See Sam Heughan in the Sweet Romance ‘A Princess for Christmas’


Usually I don’t see the new seasonal movies that air on Hallmark channel until the following year when – and if – they release to DVD. This year, A Princess for Christmas was released in the U.K. and Canada. Because of this, it was my one “guilty pleasure” buy.

a princess for christmas

A Princess for Christmas (2011) Hallmark Review

Plucky and determined, Jules Daly (McGrath) isn’t about to let a little thing like losing her job affect Christmas. Since her sister and brother-in-law died the year prior, Jules has been trying her best to make a new home for her niece and nephew who she now looks on as her own. But Milo (Travis Turner) is a teenager who doesn’t want his aunt to assert a parental authority in any part of his life while young Maddie is a precocious seven-year-old.

In the aftermath of losing her job, a proper English butler (Miles Richardson) shows up on Jules doorstep. With him is an invitation to Castlebury Hall, the place the children’s grandfather (Roger More) calls home. With reluctance, Jules agrees to the arrangements, and off the trio go to England to spend Christmas with dukes and duchesses, and even a prince in the form of the duke’s son, Ashton (Sam Heughan).

Confession time: I absolutely adore this movie. Despite its fairytale premise, to be honest, the movie starts out a bit rocky. The director seems to employ awkward filming technique, and the camera shots don’t seem to compliment the actors. Once this passes (probably before fifteen minutes have passed), the viewers can settle in for an adorable, sweet little movie. The “adventure” is a lot of fun also. At its heart, it’s a story about uncertainty, and the hope of Christmas blessings. 

The acting also compliments the story. Katie holds her own against veteran Roger Moore (part of the James Bond fame) although on occasion, the slightest hint of her accent slips into her American dialogue. She and Sam share a cute chemistry (if cute chemistry is a thing). a princess for christmas

TV MOVIE REVIEW | Once Upon a Holiday (2015): A Romantic Fairytale

See #SamHeughan (before #Outlander) in the Sweet [#Hallmark] Romance ‘A Princess for Christmas’ (2011) Click To Tweet
a princess for christmas

If there are any real faults or clichés, this is at the fault of the script which can sometimes take its talent for granted. Nevertheless this is a wonderful film, all warm and fuzzy as it finds just the right moods of festiveness, and yet, captures an emphasis on family and its importance. 

Production crews found pretty sets (like the castle), and the camera captures gorgeous scenery. There is a pretty ball room scene, and I was pleasantly surprised that the movie moved away from a few of the trivial expectations I had of it. If you like British productions or happy-go-lucky romances, check into this one. I thought the ending was adorable and I liked how the characters interacted. A Princess for Christmas is definitely one of my most loved Christmas films. It’s yet another charming ‘hallmark’ proving why this channel is such a crowd-pleaser.

Fun Fact: this is also known as Christmas at Castlebury Hall and A Christmas Princess (the U.K.).

This one has a PG rating because Milo is something of a rebel and disrespectful of his elders. He steals a video game which Jules sees he returns and talks back to the adults in his life, and as brothers do, he plays a couple of mean tricks on his sister.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. This one is really, really good, Juju! I just loved it – hopefully you can catch it on the Hallmark channel sometime.

    I think part of its charming qualities was as a result of it being a British film and I, of course, love BBC dramas. =D

  2. My family and I watched it and found it terribly embarrassing on many levels. I couldn't really enjoy it. We consider it one of the worst if not the worst we have ever seen of Hallmark (Wedding Daze was pretty pitiful too).

  3. Ruth – totally agree with you. Loved this little fairy-tale. ;D

    And, it was different to see Katie in a "nice-girl" role. At first Morgana was really sweet but yeah, she is kind of evil now. YIKES!

    Livia – isn't it funny how different everyone's opinions are? LOL! I can definitely see where some viewers might find this movie too sappy or silly for their tastes but I was able to enjoy it as a sweet fairy-tale that had no real purpose other than to entertain.

    Ooh! I thought Wedding Daze was really cute; I own a copy of that and occasionally indulge in a viewing. =)

    Sorry you didn't enjoy this one – which were your favorite new Hallmarks during the "countdown to Christmas"?

    SO glad you both stopped in to share your input – don't be strangers, pop in again soon. =)

  4. This and "Trading Christmases" were my favorites of Hallamrk's latest offerings. I thought this was adorable. Predictable, yes, but I thought it was really sweet.

    YOu know it made me think of Kate Middleton, right? A normal girl marrying a prince?! Maybe that is why I loved it! ;-)

  5. Glad to know that, Ella. I'll definitely be on the lookout for Trading Christmas next year. I really enjoyed the "Mrs. Miracle" series and seeing as those and Trading Christmas are by the same author, it should be good!

    I am right there with you as regards this yuletide flick – so cute. =D I'd actually watch it again before this season is over, but because I only watch Christmas movies once-a-year, they are more "special."

    And… I don't know if you ever saw my reply to your offer to loan me your copy of this movie, but I did respond, and just wanted to say thanks bunches for offering to do that – I really appreciated it. =)

  6. Very nice review and certainly made me want to see this film. A slight correction though – Katie McGrath is Irish not British.


  7. Thanks, Ross! This is a really sweet movie – if you like Merlin, it's really a switch to see Katie play a "nice girl." =)

    Thanks bunches for stopping by – hope you do so again (and for that 'FYI' about Katie being Irish – I had read that but forgot).

  8. Even though Christmas is quite aways off I decided to watch this yesterday.
    I liked it.It's a good family movie. Thanks for suggesting it:)

  9. Who can resist a fuzzy Christmas movie, right!? I love Christmas movies, too, Ella. They may be a bit cliched and perhaps a tad… sappy but they are always cute and I like feeling sappy at Christmas. :-)

    So glad you enjoyed this one – it was one of my very faves from 2011! Cannot wait to watch them all from 2012. :-)

  10. Ok, so yes, I am extremely late with this comment, (over two years, to be exact), but I just discovered this adorable gem (thanks in large part to your recommendation), and had to share my two pennies worth.

    First up, being the hopelessly romantic sap that I am, I freely admit that the best thing about this movie for me was the to-die-for connection between Jules and her devastatingly attractive and honourable brother-in-law, Sir Ashton; from their very first introduction, sparks flew. Sam was just brilliant in this, and after getting turned off Katie McGrath because of her down-hill portrayal of Morgana (she was great in the first two seasons, but as soon as she turned evil, I had a really hard time accepting her acting as believable), it was wonderful seeing her in a role she really shined in. I especially loved the dancing lessons which cleverly led up to the big climactic ballroom scene, and even though the ending was a bit cliché, I revelled in it.

    I did think the guy playing the grandfather a bit stodgy and stiff at first, but I think that was just how his character was supposed to be, and I LOVED the camaraderie shown by the household staff, both to each other, and to their American guests who bring a breath of fresh air into the house just in time for Christmas. Lastly, I enjoyed the interactions which occurred between the kids and adults, particularly the way Ashton took Milo under his wing. All in all, this has turned out to become one of my favourite Hallmark films, so thank you for turning me onto it!

    God Bless
    Eleanor Rose

    1. Hi, Eleanor! No worries. You're never too late around here to share your thoughts on any past blog post. :)

      I am in that same romantic sap club; my movie shelf packed full of Hallmark movies proves that. ;) I love nearly anything like this and get particularly excited this time of year when the Christmas movies begin to release to DVD. I agree with your assessment on Katie's Morgana; I liked her better as a good "guy" instead of seeing her decline – it was sad really. Although I think some people thought it was a good character change – I know one of my friends did. (Actually, I've not finished Merlin yet for a host of reasons.)

      Those dancing lesson scenes were too cute! One of my favorite sequences in the film.

      Yeah, I think the actor played the grandpa stodgy because that was his character – it took his grandkids to melt his heart. Which was darling.

      You put everything so very well. This was certainly a modern day fairytale that just "clicked" in everything and I will confess, clichéd in all its glory, I adored the ending. :D

      Thanks a bunch for visiting and sharing your two cents. It was lovely to read. :)

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