- “If he wants to kill me why does he not trample me with his carriage and get it over with?”
Role in the film
When Prince Christopher returns from a secret venture out into the village, a frantic Lionel reprimands the prince for leaving yet again as he helps him get dressed in his royal clothes. Although the prince may believe he was perfectly safe, Lionel isn't so sure his parents would agree with his clandestine outings.
As the prince meets with his parents, Lionel stands behind a curtain and happens to overhear their conversation about the ball they are planning to throw in order to find their son a bride. After the prince exasperatedly walks out, Queen Constantina catches sight of a part of Lionel's jacket peeking out from the curtain and brings him in. Lionel attempts to tell the Queen that her son doesn't seem happy about the ball, but she interrupts him with an order to write down their proclamation. Soon he is proceeding throughout the marketplace informing the village about the ball and ordering food and other necessities.
The day of the ball, he is helping to decorate the ballroom by hanging garlands of flowers from its walls when he is nearly knocked off his perch as an angry Prince Christopher confronts his parents. Lionel uses his diplomacy skills to arrange a compromise: the prince will go to the ball, but if he does not find a bride there he will be allowed to find his true love in his own way without any interference from his parents no matter how long it takes. The queen reluctantly agrees after King Maximilian convinces her that its fair, and Prince Christopher is so happy he hugs his parents and gives Lionel a grateful pat before he takes his leave. Lionel reassures the king and queen that he is sure the prince will find a bride at the ball, but the queen says he "will feel it in his bones if he doesn't" and slaps him off his ladder.
At the ball, Lionel dutifully delivers eligible maidens for Prince Christopher to dance with, but though the prince is trying to be as polite as he can he is clearly unmoved by any of them. Lionel is soon cornered by the Stepmother, who unsuccessfully does her best to charm Lionel into giving her daughters special preference. When its Minerva's turn to dance with the prince, she tries to get him to appreciate her poetry so forcefully he frantically signals to Lionel to take her away. Knowing he's no match against Minerva's strength, he, in turn, signals the guards. Even so, Minerva does her best to cling on to the prince before she is dragged away. Calliope dances with him next, and she laughs so hysterically at everything Prince Christopher says she snorts uncontrollably. She, too, is quickly taken away by Lionel, and like her sister, she does her best to cling to the prince before she is dragged away. Unnerved by these experiences, Prince Christopher speeds up the rate of exchanging partners to the point where Lionel tries to bring each new girl as fast as he can. The prince even absent-mindedly dances with Lionel before glancing up and catching sight of Cinderella.
Later that evening, Lionel is snatched into a dance by the Stepmother as an excuse to get close to the prince and the mystery woman. She keeps shoving Lionel's head out of the way in order to get a better view, at one point accidentally shoving him so hard he falls flat on the floor. Not missing a beat, the Stepmother snags a series of other dance partners and makes a beeline for Cinderella, who panics and escapes into the gardens, nearly stepping on Lionel, who's still lying on the floor. Prince Christopher, worried for Cinderella, follows her and does step on Lionel, flattening him once again.
When the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella runs as fast as she can out of the palace. The prince tries to chase after her, but Lionel briefly slows him down as does the rest of the crowd. Unable to catch up to her, Prince Christopher is left with only her shoe as a clue to her identity.
The next day, the prince hasn't slept or eaten since the ball. Lionel reports that no one seems to know who the mystery girl is or where she's from. Undaunted, the prince is determined to find her if he has to have every eligible maiden in the kingdom try on the glass slipper to find whom it fits. The queen orders Lionel to do as her son says, and so the two embark on their quest. As the prince observes, Lionel places the shoe on a series of feet, none of which fit. Eventually, they find themselves at the Stepmother's house. Calliope tries it on first and pretends that it's a perfect fit, but Lionel sees through her charade and tickles her heel (which pokes out from the shoe) before slapping her foot away. Minerva then sticks her foot in Lionel's face, who chokes a little from the odor. He tries to fit the slipper on her foot, but it clearly doesn't fit. An irate Minerva puts Lionel into a headlock, yelling that it fit perfectly at the ball and that he must have shrunk it. Yanking himself free from her hold, Lionel asks the Stepmother if there are any other eligible ladies in the house. The Stepmother herself sits down and presents her foot. Lionel believes she is too old, but she snatches the slipper from him and puts it on. It fits.
A stunned Lionel is at a loss for words, but Prince Christopher refuses to accept it. The Stepmother's elated shrieks turn to one of pain as she yells that the shoe is cutting off her circulation. Bashed by her insults, Lionel nevertheless hurriedly wrenches it off with the stepsisters' help. The prince asks if they're sure no one else is available, and they deny it while quickly and conspicuously attempting to block the locked kitchen. Lionel asks the Stepmother for the key to the doors, and after they stare each other down he glances away as she very reluctantly reaches into her decolletage to produce the key. He surreptitiously cleans it with his handkerchief before using it to unlock the doors, revealing nothing but an ordinary kitchen. The disheartened prince prepares to leave but is stopped by the Stepmother, who absolutely begs him to take one of her daughters as his bride. Meanwhile, Lionel struggles to reclaim the glass slipper from the much-taller Calliope. Losing patience, Prince Christopher orders the chaos to stop and marches out the door, running right into Cinderella. Wishing to place the glass shoe on her foot himself, the prince silently asks Lionel for the slipper. As Cinderella's foot easily slides into the shoe, a perfect fit, her Stepmother screams in despair and collapses into her daughters' arms. Lionel, with no small amount of satisfaction, tells her to be quiet.
Soon enough, Lionel is happily attending Prince Christopher and Cinderella's wedding, smiling as the two kiss.