One of the movie’s main characters, Britain’s Prince Henry (played by Nicholas Galitzine), says the quote is “one of my favorite quotes” at the beginning of a love letter to Alex Claremont-Diaz (played by Taylor Zakhar Perez), the son of the first woman President of the United States (played by Uma Thurman).
The only problem? Fans have pointed out that the quote is not actually from Jane Austen.
RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE has a character saying, "I'm reminded of one of my favourite quotes from Sense and Sensibility: 'It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.'" There's just one problem: Jane Austen would no more write that than "Live, Love, Laugh"
— Caspar Salmon (@CasparSalmon) August 11, 2023
What is Red, White & Royal Blue?
Red, White & Royal Blue is an Amazon Prime Video movie based on the 2019 book of the same name by Casey McQuiston. The book’s plot — which the show echoes — follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, who became America’s “first son” when his mother is elected President. The film centers on his journey from enemies to lovers with none other than the Prince of England himself.
Early on in their budding relationship, Henry and Alex begin communicating via email, which is when Henry drops the quote in question.
“I’m reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Sense and Sensibility,” he wrote. “‘It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.’ And I think that what you’re doing is amazing.”
Henry’s quote also alludes to an earlier moment in the book and the movie when Henry revealed that Jane Austen was his favorite author, so the two often exchange Austen quotes back and forth.
However, fans were quick to point out that if Henry were actually the great Jane Austen fan he claims to be, he would know that she never actually wrote that line.
Where did the quote come from?
Fans have speculated that the writers of Red, White & Royal Blue may have simply pulled the “Jane Austen” quote from Goodreads, where it is attributed to her.
i feel like, generally speaking, if you're writing a huge film for a huge streaming service you should at least double check that the line you pulled from goodreads is actually in the book you're quoting https://t.co/eJDsX3KjB4
— cyrano (2021) criterion collection blu-ray (@stmoonsalt) August 17, 2023
The quote is apparently an oft-misattributed one, as journalist Deborah Yaffe pointed out in a blog post from 2015. The quote was first produced in a 2008 Sense and Sensibility miniseries, but author Jane Austen never wrote it in any of her books.
“Inspiring it may be, but as I’ve pointed out before, it’s not from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, no matter what Austen-derived font you put it in,” Yaffe wrote.
Quote mishaps aside, the movie is a hit with fans, and some are even asking for Amazon to release a series, sequel or an uncut version of the film so they can have more of Henry and Alex’s romantic moments.
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