Cinderella's Mother is a character alluded to in Disney's 1950 animated feature film, Cinderella and appearing in its 2015 live-action version. She is Cinderella's biological mother, who passed away when her daughter was ten years old.
In Cinderella's Royal Wedding, Cinderella's mother was shown to be a beautiful fair-skinned woman with dark brown hair tied into a bun, violet eyes and she wore a yellow gown.
However, in the live-action remake, she was shown to have long blonde hair, brown eyes, and she wore a varicolored dress.
Role in the film
In the live-action re-imagining, Ella's mother is portrayed by Hayley Atwell and her role was expanded, like her husband's. It is the first time that she is seen onscreen, given that her previous appearances were only in storybooks relating to Cinderella.
When she and her husband were still living, her daughter was known to all by her original name of Ella.
Ella's mother loved her family dearly, especially her daughter, whose pure heart and open-mindedness she helped to cultivate: she encouraged Ella's belief in extraordinary things, such as animals being able to listen and understand human languages, and that Fairy Godmothers who functioned as the caretakers of human beings actually existed. She also appeared to have a habit of singing Ella to sleep.
However, when Ella was only ten years old, her mother contracted an illness. On her deathbed, she made Ella promise that she will always have the courage and be kind to others, for - as she explained to her - kindness has power and magic, and would see Ella through all the trials that life could offer. She also begs Ella to forgive her for leaving, which she tearfully does, and the family of three shared one final hug before she passed away.
Ella's mother's death was a very great blow to her husband and daughter, though Ella eventually learned to move on, and always lived by the promise she had made to her: she was courageous and kind to all, as well as a loving and devoted daughter to her father. However, Ella's father was "much changed" by his wife's death, though - after securing Ella's approval and blessing - he remarried. The promise she made to her mother was what enabled her to shrug off whatever misgivings she had after her stepmother and stepsisters were officially welcomed into the family, especially given her stepsisters' unpleasant attitudes.
During what was to be his last heart-to-heart chat with his daughter, Ella's father assured her that her mother was always present, though she could not see her, and that was why they must always cherish the house for her since she is the very heart of it. He also confirmed that he still missed her dearly.
Most, unfortunately, Lady Tremaine overheard the entire conversation and was stung to the core by it. From their first meeting, she had already noted how Ella took after her biological mother in beauty and charm, and her husband's words confirmed her fears that she was not only living in Ella's mother's shadow but was also overshadowed by Ella herself.
After he died, things turned for the worst for Ella - being forced to become the servant of her own house and spitefully renamed "Cinderella". Her sole source of strength and optimism was her parents' memory. When asked by one of her former servants as to why she stayed in the house when her stepfamily abused her so badly, she answered that she had promised her parents to cherish the place where they were so happy. They had loved it, and now that they were gone, she loves it for them and acknowledges it as her home.
When Lady Tremaine refused to purchase a new ball gown for Ella, she (not knowing that her step-family had absolutely no intention of letting her attend the ball at all) fixes up an old pink dress of her mother's with help from her mice friends. However, Lady Tremaine goads her daughters into helping her rip up the dress before leaving for the ball without Ella. Broken by their cruelty, Ella runs into the garden in tears, apologizing to her mother while confessing that she did not see how she could still keep her promise of being courageous and kind.
Most fortunately for Ella, she encounters an old beggar woman to whom she offers a bowl of milk, and who reveals herself to be her Fairy Godmother, along with reminding her of her mother's belief in fairies and magic. The fairy godmother uses magic to reveal her true form, and subsequently to turn a pumpkin into a magnificent carriage, Ella's four mice friends into white horses, two lizards into footmen, and a goose into a coachman. When Ella reminded her that she could not attend the ball in her ruined gown, she offered to turn it into something new, but Ella begged her to amend it instead, for it was her mother's and she would love to wear it to the ball - it was like taking her mother with her. Her fairy godmother agreed, though stating that she would enhance it and change the color.
When the magic was complete, Ella delightfully noted that her fairy godmother had been true to her word: the elements of her mother's gown had been preserved, yet enhanced. The color had changed from pink to blue, the skirt filled out and swirled around her as she moved, and the new sweeping neckline was embroidered with pastel-colored butterflies. She marveled at how beautiful the new mended gown was and confirmed that her mother would have loved it.
After Lady Tremaine shattered her slipper and locked her in her attic room, Ella's spirit was unbroken, for she drew strength and comfort from positive memories - such as the happy times she shared with her parents. She also sang her mother's lullaby to herself, which - thanks to her mice friends - enabled Kit to expose her stepmother's lies and locate her. As she made her way to present herself before Kit, she drew the confidence and composure she needed from her promise to her mother.
In the end, it was revealed that a royal portrait of Ella's mother had been painted along with that of her husband, and Ella remarked that her and Kit's parents would have loved one another. Her fairy godmother also confirmed that Ella continued to see the world from the perspective of a person who was courageous, kind, and believing in magic.
Cinderella's mother did not appear in the show but was mentioned in Season 6 when Ella showed her late mother's favorite pink dress to her stepfamily. However, the dress ended up being cruelly burned by Clorinda under Lady Tremaine's suggestion.
In Season 7, another version appears named Cecelia. The identity of Ella's birth father is unknown, however, Cecelia eventually marries a man who becomes the only father her daughter ever knows. On her wedding day to her future husband, she gives him a locket that matches her own, and both lockets glow as a symbol of their love for each other so they can always find each other. When Ella is still small, Cecelia's heart becomes cursed and she runs away to New Wonderland in order to protect her loved ones. Her husband uses his locket to track her to that realm's Infinite Maze, but before he can go searching for her, his locket stops glowing, causing him to believe she has stopped loving him. In Wonderland, Cecelia meets Alice at a tea party and tells her about having to leave her family. Cecelia and Alice are attacked by a Jabberwock at the tea party, where Cecelia fights valiantly but she is killed by the beast, leaving Alice as the sole survivor to slay it. Ella grows up assuming her mother abandoned her and her father, which causes her to be disillusioned about true love and happy endings, but she eventually learns the truth from Alice about her mother's reasons for leaving them.
Prior to the release of the 2015 remake, Cinderella's mother had previously appeared in a dream sequence in Cinderella's Royal Wedding. In the dream, she gives her a necklace and tells her advice about the necklace reminding her to listen to her heart whenever she had a problem, as it would lead to the answer.
Cinderella's Royal Wedding
Picture of Cinderella's mother in her mother's wedding dress (as well as Prince Charming's mother in her wedding dress and Cinderella in her wedding dress) in portraits.
Cinderella's mother is seen at the Cinderella Takes The Stage book section of the Disney Princess Beginnings book series.