마 이 프린세스 (2011) MBC 16 Episodes
Romantic Comedy, Grade: B+

Korean Drama Review by Jill, USA


My Princess (2011) is a lovely, sexy, breezy romantic comedy-fantasy, a la Audrey Hepburn's classic American film "Roman Holiday", starring Kim Tae Hee (from IRIS) and Seung Hun Song (Autumn In My Heart), in which a beautiful college aged student Seol Lee slowly begins to discover that she might actually be the great-granddaughter of the last King of Korea (who in real life was probably murdered by the Japanese).

The Story: Pretty Seol Lee (Kim Tae Hee) had been adopted at a young age and had very few memories of her childhood before she was adopted by her mother Da-bok Kim (Ye-jin Im), who owns a bed and breakfast inn outside of Seoul. As she is sucked into a huge political movement that wants to re-establish the monarchy in Korea she has to give up her old normal life and assimilate into a new royal life, pretty much isolated from the world in a huge palatial estate in the country.


The large conglomerate Daehan Group's founder Dong-Jae Park (veteran actor Soon-jae Lee from Stars Falling From The Sky), who wants to re-establish the monarchy, has a grandson who is the handsome Hae-young Park (Seung Hun Song, looking not a day older than he did in 2000's Autumn In My Heart), a diplomat and publicist who is put in charge of tutoring Seol Lee in the essentials of becoming a royal Princess.


Before the discovery of her real heritage Seol Lee had met Hae-young when he was put in charge of a grand production at an historic palace, showcasing the royal history of Korea, which had been put on to welcome a visiting royal from a Western country. Because of her beauty Seol Lee had been hired to play a Korean princess for the production, but when the show was over she had wanted to quickly go back to her real part-time job; however Hae-young had asked her to spend several hours overtime signing autographs for the audience and posing with the visiting Western princess. She petulantly says no, that she would be fired from her office job if she were late, at which point Hae-young promises her a hefty overtime payment if she would stay longer. She finally agrees, and then when she does the overtime Hae-young conveniently doesn't pay her in cash, but says he will deposit the money in her bank account later when he has the chance. "Text me your bank account number, I'll deposit it later."

Oh dear, Seol Lee doesn't like this one little bit, and so she follows him all over the place, even into a department store where he buys expensive jewelry for the woman he likes, Yoon-jo Oh (the lovely Ye Jin Park from Rebirth: Next and What Happened In Bali), who is a museum curator.


So right from the beginning of their relationship Seol Lee and Hae-young have a tempestuous time of it, which is to continue for quite awhile, as her former life disappears and her royal life begins. As Seol Lee's life changes she finds herself missing her old, more carefree lifestyle quite a bit, especially the relationship she had with a college professor whom she had a huge crush on, the gentlemanly and kind Jung-woo Nam (handsome Ryu Soo Young from
Rebirth: Next and The Good Witch). She still tries to find ways to see Jung-woo, which bothers both Hae-young, who is beginning to fall for her against his will, and the museum curator Yoon-jo, who has a soft spot for Jung-woo herself, even though for professional reasons she desires Hae-young to propose marriage to her.


The nation is asked to vote on whether the monarchy should be re-established. During this election process various politicians in the country are against the idea, and fight publicly with Daehan Group's founder Dong-jae, so the entire country becomes emotionally and financially invested in the idea of re-establishing the monarchy. (Dong-jae has his own personal reasons for wanting to establish the monarchy again, which have nothing to do with the nation's welfare as a whole, but rather with personal guilt he feels for being involved in the death of Seol's biological father).


Seol, who finally starts to switch her romantic feelings from her college teacher to Hae-young himself, still has trouble with authority figures in her life and that includes Hae-young; they like to tease each other a lot but they do manage to have some sweet and funny and romantic moments together, despite all the stress of the political situation in the country. I especially loved scenes when they met by themselves in a vintage automobile to talk in private, away from the ever present servants and bodyguards, or when he tries to teach her to drive, something she really stinks at! However, always there is friction, because Hae-young is very resolute on his ideas of the protocols on how she should behave as a true Princess, while she wants more flexibility to seem natural and warm and simply ... herself as a human being. At times she proves herself more than worthy to be a Princess (for instance conducting a very impressive press conference and instantly solving a big problem that could have resulted), but other times she falls back into her old ways, for instance running away back to her mother's bed and breakfast inn and watching television with her old friends, whom she is not allowed to see anymore.

Then Seol begins to have early memories come back to her about her father, and how he had to leave royalty and pretend to be a commoner to save his life and the life of his daughter. When she realizes the circumstances surrounding his death she is devastated. Also, Seol has an adopted sister, Dan Lee (Ye-sol Kang), who is intensely jealous of the publicity and privileged lifestyle Seol is receiving and she conspires to help bring her sister down, which grieves her sister to no end, since she had always been fond of her. An uncovered artifact, which would prove that Seol really IS the great-granddaughter of King Sun-jong, is confiscated by the sister and a substitute fake one put in its place. However this only temporarily stops the eventual unraveling of the truth. By this time Hae-young and Seol are completely and utterly in love and he wants the best for Seol, whatever the outcome.

I was so charmed and entranced by My Princess and the developing love relationship between Seol and Hae-young that I watched it twice in a row. Actor Seung Hun Song could make even a turnip look sexy if he played opposite one, and Kim Tae Hee is hardly a turnip! I loved all their scenes together, they had perfect chemistry with one another, like a long time married couple who are completely comfortable with one another. (I must say she looks better with him than she does with her real boyfriend - update: now husband - Rain!). Also of extreme beauty are all the costumes and the sets, gosh, they must have spent a fortune on this production and it shows in every frame. 

My Princess
a wonderful romantic drama that will give you lots of warm fuzzies, or "feels", I promise. Enjoy!