Elizabeth James is one of the deuteragonists in the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap (the other being her ex-husband turned husband again, Nick Parker). She is the mother of Annie James and Hallie Parker. The former lives with her and her father, Charles, in London.
Role in the film
Elizabeth lives in the city and is a wealthy socialite. In 1986, Elizabeth decides to take the QE2 from London to New York City, since she's afraid of flying. On board, she meets Nick Parker, who is from Napa, California, and has the same fear. They eventually fall in love and wed on board, getting their picture taken by a photographer on there.
Shortly afterward on October 11, Elizabeth gives birth to twins Annie and Hallie, but for some reason, she and Nick divorce shortly afterward and she gets custody of Annie and takes her to London while he does so of Hallie and takes her to Napa with both parents deciding to not tell them about each other. In London, Elizabeth and Annie move in with the former's widowed father, Charles James, and she gets a job designing wedding gowns and eventually becomes famous for it.
In summer 1998, Elizabeth sends Annie to summer camp at Camp Walden, where coincidentally, Nick sends Hallie there as well. This is where they meet each other for the first time and decide to switch places, hoping to reunite their parents. When Hallie returns to London as Annie, she sees Elizabeth for the first time while Elizabeth believes that she is Annie, unaware of the switch, and asks her to come to the studio where she works. She does so and gets her picture taken with the wedding model at the studio. Afterward, she asks Elizabeth how she and Nick met to explained how they did so (read the events from above). The next day at lunch, Hallie asks her to try the wine that she drinks, to which she does, and guesses the grapes made in it come from California. Elizabeth and Charles believe that she has learned about wine at summer camp, still unaware that it's Hallie and not Annie.
When Hallie goes outside to receive a phone call from Annie in Napa, telling her that Nick is planning on marrying a young woman named Meredith Blake, Hallie is caught by Charles to which she goes into Elizabeth's bedroom and reveals her true identity and that Annie is in Napa with Nick, and that they switched places. That sends Elizabeth in shock but she tells Hallie that she loved her whole life and decides to go with her to California to switch her and Annie back but promises her to talk with Nick about a new custody arrangement so they can see each other every holiday of the year, unaware that he is planning on remarrying. Once there, Elizabeth and Hallie go to the hotel to meet him, who is actually there to meet Meredith's parents, unaware that Elizabeth is there and of the switch. Once inside, Elizabeth gets separated from Hallie and her butler, Martin, who accompanied them on the trip, when she left her purse behind and meets up with Annie, who she thinks is Hallie and tells her to meet her upstairs. Nick's housekeeper, Chessy, takes her there.
When Elizabeth walks back to the elevator she catches Nick and Meredith in it and she waves mindless to him while he is stunned to see her. Once upstairs she is reunited with Annie, Hallie, and Chessy, who takes her into the room and she tells them about seeing Nick in the elevator to which Annie and Hallie tell her that he is remarrying to the wrong woman for him and that they should reunite because they're perfect for each other. But she says she doesn't wish to do so but wishes to switch Annie and Hallie back. She then goes downstairs to the bar, gets a drink, and meets Meredith, unaware that she's Nick's fiancée, who tells her that she loves a wedding gown she designed. Outside she is reunited with Nick, Annie, and Hallie are revealed to which surprises him. Elizabeth asks them if she can talk with him alone.
Nick shows Elizabeth his wine collection, which includes the brand they drank at their wedding. She is touched by this gesture at first, but has a change of heart and returns to London with Annie. However, when they get home, they find Hallie and Nick waiting for them, having flown there on the Concorde. Elizabeth is fearful of remarrying, but she yields to Nick's confidence, and Annie and Hallie look on happily as they embrace.
The closing credits feature photographs of Nick and Elizabeth's second wedding, also aboard the QE2, with Annie and Hallie as bridesmaids and Martin presenting Chessy with an engagement ring.
- Elizabeth shares some similarities with Anita Dearly, from 101 Dalmatians who was played by Natasha Richardson's real-life sister, Joely, as both work in fashion designing in London, and are sweet and caring mother figures.