Although Disney and Marvel have plenty of exceptions when it comes to sequels that are better than their predecessors, it’s not typically common for a film sequel to surpass the first movie in quality. However, the cozy royal Christmas rom-com series that Vanessa Hudgens stars in, called The Princess Switch, is a film trilogy that has surprised many audience members! The first movie, The Princess Switch, premiered on Netflix in 2018 just in time for the holiday season–and this fluffy Christmas movie is exactly as romantic, lighthearted, and Christmassy as a romcom fan could want! Netflix’s initial inspiration for the Princess Switch movies was most likely the success of its first royal Christmas romcom series: A Christmas Prince (which premiered on Netflix in 2016) as well as its sequels, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018) and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (2019).
The first Princess Switch movie follows two of Vanessa Hudgens’ characters, Stacy DeNovo (a Chicago baker) and Lady Margaret Delacourt (the Duchess of Montenaro). In The Princess Switch, Stacy and Margaret switch places after they meet at a baking competition in Belgravia and discover that they look identical (presumably due to a shared ancestor). Margaret convinces Stacy to switch places so that she can try out a normal life before her arranged marriage to Prince Edward of Belgravia (who is played by Sam Palladio), but when Stacy falls in love with Prince Edward while pretending to be Margaret and Margaret falls in love with Stacy’s friend Kevin (played by Nick Sagar) while pretending to be Stacy, romantic Christmas hijinks ensue!
The second movie, Princess Switch: Switched Again, premiered on Netflix in 2019. Since the sequel involves the same elements that usually suit the cozy fluffy royal Christmas rom-com genre (i.e. a handsome prince, ballgowns, and a castle at Christmastime), it’s still very entertaining, and Vanessa Hudgens continues to impress as she manages to bring emotional depth to multiple characters. Vanessa’s role expanded in this movie further, because she also played Margaret’s cousin Lady Fiona Pembroke. Lady Fiona carries out a plot to kidnap Margaret and switch places with her before her coronation so that Fiona can take the throne–but of course, there’s a happy ending anyway!
If you loved the royal hijinks and Christmas romances of the first two movies, then you’ll still be pleased with the newest movie in the series, which is The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star. This movie premiered earlier in 2021 and focuses more on Lady Fiona Pembroke than Stacy DeNovo or Queen Margaret of Montenaro. In the film, Queen Margaret and Stacy (who is now Princess Stacy of Belgravia) have united to host an international holiday festival. But when the sacred Star of Peace is stolen before the festival, Margaret and Stacy must recruit Lady Fiona and her love interest Peter Maxwell (played by Remy Hii) to get it back!
Vanessa Hudgens brings a lot of emotion and depth to Lady Fiona, making her relationship with her mother and her relationship with Peter feel almost painfully tender, and the movie veers more towards a comedic caper than a Christmas romcom sometimes. There is an entertaining princess switch again, but it feels too short! While Lady Fiona is charismatic, funny, and striking, fans would probably still have liked to see more of Stacy and Margaret instead. The potential for a TV series spinoff is strong with this series, since there are plenty of lighthearted royal crises and romantic plot points to explore further, so perhaps we’ll see more of this trio! For now, though, the Princess Switch movies can suffice for your fix of fluffy royal Christmas romcom goodness.