The Princess Diaries is a series of epistolary young adult novels written by Meg Cabot, and is also the title of the first volume, published in 2000. The series spent 48 weeks on the New York Times Children's Series Best Sellers List.[1] The series revolves around Amelia 'Mia' Thermopolis, a teenager in New York who discovers that she is the princess of a small European principality called Genovia. The series follows Mia's life throughout high school in the 2000s and juggling regular teenage life with being a royal princess. The books are noted for containing many pop culture references from the 2000s that influence some of the plot.

The Princess Diaries
AuthorMeg Cabot
Original title
CountryUnited States
GenreYoung adult novel
PublishedMay 30, 2000
No. of books12
Followed byThe Princess Diaries, Volume II: Princess in the Spotlight
WebsiteThe Princess Diaries

Meg Cabot quotes the series' inspiration on her website stating: "I was inspired to write The Princess Diaries when my mom, after the death of my father, began dating one of my teachers; they later went on to get married just as Mia's mom does in the book! I have always had a 'thing' for princesses (my parents used to joke that when I was smaller, I did a lot of insisting that my 'real' parents, the king and queen, were going to come get me soon, and that everyone had better start being a lot nicer to me) so I stuck a princess in the book just for kicks... and voilà! The Princess Diaries was born."[2]

In 2015, a spin-off series for tweens launched. Mia's half-sister Olivia made her debut in From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, released in May 2015. The new book in the Princess Diaries series, The Quarantine Princess Diaries, was published in March 2023.

Setting edit

'The Princess Diaries' location
Flag of Genovia
Created byMeg Cabot
GenreYoung adult fiction
In-universe information
Other name(s)Principality of Genovia
TypeParliamentary Monarchy
RulerPrincess Mia (princess regent, currently)

Princess Clarisse Renaldi (princess dowager)

Prince Artur Christoff Phillipe Gerard (abdicated)
LocationsPyrus (capital)
New Pyrus (largest city)
MottoThe whole body works
AnthemGenovia, the land I call my home
Language(s)English and French
CurrencyGenoves (LKM)

The series is set primarily in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Some books take place in Genovia, a fictional European country. Genovia is a principality between France and Italy ruled by Mia's father, Prince Philippe Renaldi, and by Mia's grandmother, Dowager Princess Clarisse Renaldi.

Characters edit

Mia Thermopolis edit

Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo (Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi in the movies), Princess of Genovia is the protagonist of the series. She is the daughter of Helen Thermopolis, a painter, and Philippe Renaldo, the crown prince of Genovia. Mia is also the Princess Regent of Genovia.

Mia is sometimes shy and has a down-to-earth personality, though on occasion Mia shows herself to be quite sarcastic and sly. Throughout the series she is very critical of herself, describing herself as flat-chested, taller than most girls at 5-foot-9, and having embarrassingly large feet. She also has a tendency to over-analyze things and worry too much.

In the 2001 film, The Princess Diaries, Mia (portrayed by Anne Hathaway) is aged 15, unlicensed, and owns a 1965 Mustang. She has similar qualities, but her father dies two months prior to when the movie begins, and her last name is Renaldi instead of Renaldo. She lives in San Francisco instead of New York.

Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldo, Dowager Princess of Genovia edit

Clarisse Maria was formally known as Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldo, Dowager Princess of Genovia.

Clarisse is the dowager princess of Genovia and Mia's paternal grandmother. Mia refers to her as "Grand-mère" (French for "Grandmother"). As a young woman, she married Prince Rupert Renaldi and had two sons. She speaks French most of the time, but she can also speak English; however, she disdains English as a vulgar language. She is almost always accompanied by her miniature poodle, Rommel, who is notable for having a severe case of OCD that causes him to lick his own fur off. She smokes often and enjoys drinking sidecars. She is not above lying or manipulating others in order to get her own way.

Lilly Moscovitz edit

Mia's best friend since kindergarten, Lilly is a highly intelligent and opinionated person who has her own public-access television show, titled Lilly Tells It Like It Is, in which she discusses political and social issues. By the end of the series, her TV show is picked up by a network and is apparently very popular in South Korea. Lilly is not considered to be very pretty; Mia often describes her face as being "squashed in like a pug's". However, she has a well-developed figure.

In the 2001 Disney Movie, Lilly, portrayed by Heather Matarazzo, is portrayed as intelligent, confident, and socially conscious. Her talk show is called "Shut Up and Listen". She is then a student at Berkeley. In The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Mia appoints Lilly as her royal secretary.

Michael Moscovitz edit

Lilly's older brother, and Mia's main love interest throughout the series. Michael is tall and has brown eyes and thick, dark hair. Mia insists that he is the third best-looking guy at AEHS after Josh Richter and Justin Baxendale and describes his nose as aquiline, mouth as "eminently kissable", and neck as aromatic due to an intoxicating blend of Tide from his shirt collar, his Gillette shaving foam, and Ivory soap. Though he often clashes with his younger sister, Michael and Lilly are in fact close siblings and friends. He used to run his own webzine, Crackhead, but had to disband it after an editorial stating the merits of Linux over Windows, which caused a loss of advertisers and funds. Shortly after this, Michael starts a band called Skinner Box (a name suggested by Mia) with a few friends, including Boris Pelkowski.

Tina Hakim Baba edit

A student at AEHS, Tina is the daughter of a Saudi Arabian oil sheik and a British former supermodel. Because of her father's status, she has to have the protection of a bodyguard, Wahim, which isolates her from the other students until Mia sits with her after a fight with Lilly in the first novel.

Secondary characters edit

  • Lars van der Hooten: Mia's very protective Swedish bodyguard.
  • Helen Thermopolis: Mia's mother. She has a career as an artist and spends most of her time in her studio.
  • Frank Gianini: Mia's algebra and homeroom teacher. He dates her mother, Helen, and marries her when she becomes pregnant with Mia's half-brother, Rocky.
  • John Paul "J.P." Reynolds Abernathy IV: Initially known as "The Guy Who Hates It When They Put Corn In the Chili", J.P. meets Mia via Grand-mère's school musical in Party Princess.
  • Boris Pelkowski: A Russian violin virtuoso, and Lilly's boyfriend. His habits include tucking his sweater into his pants, breathing through his mouth, and playing the violin in Gifted and Talented class, when everyone else wants him to be quiet.
  • Josh Richter: Lana Weinberger's boyfriend. He is on the crew team and is co-valedictorian.
  • Lana Weinberger: A popular junior cheerleader with long blonde hair, a peaches-and-cream complexion, baby blue eyes and a voluptuous figure

Volumes edit

Illustrated by Chelsey McLaren:

  • Princess Lessons, March 2003
  • Perfect Princess, March 2004
  • Holiday Princess, November 2005
  • Ransom My Heart by Princess of Genovia Mia Thermopolis

Awards and nominations edit

Adaptations edit

In 2001 and 2004 respectively, two films based on the novels were produced by Walt Disney Pictures, The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews respectively as Mia Thermopolis and Clarisse Renaldi. Cabot has thanked the films many times in interviews and on her website because she believes that they helped boost her book sales, as well as making her the success that she is today. The first season of the Netflix adult animated comedy series Q-Force features Stephanie Beatriz as Mira Popadopolous, based on Mia Thermopolis, whose backstory adapts the events of The Princess Diaries.[13]

See also edit

References edit

  • Cabot, Meg (2001). The Princess Diaries. New York, New York. HarperTrophy. ISBN 0-380-81402-1.
  • Cabot, Meg (2006). The Princess Diaries, Volume VII: Party Princess. New York, New York. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-072453-6.

Footnotes edit

External links edit