Prior to the real-life royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in late April 2011 a made-for-TV movie was presented on their romance from another cable network. It was by far superior to the one that premiered Saturday, August 27 on Tampa Bay’s Bright House Networks Channel 68 for the Hallmark Channel. “William & Catherine: A Royal Romance” brought absolutely nothing new to this version. It was almost identical in many ways from the one shown before the wedding. There was one difference, however, the Hallmark Channel movie was mind numbing and slow during the first half.
This two-hour film touched on some poetic licenses and clichés. One example when William and Kate literally bump into one another in the corridor at St. Andrews. How many times has that been portrayed in romantic comedies ad nauseam? Another situation while William is watching a tape of his late mother’s last TV interview, while those were touching scenes, were a bit of a stretch in her monologue. During the couple’s break-up in 2007 Kate and her friend from college attend a concert in the park. Lo and behold who just happens to be in the front row? Why it is Kate Middleton’s Prince Charming whom she immediately recognizes. Their eyes lock on one another and they kiss and make-up for all of the concert attendees.
Thankfully this kitschy movie was redeemed by two quality actors who needed more screen time away from the younger stars. Victor Garber, known for his role in the Oscar-winning film “Titanic”, was cast as Prince Charles, William’s father. Jane Alexander, a fine actress who has starred in many acclaimed feature films and TV movies portraying famous historical American women, was Queen Elizabeth II, William’s grandmother. Alexander’s performance in “A Royal Romance” turned the film around by making it more entertaining.
A couple of memorable scenes involved the Queen playing Nintendo’s Wii with Kate. The Queen was getting into this high-tech game. When Queen Elizabeth announced the musical artists at the 10-year anniversary for the memorial concert of Princess Diana’s it was comical, especially coming to the name “Fergie” of The Black Eyed Peas. She thought it was Sarah “Fergie” Ferguson, her former daughter-in-law. One unforgettable moment occurred between William and his father. William and Harry stumbled in drunk to their father’s home where some heavy words were blurted out.
Jean Smart was Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles. Unfortunately she was a bit disappointing in her role. She did not stand out along with the other veteran actors who stole the show. Alice St. Clair’s performance as Kate Middleton was too cutesy wootsy and giddy for the real life Kate. One critic was spot on when they stated the actress who was Princess Diana looked like she was trapped in a hair helmet. However, the young actors who were Princes William and Harry lit up the screen with their remarkable resemblances. The ending was straight out of a typical Hallmark moment.