It’s been a crazy few years since Stacy De Novo traveled to Belgravia for a baking competition in The Princess Switch. Upon arriving, she realized the local prince’s fiancée was her lookalike.
Stacy and Lady Margaret switched places so that Margaret could have a taste of normal life before marrying Prince Edward, a man she hardly knew.
Instead, Margaret fell in love with Stacy’s best friend (and sous chef) Kevin. And Stacy herself fell in love with the prince. Luckily, the guys were just as in love with the ladies. So Stacy and Edward married.
Two years later, the gals swapped again in The Princess Switch 2 so that Margaret and Kevin could spend some quality time together before Margaret’s coronation in her homeland of Montenaro.
Only this time, Margaret’s cousin—another lookalike—Fiona, had the same idea. She kidnaps the woman she believes to be her kin (really Stacy in disguise) so that she can have a shot at the throne instead.
Fiona was caught and sentenced to community service (because Margaret didn’t believe in punishing family too harshly), and she’s been there ever since.
Now, Princess Stacy and Queen Margaret are planning a Christmas festival to rival all others. There are dignitaries visiting from countries around the world. And the Vatican has even generously loaned one of its prized possessions, the Star of Peace, to be the pinnacle of their Christmas-tree lighting ceremony.
But shortly after locking the priceless relic (which once belonged to St. Nicholas himself) in a museum vault, it’s stolen.
The police and Interpol are at a loss, with no leads. But the doppelgangers have an idea. Who better to catch a criminal than a fellow criminal?
Pulling some royal strings, they arrange for Fiona to take a break from her community service in order to help them. And pretty soon, the three lookalike women are swapping places all over again.
Forgiveness is an important theme here. Stacy is reluctant to forgive Fiona for kidnapping her. She believes the woman deserves to go to prison for her treason. However, Margaret leads by example, giving her cousin the benefit of a doubt, trusting her to help them and not to abuse their kindness. And when push comes to shove, Stacy and Edward take drastic measures to ensure that Fiona doesn’t wind up in prison.
These acts of forgiveness are then reciprocated by Fiona. We learn that when she was a child, her mother, Bianca, was constantly absent. It made Fiona feel that she wasn’t worthy of being loved. As a result, whenever she would get close to someone, she would simply run away. (And we see how Fiona hurt her ex-boyfriend, Peter, by running away when she started to fall in love with him.)
But Bianca reaches out to Fiona to apologize. And just when it seems that Fiona will abandon her mother the way that Bianca abandoned her, she decides to forgive her and stop running from the people who care about her most. Fiona also makes up with Peter, apologizing for the hurt she caused him.
We learn that Peter has also embraced the spirit of forgiveness. Because in addition to forgiving Fiona, he notes how forgiving his own father for abandoning him as a child allowed them to spend the last few days of his father’s life together.
The two married couples we see here have strong relationships built on trust. Though both couples began as the result of deception, they’ve learned from their mistakes. And now, they tackle every problem (big and small) together.
When a boy and girl are left alone over Christmas, they bond and become friends, promising to always be there for each other even when their families aren’t. Several people put themselves at risk of being arrested (or worse) to save their friends. Fiona constantly bickers with her two best friends, but it’s clear the trio loves each other. A church official commends Margaret and Stacy for being so involved in their charity work rather than taking credit for the hard work of others.
We see a cardinal and several priests arrive from the Vatican. There is mention of the Pope. Fiona’s community service takes place at a convent under the supervision of several nuns. There are several crucifixes at the convent as well as a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Someone says, “We are all God’s children.” There is a joke about purgatory. We hear about someone being excommunicated from the church. A man tells Margaret that when they light the Christmas tree with the Star of Peace on top, the eyes of the world and of God will be upon them.
A mysterious, Santa-like character from the first two films makes a reappearance, showing up when people are in need. A woman mentions an ashram.
We see several couples kiss lovingly. Margaret is forced to dance with and kiss a man that is not her husband while disguised as Fiona. The man also tries to get her to accompany him upstairs. Two couples tango (which is a very sensual dance). Fiona and her ex-boyfriend, Peter, share several intimate moments. (At one point, they huddle up under a desk together, holding each other to avoid detection.)
Fiona and Bianca make several flirtatious comments to Kevin and Edward. Some of these comments are a bit objectifying. Stacy notes that it is disrespectful since they are married men. Fiona also makes suggestive comments about her former boyfriends, saying she had a “steamy” with one.
Fiona’s mannerisms and speech can be a bit risqué overall. She suggests painting something “naughty” onto snowmen. She also sits in the lap of a man pretending to be Santa and the two talk a bit suggestively about being naughty or nice.
Fiona and a few other women wear short skirts and showy tops. We see the naked rear end of a statue.
A man roughly grabs a woman’s wrist. We hear that a man makes people disappear permanently when they cause him problems. We learn that Fiona’s father was “cruel” to her mother, with the implication that he abused her.
A man is shown with his neck, arm and leg in braces after falling off a roof. A woman gets dragged by a large dog and crashes through a hedge. Several people are tossed around the back of a van while it speeds around.
Someone casually mentions that thieves were tarred and feathered.
We hear a few uses of “d–n” and “h—.” There are also a few uses of the British expletive “bloody.” Someone starts saying, “What the—?!” but doesn’t finish the phrase. People are called “idiots.” God’s name is misused five times. Someone exclaims, “What in heaven’s name.”
People drink throughout. Fiona makes it clear that she loves alcohol. Someone says an event’s eggnog was spiked. Someone jokes about elves smoking mistletoe. We hear that some guards were drugged to knock them out.
The group learns that the Star of Peace was stolen by a rich, well-connected hotel tycoon (who also happens to be an old flame of Fiona’s). They decide to keep any information they find to themselves since revealing it to the wrong person could tip the crook off and result in the Star disappearing forever. (They are also advised by police to not tell the Vatican emissaries about the theft, since it might have been an inside job.)
The group decides that since they can’t go to the police, they’ll have to steal the Star back. And while their actions are technically noble, they lie, hack into classified files, break into the man’s house and steal the Star. They also lie to the disciplinary committee that regulates Fiona’s community service.
Fiona’s friends steal several items while visiting Margaret’s palace. Edward inadvertently makes Margaret feel worse about the Star’s disappearance while recounting an incident when Belgravia’s crown jewels were stolen. It’s hinted that a man steals a dog. We hear that Peter’s reputation was sullied after he was falsely accused of stealing a diamond.
A nun is rude to Fiona. It’s clear the nuns want Fiona to be released from community service not because they care about her but because they are tired of her. A man cruelly threatens to fire several employees for circumstances beyond their control (and he eventually goes through on this, sacking a woman on Christmas).
Edward says he enjoys the “skullduggery” they’ve been involved in. A man panics when an alarm sounds and tries to abandon his friends. Someone admits he skipped school a lot as a kid because he hated it. A woman says she used to steal trinkets from her school and pretend they were presents from her mom on Christmas.
Let’s be honest, most of us probably wouldn’t employ a “woman who, with the help of her cohorts, masqueraded as you in an attempt to take over the country.”
But Stacy and Margaret aren’t most people. They’re a princess and a queen. And more importantly, they’re forgiving.
And that’s the main takeaway from The Princess Switch 3. We should always forgive, because “we never know how much time we have left with the people we care about,” and we don’t want to waste it.
There’s some minor language and sensuality here, as well as a fair bit of deception. But like its predecessors, the latest Princess Switch movie is mostly sweet, romantic and fun. And that makes it the type of movie that will have fans of this Netflix franchise once again going “awe” by the end.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.