Ella and George
Just a tinfoil hat theory. But, the fairy godmother of Cinderella back in S1 was the fairy godmother for King George’s family. So, it would make sense that Ella was somehow related to George.
So, I found myself wondering what if Ella were related to George? Maybe one of her parents had some claim to the throne, and George wanted them out of the way in case they ever found out James wasn’t his biological child and tried to displace him as heir? Or what if Ella were George’s illegitimate daughter, and George paid off her mom and the man Ella that was her father to go have the baby in another kingdom and not come back?
Then, when Ella turned out to be a girl, George eventually had the idea of marrying her off to James. Sure, George seems to have really loved James, but medieval kingdom people are weird about bloodlines. Besides, it ties off a potential danger. If anyone ever finds out Ella has a better blood claim to the throne, James would already be married to her and no one could question their children’s inheritance rights.
I could see George deliberately staging Ella and James meeting at a ball, perhaps with the help of a fairy godmother.
In other words, it would have been the story of Cinderella only with an evil prince and a manipulative king and fairy godmother setting Ella up.
Of course, the kingdom’s economy was in ruins and George needed to find James a wealthy bride, so that plan got tabled.
Still, I’m imagining a Cinderella story where the prince is a jerk and Cinderella was set up.