How does one become royal? One can win it by force of arms, be born into it, or marry into it. At one time or another, movies have depicted all three ways, but lately, the movies have favored being royal by marriage.
Many folks pooh-pooh the idea of royalty, but royal weddings and coronations -- whether real or fictional -- are guaranteed to get noticed.
What Is It About Royalty?
What is it about being royal that appeals to the masses? Perhaps it is that they have beautiful clothes. Or it might be because they often live in castles or palaces.
But what most appeals to the public is the love story between an average woman and a royal prince -- especially when it's true love.
Another Royal Moment
The death of Queen Elizabeth II in September and the May 6 coronation of King Charles III have awakened a renewed interest in royalty.
While there are plenty of other royal families around the world, the Windsor saga seems to be particularly enthralling.
And with all the Disney princess stories, princesses have always been a delight for viewers of all ages. There are, however, many live action movies that have depicted commoners who have become royalty.
Hallmark Channel and other networks have plenty of Cinderella-themed films, and the mainstream media has also had success with this story. Here are a few of them.
The Princess Diaries (2001, G)
In The Princess Diaries, Julie Andrews brought us Queen Clarisse Renaldi of Genovia. She was a commoner who married the king.
When he died, and it was time for the next monarch to take over, the Queen tracked down her estranged granddaughter, American teen Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), who never knew she was the daughter of the late prince.
Mia, a normal yet somewhat awkward girl, began taking “princess lessons” to fit into her new role as Queen of Genovia.
Mia understood the importance of her taking the crown, however she had mixed feeling about becoming the head of a country.
Then in the sequel (The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, 2004), Princess Mia discovered that she had to get married in order to become queen. That little fact was a bombshell to her.
In the end Mia, persuaded the government that this law of not having a queen without a king was out of date. and she did become the new Queen of Genovia.
According to TV Guide, “This Cinderella fantasy transforms a geek into a princess, and teaches a few life lessons along the way.”
The story was also touted as Pygmalion-esque due to the transformation of a shy, geeky girl into a polished princess. And yes, there are rumors about a third film in the popular franchise.
The Prince and Me (2004 - PG for some sex-related material and language)
Page Morgan (Julia Stiles) is a Wisconsin farm girl studying to be a doctor. Out of the blue, Prince Edward of Denmark (Luke Mably) decides to enroll in the Wisconsin university to allegedly learn more about the American heartland.
While there, he was attracted to Page, and the two began a platonic relationship. But that simple friendship quickly turned to love during the year.
When the prince had to return to Denmark to take over the throne from his ailing father, Page had a decision to make. Could she abandon her life’s dream of becoming a doctor and live in Denmark, or should she stay on the path she had carved out for herself?
But was there a third option? Could this farm girl finish her medical degree and be the Queen of Denmark too? What a quandary!
But, being that this hit teen film was popular with the audiences, and the fact that there were several sequels (The Prince and Me II: The Royal Wedding, 2006, The Prince and Me 3: A Royal Honeymoon, 2008, The Prince and Me: The Elephant Adventure, 2010), it is obvious that Page was victorious in choosing option three.
Grace of Monaco (2014)
Nicole Kidman stepped into the shoes (not literally, of course) of Grace Kelly, the American Academy Award-winning actress that became a royal princess.
With Tim Roth as Prince Rainier, this story was based on the life of the late Grace Kelly, aka Grace, Princess of Monaco.
The film depicts how Kelly managed to win the hearts of the Monagasques, even though they initially were wary of an American actress in the royal family.
Even though this is a biopic and based on real people, liberties have been taken to make it more interesting for the viewing public. Kidman, however, is remarkable as Grace and just as charming and regal as the public’s perception of that iconic woman has been.
Unlike the previous movies mentioned here, this film depicts a real-life common woman undertaking the role of royal princess.
The Princess and the Priest
No, this isn't a movie, but a real-life partnership, between Princess Grace of Monaco and FTP founder Venerable Patrick Peyton.
Princess Grace was a devout Catholic and a lover of the Rosary -- as was Father Peyton. She did two specials for FTP, one for Christmas and one for Easter.
Included in these was the final time she appeared on film before her tragic death in a car crash in 1982 -- and she enthralls fans to this day.
Click here to learn more.
Other Royal Weddings
Many people do not know that American actress Rita Hayworth also left Hollywood to become royal by marrying Prince Aly Kahn.
American Lisa Halaby left the United States to marry King Hussein of Jordan and become Queen Noor.
New Yorker Hope Cooke wed Emperor Choygal (King) Palden Thondup Namgyal, and she became Queen of Sikkim, a small Himalayan kingdom.
So, much like the fictional Cinderella, it is possible to be an average woman and become a princess or even queen, either by happenstance or marriage.
But if a royal romance does come your way, make sure the guy’s not just a prince in name only.
Image: Adobe Stock