The royal love story that captivated the world, when Prince William married Catherine Middleton in a modern day fairy tale wedding in London this spring, has been turned into a movie for the Hallmark Channel. It is totally charming and focuses on how the sweet young couple met at school, and follows their friendship, then dating relationship, up until Will proposes in a very private way – but with style. Royal watchers will delight in the princely tale of true love.
Filmmaker Linda Yellen (Playing for Time) wrote, produced and directed William & Catherine: A Royal Romance, which premieres August 27 exclusively on the Hallmark Channel.
“I researched everything very, very carefully, and everything has multiple sources of material in public domain, as well as first hand interviews with people who have traveled in those circles,” Yellen explains about the source material for her script to insure getting the finer points right.
A stellar cast was assembled to make it come alive. Newcomer Dan Amboyer plays Prince William, aka “Wills,” and the 23-year-old lovely English rose Alice St. Clair plays “Kate.” They are supported by Jane Alexander as Queen Elizabeth II, Victor Garber as Prince Charles, Jean Smart as Camilla, Mark Penfold as Prince Philip, and Stanley Eldridge as fun-loving Prince Harry.
At the recent TV press tour, it was surprising to learn that the Detroit-born Dan Amboyer easily won the role of the future king of England. He says it was beneficial to have seen so much of the prince on TV, with the wedding footage, documentaries and interviews that Wills has done. “I had an opportunity to learn a bit about him before taking it on. I’m from Detroit, not exactly Buckingham Palace, so I worked on the accent a bit.” He credits the British actors in the cast for helping him sound authentic.
Amboyer says the challenge was “to know who these people are and really respect them. To try not to mimic them, and not to play them as caricatures just from the snapshots we’ve seen from the media. To find a way to connect with what we know is true, and create our own interpretations.”
Alice St. Clair actually has a royal connection since her father works for the queen’s security detail. She reveals that he didn’t give her any pointers because “he’s a very discreet man and doesn’t talk about his job.” St. Clair says she didn’t know a lot about Kate so she “had to call upon things I’m going through in my life that might be similar in a way.” The result is an engaging portrayal.
Victor Garber is a Broadway veteran, but is probably best known for his Irish shipbuilder film role in Titanic, plus his television roles in Alias, Eli Stone, and recently guest-starring on Glee as Will’s father. In A Royal Romance he plays Wills’ father Prince Charles, and although Garber has never met the royal family, he admits he’s fascinated by them. “I was born in London, Ontario, and as a kid, I remember when Queen Elizabeth came to our town and I saw her drive by in a car. It was kind of a momentous occasion for me.”
Garber likes the way the Hallmark film “does an enormous service to the royal family. It attempts to kind of humanize them, and show how William and Kate have had an enormously positive effect.” When the royal couple went to Canada, and then went on to visit Los Angeles this summer, Garber says he was impressed with the way they charmed everyone. “They seemed so poised and comfortable in their roles. I loved the way they handled the whole thing.”
Among Yellen’s previous impressive credits, she did The Royal Romance of Charles & Diana, one of the most popular TV movies of all time. Yellen says, “Thirty years ago when I made The Royal Romance of Charles & Diana, I got to meet Princess Diana. She did see it, and she was quite fond of it. I have every reason to believe the same thing will happen [that Wills and Kate will see the new movie]. In our extensive research, what I tried to do is show the audience a different side, to reveal certain things about the royals that you haven’t seen before. It’s with an eye not just to be telling the story about specific people, but a story that we all can relate to with our own families. I think these actors bring that to life.”