A pampered prince tries to live a normal life at university and finds himself entranced with a spunky commoner that the Royal Family will never accept as a princess. Why does this story sound so familiar? You might think it’s because William and Catherine: A Royal Romance is the second made-for-TV movie about Prince William and Kate Middleton — but it’s actually because it has the exact same plot as the 2004 Julia Stiles movie The Prince and Me.
The comparisons went from my roommates casually commenting, “Huh, didn’t Julia Stiles do that?” to jaw-droppingly obvious. Let’s review:
- The prince needs a “normal” life. It’s so vital for Will to attend St. Andrew’s so he’ll have an idea of what a normal life — especially one around people his own age — is. In The Prince and Me, Edvard (or “Eddie”) is a spoiled shit who decides to attend a very “American” college in Wisconsin after watching a Girls Gone Wild video.
- The prince’s attentive aide. Both Will and Eddie have a bodyguard/servant/confidante who does his housekeeping, interrupts him in class with important messages, and provides witty commentary on the socially awkward prince.
- Working at the pub. Even though Kate and Paige (Julia Stiles’ character) would never exist in the same tax bracket, both have to work at the local bar/pub to make ends meet. That means there are scenes where Will/Eddie awkwardly makes conversation with the girl he likes while she’s trying to do her job.
- Emphasize a dead/dying parent. Obviously Will feels the pressure of looking good in the public eye, especially after the press was partly to blame for his mother Diana‘s death. Eddie has to return to Denmark when he discovers that his father is gravely ill and he will have to become king soon.
- The girl’s parents are hicks. Both the Hallmark and Lifetime movies focused on the huge class difference between Will and Kate, with her parents acting like country bumpkins around the Royal Family. And while it’s obvious that if you weren’t inbred into the monarchy you’d appear lacking, we have to remember that Kate’s parents were already millionaires from their party-planning company. Neither movie seemed to notice that. Again, the Royal Family would probably happily take party planners compared to Paige’s farmer parents, with their Thanksgiving tradition of lawn mower races.
- The prince is a dumbass. Both movies have scenes where Kate/Paige has to teach Will/Eddie how to do laundry. Privilege is hilarious!
- Paparazzi issues. William and Catherine is surprisingly tame when it comes to the media, with one car chase that’s definitely thrilling but is later forgotten; and Will and Kate kissing on vacation, only to be inconvenienced when a shutterbug tries to snap pics. The Prince and Me‘s paparazzi scene still sticks with me: Paige and Eddie are fooling around in the stacks when they’re ambushed by photogs. The scene is made all the scarier because Paige isn’t expecting such humiliation.
Then there’s all the true details Hallmark could have included but didn’t.