Reminiscent of the 2001 American movie The Princess Diaries, this “Surprise! You’re royalty!” Kdrama, My Princess, is a fun, romantic look at what happens when a regular college student suddenly finds out she’s the great-granddaughter of the Joseon Dynasty’s last Emperor.
Chairman Park Dong-Hae, owner of the tremendously huge conglomerate Daehan Group, is trying to locate someone named Lee Seol. His secretary sends the chairman’s diplomat grandson, Park Hae-Young, on a mission to find her but doesn’t tell him why his grandfather is so desperate to see her. When Hae-Young locates the young woman he’s surprised to discover it’s a girl he already knows by a different name. Is it possible she knows who he is and is after his money? Or could it be that his grandfather is trying to locate a long-lost illegitimate daughter and this girl is really his aunt! When Lee Seol is brought to Chairman Park he tells her she is the last living heir to the throne and he desperately wants to introduce her to the world with her rightful title, Her Highness Princess Lee Seol. If the people of Korea vote to acknowledge her as royalty and restore the monarchy (nothing political) he will give his entire fortune to the Royal foundation to use on the citizens of Korea. But Hae-Young doesn’t share his grandfather’s enthusiasm. He’s smart enough to know if that happens he would loose his entire inheritance. In order to keep an eye on the princess situation the president gives Hae-Young a new job – teach Lee Seol the ways of royalty. But that simple assignment is going to require a lot more than Hae-Young bargained for. If he’s not careful he just may end up loosing his inheritance, and his heart, to the new princess.
Handsome diplomat Park Hae-Young hasn’t seen his father since he was a young child. Chairman Park sent him away and won’t allow him to step foot in Korea again. What could have happened to cause such a division between father and son? Hae-Young plans on marrying his grandfather’s secretary’s daughter, Oh Yoon-Joo, but not without his inheritance.
Lee Seol is an energetic college student with a huge crush on her professor. She hardly remembers anything about her childhood before she ended up in an orphanage. She was adopted, along with another girl, and grew up in a humble family. Her mother rents out rooms in their home, which they call The Sunshine Pension. There’s absolutely nothing about her personality that would make you think she’s royalty.
Nam Jung-Woo is an art history professor who has been searching for years for certain artifacts having to do with the royal family. He has worked hand in hand with his first love, Yoon-Joo, on the project and naturally feels hurt and betrayed when she locates something they had been working on together and doesn’t tell him about it so she can get all the glory for herself. He supports his former student, Lee Seol, as the Royal Princess and ends up working for her.
Oh Yoon-Joo is a scheming, selfish, greedy woman who runs the art history museum owned by the Daehan Group. She and Jung-Woo have been in love for ten years, however, she plans to marry Hae-Young for the prestige and money. She is only out for herself and is as evil minded as a person can get. She takes advantage of Chairman Park’s kindness, becoming the head of the Royal foundation. In other words, she’s the person in charge. Her goal?… secretly stop the restoration of the monarchy at all costs so Hae-Young doesn’t loose his inheritance.
Park Hae-Young is played by Song Seung-Heon. He made it big with the first of the season-themed Endless Love Kdramas, Autumn in My Heart. That show solidified his popularity all over Asia making him a beloved Hallyu Wave star. Since then he has made films in Japan and Hong Kong as well as Korea.
Kim Tae-Hee was discovered while riding on a subway and began her career as a model before going into acting. Before she became bubbly Princess Lee Seol she was a tough-as-nails NSS agent in the outstanding Kdrama hit Iris. Complete opposite character roles and she does them both beautifully.
Ryu Soo-Young is the first character Nam Jung-Woo played after his release from mandatory military service as a member of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency. I like him much better in this than as the scheming, obsessed bad guy in the (ridiculous, but enjoyable) Kdrama Save the Last Dance for Me.
Park Ye-Jin does a great job as “the bad guy” Oh Yoon-Joo. She made her acting debut with a horror film and then went on to be in TV dramas, feature films, variety shows, and music videos – one of which is Rain’s Because of You. Lucky gal.
There were two things that really bugged me about this drama. The first is pretty trivial but irritating, none the less – Lee Seol’s hair accessories. They gave her humongous bows and clips that were half the size of her head! Was it to replace a tiara? Make her look rich? Was that a normal 2011 thing for girls’ hair? It just looked silly and cumbersome. The other thing that I wasn’t happy with was that the bad girl did so many despicable, horrible things but then she’s kind of forgiven in the end. What? That irritates me more than when a person leaves their lover just in case they might possibly hurt them somewhere down the road. How often, in all reality, does someone stay on decent terms with the person that deceived and plotted against them? Ridiculous! But, other than hair clips and naively forgiving the wicked witch, My Princess is very enjoyable.
The music is mostly subtle instrumental stuff that compliments a scene, not a lot of singing. The scenery, however is very nice. The two places where Lee Seol lives are vastly different from each other. The palace is huge with tons of rooms decorated with the best furniture, and there’s even a small museum inside. The best feature is the entrance hall where there is a large fountain. It kind of looks like a fancy park is right in the middle of her living quarters. The Sunshine Pension definitely lacks the “wow” of the palace but it has an appealing, cozy, “home sweet home” feel to it.
Even though this is an older show (aired in 2011) the 16 hours you’ll spend watching My Princess is certainly not wasted. It’s a fun romantic Kdrama that’s a definite must see for Song Seung-Heon and Kim Tae-Hee fans.
Chemistry between Hae-Young and Lee Seol
Gigantic hair bows and clips
The rotten girl being (kind of) forgiven