In The Princess Switch, Vanessa Hudgens plays both a duchess and a commoner in a mixed-identity movie that's timed for the holidays. One of the women, Margaret, is the Duchess of Montenaro, which, if you're wondering, is not a real place. The other woman, Stacy, is a baker who lives in Chicago. When Stacy travels to the fictional land of Belgravia to partake in a baking competition put on by the royal family, Stacy and Margaret cross paths and then switch places. The whole story sounds like a perfect fairytale-like situation, so it's only right that the settings should be fairytale-like places.
Spoilers ahead for The Princess Switch and The Princess Switch: Switched Again.
So technically "Montenero" is the name of a village in Italy. But it's safe to say that the important duchess in The Princess Switch doesn't come from there, but instead an important territory of her own. In The Princess Switch, Margaret is set to marry the Belgravia’s prince, played by Sam Palladio, though he ends up choosing Stacy instead. Margaret in turn falls in love with Stacy’s friend Kevin, though the two become estranged in the film’s sequel, The Princess Switch: Switched Again, when Margaret prepares to become Queen of Montenaro following the death of the King. In the sequel, Hudgens plays a third character, Margaret’s cousin Fiona who conspires to take the throne for herself.
So Is Belgravia A Real Place?
Almost all the action in the two films unfolds in Belgravia, which sounds a lot like Belgrade, a real city that is the capital of Serbia. However, the movie's kingdom of Belgravia is not real a real place, though a neighbourhood of that name does exist in London, and it’s one of the richest boroughs in the UK.
Nevertheless, if Belgravia sounds familiar, it might be because of "Aldovia," which was the name of the fictional European country central to Netflix's royal-themed Christmas movie from 2017, A Christmas Prince. With Aldovia and Belgravia it’s hard not wonder if Netflix's original movies are referencing the most iconic of all made-up countries with monarchies: The Princess Diaries' Genovia. While Aldovia and Montenaro may not have their own iconic anthems like Genovia's, they do make beautiful backdrops for the Netflix's original Christmas movies, and they used some magical locations to film in.
What Film Locations Were Used To Create Montenaro & Belgravia?
In 2017, The Washington Post confirmed that A Christmas Prince used the Peles Castle in Romania as the opulent setting in the film, and parts of The Princess Switch were filmed in the same country. Specifically, the town of Carei served as a location for The Princess Switched, with Karoly Castle serving as the royal palace in Belgravia. Meanwhile, much of The Princess Switch: Switched Again many was filmed in Scotland, with locations like Parliament Square in Edinburgh and Glasgow Cathedral used to recreate the scenery of Belgravia and Montenaro.
Between the mistaken identities, the romance, the royalty, and the cake-baking competition, there's a lot to love about The Princess Switch franchise, which is probably why Netflix announced a thirst instalment in late 2020. Per Entertainment Tonight, filming will begin in Scotland with the intention that the third instalment drops during the 2021 Holiday period.
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