Princess Amelia is first in line to the throne of Bundbury, that ascension sooner than later in her widowed mother, Queen Ava, already having made known her intention imminently to abdicate. While Amelia accepts her responsibility, she has not much liked her lack of freedom over the course of her life in wanting to experience some of it without the strict royal protocols. That experience extends to romance in wanting whatever eventual matrimonial match to be borne not out of royal arrangement but rather out of love, which she feels can only happen in that freedom of experiencing life. In that vein, she wants at least to discover if a connection she made with Chicago-based artist Wes Riverton, who was commissioned to paint her portrait, could be love, the weeks of portrait sittings which only gave each the idea that they are attracted to each other and want to continue to see each other, something that the protective Queen, if she knew, would probably not allow. Under the guise of celebrating with her maternal Uncle Andreas on his birthday in his home base of Beverly Hills, he the Bundbury emissary to the US, Amelia plans to escape the watchful eyes not only of her mother and her uncle while in Los Angeles, but also Grady Beck, the bodyguard her uncle assigns to her, to travel to Chicago to reunite with Wes. While she knows that her secretary Camille is on her side, Amelia is surprised to learn that her uncle is a romantic at heart and allows her to go, unknown to the Queen, with an initially reluctant Grady assigned as her bodyguard/escort/driver. The road trip may provide the Princess exactly what she wants, that freedom, however, showing her a different part of life than she was expecting with Grady as her guide. —HuggoHallmark is on a nice winning streak. I’m tired of plots involving royals, but this is one of the better ones. The opening shot of a beautiful foreign coastline is actually a scenic view of one of the Azores islands, nearly 1,000 miles off the coast of Portugal. For a moment, I thought the fictitious location was called Northeast Phillipa after I saw that on the screen, but then I figured out that Phillipa Northeast was actually the name of the actress who played Princess Amelia, and that the latest fake country name was Bundbury. I knew nothing about Phillipa (she’s an Aussie actress with few film credits) but she was lovely to watch as she becomes aware of her feelings, interacts kindly with others, and experiences things she had never experienced before as a sheltered princess. The scenes in front of a fire at the B&B and at an outside camp fire were effective in showing how she and Grady (played by Brant Daugherty) were “warming up” to each other and I liked the family reunion that she suggested. The artist, however, seemed a little too blasé about having a sweet beautiful princess interested in him. I would have gone to L. A. as soon as I found out Amelia was there.And, once again, Hallmark included a gay character who was presented in a matter of fact positive way. He’s a character (played engagingly by Vincent Gale) who just happens to be gay, just like a character may happen to be Black or Asian. I applaud Hallmark’s more inclusive approach to making movies. It’s very healthy.I also like it when Hallmark movies show two people really getting to know each other before falling in love. People can learn a lot about each other during long road trips even though I acknowledge that setting up such road trips, with people who have just met each other, usually requires some outlandish plot contrivances. But here, the set up didn’t seem all that outlandish. That’s due to some surprisingly good writing by Jake Helgren, who wrote and directed one of the worst Hallmark movies that I’ve ever seen (Save the Wedding).I’m looking forward to seeing Phillipa Northeast in another Hallmark movie soon.
Stars : Philippa Northeast, Brant Daugherty, Sarah-Jane Redmond, Philippa Northeast, Brant Daugherty, Sarah-Jane Redmond
Genre : Romance