This is a modern live action fairy tale that works as a Christmas movie. Hollywood and television come out with new holiday films each season, so to be interesting a new film should have an original plot. "A Princess for Christmas" does have such a different plot. It's a story with two or three twists that work together nicely.
Katie McGrath plays Jules Daly, a young woman who has taken in her nephew and niece to raise after they lost their parents the previous Christmas. We don't learn how they died, so it's safe to assume it was a car accident. There's also no mention of maternal grandparents – the parents of Katie and her dead sister. So, we have to assume that they too are deceased. That can explain why Katie is the guardian of Milo and Maddie Huntington, played very well by Travis Turner and Leila de Meza.
As Christmas approaches, Jules has just been let go from work in an antique store. She has become something of an expert on antiques, but business has been so slow that the owner reluctantly has to lay her off. She has had a nanny watch the kids during the daytime – its now Christmas vacation. But Milo and Maddie get into mischief. This is a part of the story that doesn't sit quite right. The mischief of Maddie and Milo is everyday type of stuff that most families encounter, but the nanny, Mrs. Kelly can't cope, so she quits. Maria Junghetu plays Mrs. Kelly, but this character is a goof off in the first place. She's sitting down and working puzzles in the newspaper instead of paying attention to the kids.
So, Katie is at wit's end when she gets a knock on her door. She opens the door to Paisley Winterbottom, the butler to the Duke of Castlebury. Miles Richardson is very good and likable as the butler and Roger Moore plays Edward, the Duke. The duke is the grandfather of Milo and Maddie. He disowned his son, Charles, when he married Katie's sister (whose name I don't think we ever learn). It's been years, but now he would like them all to visit him for Christmas at Castlebury Hall. At first, Katie rejects the plane tickets and check for expenses, and the butler expressed the duke's regrets for his past behavior. But, with poor prospects for the rest of the holiday season, Katie finally accepts.
The next we see, they are being driven to Castlebury. We don't know what country this is in, and although everyone speaks English, it's not in England. When one of the three ask the butler where Castlebury is located, he replies "a stone's throw from Liechenstein." That small country (just over 60 square miles) is bordered by Austria on the east and by Switzerland on the north, west and south. So, the fictional Castlebury would likely be located in Switzerland. The filming was done in and around castles in Romania.
As they approach the scenic end of their car ride, Katie tells the kids that they can't break anything in this place. They meet the staff, the duke and his other son (their uncle), Ashton, Prince of Castlebury (played by Sam Heughan). The rest of the story is peppered with comedy as the duke adjusts to his grandkids and their aunt. And as a romance buds between Katie and Ashton, the fairy tale story unfolds with the kids from this point relegated to small appearances. One can guess the ending easily enough.
It's a nice and enjoyable film because the plot is different and refreshing. And, although the adjustment of the duke and his crowd to the ways of less formal lower class Americans, seems a bit contrived, the acting overall is quite good. McGrath is a fine actress and the kids are very good. Heughan is very good as the prince, and most of the staff are very good. Roger Moore seemed to be having fun, perhaps overdoing it some, maybe even adding a little ham. That's all the more reason I think most people will enjoy this film.