‘A Royal Christmas Holiday,’ by Fred Olen Ray, introduces us to Katie, a news reporter looking to host her own special and tell stories that make a difference. A new naval museum is opening in town, and an elusive foreign prince is flying in to inaugurate it as one of the sponsors. Since he has declined all interviews, her boss wants Katie to secure an exclusive, and in doing so, climb her way up to having her own show. Prince Jonathan is looking for excitement and upon being approached by Katie, agrees to an informal interview to send a positive and uplifting message for Christmas.
The two begin to travel together for their respective work, and mutual attraction begins to blossom into a burgeoning romance. They walk the festive snow-covered streets, visit a cafe, stroll marketplaces, and dedicate the naval museum to the Prince’s late grandfather. Witnessing the romance develop, backdropped by a merrily decorated cityscape, you may wonder where filming for ‘A Royal Christmas Holiday’ took place, and who are the actors breathing life into it.
Where Was A Royal Christmas Holiday Filmed?
‘A Royal Christmas Holiday’ was filmed entirely in the western New York city of Buffalo. Principal photography began in late January 2023 and was wrapped up by February 9, 2023. During shooting, the movie was tentatively titled ‘A Royal Christmas on the Air.’ Although it bears resemblance to ION’s 2022 film, ‘A Prince and Pauper Christmas,’ starring the same leads, ‘A Royal Christmas Holiday’ is a unique title of the GAF channel. Let’s take a closer look at the sites chosen for setting the scenes of the Christmas romance.
Buffalo, New York
Situated at the bank of Niagara River and Lake Erie, Buffalo became the primary filming location for ‘A Royal Christmas Holiday.’ At the lakefront, Buffalo harbors USS The Sullivans DD-537, a Fletcher-class Destroyer, which was used in the filming of the movie. The World War 2 ship is docked at Buffalo Naval Park, a museum that was also a part of the holiday film’s backdrops, portraying the naval museum being inaugurated by Prince Jonathan. The historical exhibition also houses tanks, jets, two other ships, and various antiques, normally being open to the public for tours.
A large part of the exterior and shopping district shots for the holiday flick were lensed along Main Street in East Aurora. The area stakes its claim to the birth of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. The shopping district is a blend of old-fashioned stores and newer cafes and restaurants. Filming was carried out throughout Main Street, and for shooting scenes in a shop, Vidler’s 5 & 10 variety store was utilized. The cast and crew were seen filming outside the shop, and within, as it bustled with extras posing as customers.
The quaint store became an everyday backdrop to contrast the Prince’s usual royal lifestyle as he explored the city with Katie, and began to feel the excitement he was craving. The Blasdell village area within Erie County also features in a few scenes of the movie. To lens shots of the couple dining at a glamorous establishment, the festively decorated Ilio DiPaolo’s restaurant was commandeered by the film crew. The family-owned restaurant’s ringside lounge became a favored shooting spot within the establishment, with its artistic backdrop, and warm decor.
A Royal Christmas Holiday Cast
The GAF Christmas film features an assortment of talented and seasoned actors. Brittany Underwood and Jonathan Stoddard headline the film and have previously worked together on ‘A Prince and Pauper Christmas,’ which featured Stoddard in a double role. Brittany Underwood is a multi-talented filmmaker, acting, directing, and producing TV movies. She first gained renown with her role as Langston Wilde in ‘One Life to Live.’ She has gone on to star in productions like ‘The Bay,’ ‘The Goldbergs,’ and ‘Hollywood Heights.’
Jonathan Stoddard is a prolific actor, starring in a staggering fourteen TV movies in 2022 alone. He has appeared in ‘Black Monday,’ ‘The Young and the Restless,’ and ‘A Royal Christmas on Ice.’ The film also stars veteran actor William Baldwin, known for ‘The Squid and the Whale,’ ‘Sliver,’ and ‘Backdraft.’ Supporting cast members include Charlene Amoia as Marcy, Louie Chapman as Louis, Meredith Thomas as Carol, Caryn Richman as Celeste, Danny Pardo as Chuck, Tuhran Gethers as James, and Peter Johnson as Don the Shopkeeper. Other cast members include Dennis DiPaolo, Aileen Bergin, Mary-Kate O’Connell, Clark Hurlburt, Illio Dipaulo, Glenn Miller, Fred Olen Ray, and Carter Meehan.
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