Ava accepts the opportunity of a lifetime to work at the Royal Ice Hotel which leads her to a surprise whirlwind romance with the most important guest of all, the Royal Prince himself. Starring Katie Cassidy and Stephen Huszar.

So, this guy’s prince of the hotel? I don’t think that’s legitimate royalty. But this isn’t about whether or not this guy is an authentic hemophiliac, it’s about two conventional hotties falling in love PG-style.


We’re introduced to Ava who is an honest to God working person who is busy working.

She wears glasses while reviewing papers. The papers are why she wears glasses.

While paper-looking, she receives a text from her uncle Karl who has just created something called “The Royal Winter Castle” and he needs his niece’s help. Ava tells her uncle she’ll help him using her architect skills but won’t be flying to this movie’s fake country. However, she caves when her uncle tells her that the royal family might have some ludicrous work in the pipeline.

Uncle Karl thinks a stock photo is his greatest creation.

Ava arrives in the country and greets her uncle in front of a monstrous igloo. Apparently, this is the ice hotel Karl has been working on. Karl explains to his freezing niece that the creation of this structure is a national tradition. You see, for hundreds of years, the royal family has demanded the annual construction of an itinerant vacation home. So, every Christmas, a brand-new igloo castle is built in a mystery location.

A Canadian soundstage?

At the end of Christmas, the family throws a big gala. Unfortunately, not all taxpayers are invited. While touring the semi-built getaway home, Ava spots a picture of the prince a.k.a. one of Society magazine’s 50 most eligible bachelors. The couple is approached by a cold (zing!) woman who happens to be the Director of Operations for the royal family. She doesn’t expect much from Ava.

Back at the stationary royal abode, the prince is upset that someone wrote some gossip about him using a Microsoft Word template.

“Don’t these peasants have the decency to use InDesign?!”

Due to a breakup, the prince is single again and he’s getting pressure from his mom, dad, and nosy butler to hurry up and hook up with a lady in time for the big gala.

The next day at the bigloo, Ava partakes in some health and safety violations.

The royal family is on the way to inspect their winter castle. As soon as Ava and the prince lock eyes, they get hot under the collar. However, another woman is competing for his heart: Sigrid, the daughter of the Director of Operations.

After all the goo-goo eyes, the prince and Ava finally speak. Our Hallmark heroine talks about how she liked building snow castles as a child which I guess makes her qualified for this job. He’s taken by her quaint story.

After talking to him for one minute real-time, Ava makes the prince go on an indoor slide and sits on his lap.

Much like me, the Director of Operations witnesses this whole interaction and is displeased. The movie moves pretty quickly because while warming her hands over a garbage fire, Karl hurries to tell Ava that the prince is into her. He warns her to be careful that she doesn’t make a misstep. Unfortunately for Ava, just breathing is enough of a misstep because the Director sets Ava on a task to build houses for the royal dogs.

In addition to gossip, the local rag gives you a great deal on winter tires!

Taking his butler’s advice, he decides to give Sigrid a chance and goes for a walk with her. Sigrid makes it sexy by talking about royal decapitations and how unlikely it is that she’ll give birth to a boy. The prince regrets this walk.

Ava and Prince meet again in the bigloo’s chapel. There is too much unspoken sexual tension for a house of God. The royal boy and architect have a deep conversation about snow. Sadly, the butler interrupts, so there’s no making out on the altar…yet!

The royal family goes walk-skiing or whatever it’s called.

He gets pressured about “tradition” which is royal code for “get a lady pregnant.” Prince finds Ava in the doghouse to ask her if she would like to get away from it all and “have some fun.” This probably means ice skating. Before they drink hot chocolate or whatever, Prince tells her that the dogs aren’t coming, so she can quit early and join him on an adventure.

Sigrid and her mom pin their family’s future on a man who is trying to bang an American architect.

The next day, the couple goes on a carriage ride to Prince’s remote cabin in the woods. This film could take a sharp turn into Lifetime territory if it’s not careful. Prince’s decision to run away into the forest causes him to miss the family dinner and ruin Sigrid’s chances of schmoozing her way into a crown.

At the hot and heavy cabin, Ava draws pictures of sustainable housing. Prince cooks dinner which is a cheeseboard and grapes. They drink wine and do some bonding under the Northern Lights. Upon hearing that Prince has an upcoming big speech, Ava offers to help.

Unfortunately for Prince, Ava’s idea of speech writing is doodling.

Instead of practicing, Prince gets distracted by Ava’s inability to focus on anything but her sustainable houses. And then later while practicing his speech, Ava suggests going to the hot tub.  

Meanwhile, the butler looks up Ava on Friorland’s own sled dog powered search engine.

In addition to the nosy butler, a random paparazzo keeps popping out of the woodwork to take photos. He somehow managed to make it onto the grounds of the winter home and snap pics of Ava. It appears the royal family had to skimp on the security to build the bigloo. Prince apologizes to Ava for not preventing this easily preventable problem. He asks her out on another date.

Back at the room temperature castle, the butler gives the Ops Director some dirt on Ava. Apparently, her ex-fiancé was some sort of fraudster. The increasingly desperate Ops Director hands this juicy gossip to the paparazzo.

This is definitely a car commercial. Only thing missing is the giant gift bow on the sports vehicle.

However, the paparazzo has some weird set of morals because he refuses the fodder. He’s only there to get pics without the subject’s consent! The butler also struggles to get Prince to turn on Ava. He gives the butler whatfor just before delivering his country’s traditional Christmas speech in English. He nails it.

The butler and Ops Director aren’t through with trying to sabotage the prince’s blossoming relationship. Ava’s fraud connection is leaked and printed in the tabloid newspaper. I’m starting to believe that it’s a legit national paper considering how much everyone reads it.

Upon seeing that she’s getting raked over the coals for her ex’s actions, Ava decides to escape from Friorland. Prince gets word that actually Ava ISN’T a fraudster and races after her. Realizing that he won’t reach her at the airport in time, he asks some unknown people over the phone to “politely detain” Ava. This is what happens in an unchecked monarchy.

On the bright side, detainees are held in quaint Hallmark-esque inns.

After hearing his prospective girlfriend brokenly say how much she’s been trying to leave behind her painful past, Prince nods and asks her to the ball. She says NO! Which, frankly, is pretty cool. She gets on a plane and jets out of faux-Norway.

Sike! She DID get on a plane but returned because it’s in the contract that the Hallmark Heroine must be seen in a ballgown.

The butler arranged for Ava to return as an apology for being a busybody. The Ops Director also apologizes and reveals that she lent Ava a dress. The couple asks the paparazzo with a heart of gold to take a prom photo of them. Prince tells Ava that he’ll build her sustainable dream and she can have the job of running it. I guess they don’t believe in tendering for public funded roles. Ava is happy. They kiss. FIN.

Oh and out of left field, the butler and director hook up.


If you thought that the loving stares between the two leads felt like great acting, it wasn’t. As of the time of my viewing, the actors are dating so the flirting was REAL.

Anyway, this film felt rushed. It felt as though Uncle Karl was supposed to have a bigger role. They kept bringing him on, but he added very little to the story and simply repeated what was going on in the plot. I didn’t understand the motivation behind the butler. Why was he being such a shady jackass?

The story also tried to flesh out the Ops Director and her daughter by telling us that they lost their nobility because the father died and were trying to find a way to get it back. When this was revealed, it oddly didn’t feel like two underhanded creeps trying to take advantage of the royals but a family that was trying to get back where they were. It’s as if the script couldn’t decide if these were two “bad guys,” especially because the Ops Director and butler hook up at the end.

Nothing made narrative sense but at least nobody was left single at the end. Except Sigrid. She got the shaft.


  • No shade but the prince looks roughly the same age as his parents. This is some weird casting.
  • There’s this weird scene where Prince asks Ava to accompany her on an adventure to which she says yes and then he just walks away. He doesn’t tell her where, she doesn’t follow him, he simply saunters off screen.
  • Everyone’s accents go from RP English to vaguely Nordic.
  • Ava wants to build sustainable housing. Either that’s housing for the poor or one of those tiny houses from HGTV.
  • I like that they TRIED to do a non-English royal story.
  • Uncle Karl says he wouldn’t have been able to pull off the job if he hadn’t brought in Ava. She must operate as an emotional support niece because I’ve only seen her pussyfoot with the prince and draw sustainable huts.
  • No DEAD PARENTSTM to speak of in this movie.
  • While on the plane, Ava realized she made a huge mistake but “luckily the pilots were kind enough to turn around.” The rest of the passengers just had to deal with this loin related emergency.