First comes love, then comes marriage, and now a baby’s on the way for A Christmas Prince.
Netflix’s holiday movie franchise starring Rose McIver and Ben Lamb is back for a third time with A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, as Queen Amber and King Richard are about to become parents together — and find out what comes after the happily-ever-after.
The festive new film (streaming now) returns to the fictional nation of Aldovia, where the royal couple are preparing for the arrival of their first child while also trying to solve a mystery with potential supernatural consequences. That’s a lot for any couple dealing with impending parenthood, but throw in some political strife as a sacred 600-year-old truce is threatened and you’ve got yourself a dramatic new installment of the Yuletide series.
EW spoke with McIver and Lamb about why they wanted to come back for a third go-round, what fans can expect from the higher stakes, and more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you both decide to return for a third Christmas Prince movie?
ROSE McIVER: I was honored that they asked me to do another one, that people were interested and excited as much about this series to ask for it. So to me it was a great chance to go back and work with people I had grown to really love and respect. We get to film these very ludicrous and wild and fun and heartwarming holiday movies in the middle of these beautiful snowy mountains in Romania, so the pieces were all there and it’s just made perfect sense.
BEN LAMB: I remember when the offer came through for the third one, I was with an actor friend of mine. And he said, “You simply have to take it. Everyone’s really enjoying it.” And frankly, I have had the best experience working on this because the cast is so wonderful to work with, the crew are amazing, and it’s simply so rare to have an experience like this.
McIVER: Honestly, that’s such a big part of it. It is so rare to have something that strikes and that people enjoy, and you kind of have to be a little bit mad not to want to be a part of something that is so enjoyed by people. I’ve done enough that nobody sees that I enjoy in a different way, but to have something which has a great following and if people look forward to, it’s a privilege to be asked to come back.
There are so many holiday movies made every year, thanks to Netflix and Lifetime and Hallmark. But why do you think this franchise has been so successful that you’ve been able to make three instead of just being a one-off?
LAMB: I think we were successful because Rose and I have a great chemistry, and I think that comes across on screen. And when I first read the script for the first one, that it wasn’t exactly like all the holiday movies that I had seen before — it had a real sense of heart. And we were really fortuitous with what was happening with the British royals at the time between Harry and Meghan, because that really helped shine a light on something that a lot of people hadn’t seen before that we portrayed on screen.
McIVER: It is something that is very heightened, it can be very melodramatic and quite outlandish. But people were still willing to invest in the story. These characters could have been a bunch of archetypes, but while having a sense of humor about things, we had a bunch of people who were able to really connect with each character. It surprised us all as much as everyone else, but I think people just want to feel good right now. We have so much bad news, and to have a bunch of people who are letting you off the hook really for a couple of hours, letting you believe in a fairy tale, believe in something outside some of the upsetting issues around you, I get why the rise of Twitter feeds and the kind of access we have to terrible news, that there would be a rise in trying to counter that with something that makes you feel good. So I think it was timing as well on that.
Back when you were working on the first one, did you ever imagine you’d get the chance to come back for a second or even third movie?
McIVER: We had no idea. I thought I’d never see these guys again! [Laughs] I thought we were together for a limited time, but then we got the call that we were coming back. All jokes aside, it can be hard when you build a group of people that you really like and then you’re ripped away and you don’t get to see them again, when you think you might actually be on literally another continent and not see them again. So once it became this thing that we were coming back the second time, nobody quite anticipated that there would be a third, but we were hopeful by that point that we built relationships that we could maintain. So I was so happy we got to get together with my gang again. I’ve got to say, if we don’t come back in any capacity in the future, I will fully miss getting together with this gang because it’s a great bunch of people.
LAMB: One of the best things about working on this is not only our interactions with each other on screen, but also off screen with the other cast and crew. And we actually got some new additions in the form of the Penglian royal family. We all had such a great time.
We saw Amber and Richard meet and fall in love in the first movie. And then we saw them get their happily ever after when they got married in the second film. So how are they handling Amber’s pregnancy and their impending parenthood now?
LAMB: It’s funny, you actually get to see their fears around Queen Amber’s pregnancy. As much as they want to remain perfect, it’s hard for both of them. King Richard can be a little bit overprotective and not allow this highly capable woman, soon-to-be mother, the space and the freedom that she needs to be her best self. And we also haven’t seen in any of the previous films the supernatural elements like with the curse, and them working together to overcome another trying obstacle.
McIVER: I think it’s interesting you consider him to be overbearing. I get the sentiment, but you clearly are invested in King Richard and at the moment you’re being self-deprecating. I think that it’s actually really sweet. It’s very endearing that he kind of can’t help himself, he cares so much. And he wants everything to go right and he wants her to be healthy. I think it’s kind of nice. That’s how he should be more on screen where we see the limitations, the flaws. He’s not this perfect thing, he’s a real human, and so is she. Amber is who she is, which can be charming and can be incredibly aggravating, sure, but we get to see their dynamic as a couple after they were in the honeymoon period, literally, in the first two films. You get to see how domestic life is for them, and how they actually operate together. I find it quite a lovely peek behind the curtain you don’t often see in a royal family or royal story.
You don’t really get to see that after the happy ending in romantic holiday movies, either.
McIVER: Exactly! You get to see the reality and the sweetness that comes after finally getting together as a couple.
This movie also features a fun whodunnit plot as Amber and Richard attempt to solve the mystery of who steals an ancient peace treaty artifact keeping a 600-year-old truce intact between Aldovia and a visiting nation’s royal family. What can you tease about that aspect of the story?
McIVER: It does get very surprising how up-until-the-11th-hour the mystery-solving gets. I haven’t had a child myself, but I can imagine you probably don’t want to be bothered with having to solve something like that at that kind of ungodly time, while she’s in labor. Our movie combines the mystery and the supernatural elements with the very physiological, when she’s giving birth. [Laughs] There’s no doubt that people will be surprised by how that plays out.