Lonely European princess finds purpose and romance when she volunteers for a humanitarian organization in East Africa.
With the weight of an entire kingdom—Liechtenstein, to be exact—on her slender shoulders, her Serene Highness Christianna knows that her life will never be her own. Even though women are forbidden to rule the tiny principality, her profligate older brother and royal heir Freddy shows so little interest in his responsibilities that her widower father, Prince Hans Josef, looks to her to fulfill obligations. Resigned to a life of endless state dinners and hospital tours, the 23-year-old Berkeley grad’s life takes an unexpected turn after she watches children die on TV in a bloody Russian terrorist standoff. Galvanized into action, and with two strapping bodyguards in tow, she meets up with the Red Cross in Russia and does what she can to ease suffering, finding the experience far more meaningful than anything else she has done. Back at her Vaduz palace, her father agrees to let her again join the organization to assist with a hospital project in Eritrea, with the understanding that once the year is up she will devote all her time to her royal duties. In Africa, she hides her identity and passionately throws herself into the work, bonding with her multicultural colleagues who know her only as “Cricky.” She also meets a handsome, young American doctor, Parker Williams, who is himself quickly smitten by the compassionate young woman in braids and boots. Their love blossoms in spite of Christianna’s constant awareness that she could never marry a commoner, dooming their relationship. The heartbroken lovers part when Parker has to return to his AIDS research work at Harvard. The princess leaves soon after when the camp comes under threat during a local war. But it will take more than an ocean—and generations of tradition—to keep these two crazy kids from their happy ending. Steele (Coming Out, June 2006, etc.) should get her due for the political hot-spots angle, but saintlier-than-thou sweethearts Parker and Christianna make for a particularly insipid duo.
Often silly and hastily concluded tale of love vs. duty.