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THE PRINCE AND ME

Creating A Regal Setting
Many of the film's most important scenes take place in the Royal Palace. and after extensive research and scouting, director Martha Coolidge and production designer James Spencer decided to model the palace for the film after Denmark's Fredericksburg Castle. Originally built in the Renaissance style in the twelfth century, the storybook castle has acquired a number of different looks over the years. from Baroque to nineteenth century, thereby providing Spencer with a broad range of choices. In fact, for the interiors — with over 900 castles and chateaux in the Czech Republic — he had his pick of stunning architectural genres to create Prince Edvard's ancestral home. After numerous scouts throughout the Czech countryside, he found the predominant style — and the one he finally chose — to be Baroque. But despite the wealth of magnificent historic treasures, it quickly became apparent that no one location alone would fulfill the film's needs and, in the end, Spencer employed two castles, two chateaux and one monastery to create the family palace.

Filming during one of the worst heat waves to hit Europe in several hundred years, the cast and crew traveled from their home base in Prague to the Lednice-Valtice region where they would begin shooting the scenes depicting life in the Royal Palace. Situated approximately three hours from Prague, near the Czech-Austrian border, the region supplied two of the five locations that would represent the family palace. The Valtice Chateau, occupied by generations of the Liechtenstein family, was used as the setting for many of the palace rooms, including the king's study and chambers, the queen's study, Edvard's bedroom and the state dining room. But for its lack of air-conditioning, the chateaux, which was beautifully restored in the ‘60s and is described in guidebooks as "a pearl of Baroque architecture," could still be a truly majestic residence for any royal family.

Two other Baroque estates, Ploskovice Castle and Libochovice Castle, provided the filmmakers with such Royal Palace locations as the Queen's Vault, Paige's bedroom, the grand ballroom where the coronation ball was held, as well as a number of palace exteriors. And just a few miles from Valtice, an exquisite glasshouse located on the park-like grounds of the Lednice Chateau provided the romantic setting for Prince Edvard's proposal to Paige.

Back in Prague, two libraries housed in the Strahov Monastery, originally built in the twelfth century and reconstructed in the Baroque style in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, doubled as the Royal Palace library and the Danish Parliamentary Chambers. The older of the two, the Baroque-styled Theological Hall, stood in for the Royal Palace library. With its magnificent frescoes depicting scenes that illustrate the conflict between knowledge and religion, the famous hall is also home to a collection of over 16,000 volumes of theological literature dating back to the ninth century. The slightly newer Philosophical Hall, completed in the Renaissance manner in 1792, is joined to the Theological Hall by a long corridor, and it stood in as the Danish Parliamentary Chambers.

In addition to its charming cobblestone streets, which provided settings for many of the film's exterior scenes, Prague yielded a number of other majestic locations, including the city's largest architectural complex after Prague Castle, the Klementinum. A vast complex of Baroque and rococo halls built by the Jesuits as their college in 1653, and part of Charles University since 1773, the Klementinum's beautiful Chapel of Mirrors provided the location for Prince Edvard's coronation. Other Prague locations included the monolithic Cerninsky Palace, which currently houses the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Suchdol University; Prague City Hall; and one of the grandest squares in the city, Hradcanska Namesti, the site of the royal procession where, in true fairy-tale style, an

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