The Princess Diaries

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The Princess Diaries
Author Meg Cabot
Original title first volume
CountryUSA
LanguageEnglish
Genreyoung adult novel
Publisher HarperTrophy
PublishedMay 30, 2000
No. of books11
OCLC 47228587
Followed byThe Princess Diaries, Volume II: Princess in the Spotlight
Website The Princess Diaries

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 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 books are noted for containing many popular culture references, which include singers, movies, and fads in modern culture.

Contents

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." [1]

The latest book in the series, The Princess Diaries, Volume XI: Royal Wedding was published in 2015. A spin-off series for tweens featuring Mia's half-sister, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess was released in May 2015.

Series description

Plot summaries have been moved to their individual volume pages.

The story of Mia Thermopolis' adolescent turmoil as an average teenager and, as she later finds out, a princess of royal descent (her father), is chronicled in her on-going journal, where she explores topics of teenage angst, romance, and heartbreak as she lives and learns from them. The main series follows Mia from her freshman year of high school to her graduation, with a two-year jump between the ninth and tenth books and an eight year jump from the tenth to eleventh.

Setting

Genovia
'The Princess Diaries' location
Flag of Genovia.svg
Flag of Genovia
Created by Meg Cabot
Genre Young adult fiction
Information
Type Parliamentary Monarchy
Notable locationsPyrus (capital)
New Pyrus (largest city)
Population64,486
Other name(s)Principality of Genovia
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. The Genovia described in the books differs significantly from the Genovia depicted in the films: in the former, Genovia is referred to as a principality between France and Italy ruled by Mia's father, Prince Philippe Renaldo, similar to Monaco; in the latter, Genovia is a kingdom located between France and Spain, similar to Andorra, and is ruled by Mia's grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi.

Characters

Mia Thermopolis

Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldi ('Mia') is the protagonist of the series. She is the product of a college romance between Helen Thermopolis, a painter, and Philippe Renaldi, the prince of Genovia.


Having spent most of her life in Greenwich Village with her mother, Mia attends Albert Einstein High School, a private school in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Mia chronicles the main aspects of her life in various personal diaries, through which she also later develops her talent for various forms of writing. She prefers to be called Mia, although her best friend Lilly often bestows upon her nicknames such as BL (Baby Licker), POG (Princess Of Genovia), or PIT (Princess In Training).

Mia is known for her sometimes shy and down-to-earth personality, though on occasion Mia shows herself to be quite sarcastic and sly. Mia also speaks to her self described flat chest, 5-foot-9 height, upside-down-triangle-shaped hair, and extremely large feet. She also has a tendency to over-analyze things and worry too much. Mia's spends her afternoons throughout the series with her grandmother (Grandmere) in princess lessons, which attempt to teach Mia the finer points of being a princess. These lessons range from making more princess-like Mia's sense of fashion, food, and relationships, and also inform about royal duties such as her visits during school breaks to Genovia and the events she must attend and speak at as a royal throughout the year as well.

Mia develops an interest for writing during the series. Later in the series, Mia writes her own novel called Ransom My Heart, though she composes many poems, lists, and even screenplays throughout her years of writing in her diary. Mia, having been raised almost exclusively by her very liberal and feminist painter mother, is very socially conscientious; She is a vegetarian and also tries to use her fame to raise awareness for good causes, including donations to Greenpeace with the money her father pays her to take princess lessons from her grandmother. Between the tenth and eleventh books, Mia goes to college and establishes a youth community center.

Mia's friendship with Lilly Moscovitz is a focal point of the series. Though they often clash due to Mia's insecurity and Lilly's forcefulness, they remain best friends until major conflicts arise in the later books of the series.

Another central plot line of the books is Mia's relationship with Michael Moscovitz, Lilly's older brother. Their relationship survives obstacles throughout several books of the series, such as their age difference and Mia's (often overwrought) anxieties, as Mia works out how to effectively manage romantic relationships as a maturing adolescent.

In Disney's "The Princess Diaries" 2001, Mia, who was portrayed by Anne Hathaway is aged 16, has a license to drive, and owns a 1965 Mustang. She has similar qualities, but her father is dead, and her last name is Renaldi instead of Renaldo, and she lives in San Francisco instead of New York.

Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldi

Clarisse Marie was formally known as the Dowager Princess Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldi.

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 Renaldo and had two sons. She habitually omits Mia's mother's surname "Thermopolis" from her granddaughter's lengthy list of names and titles, much to Mia's annoyance. She speaks French most of the time, but she can also speak English. 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 hesitant about lying or manipulating others in order to get her own way.

She and Mia don't see eye to eye: Clarisse is concerned with attracting publicity to Genovia and ensuring Mia does not embarrass her country while Mia prefers to focus on politics. Though she and Mia butt heads often, she does care for her granddaughter and gives her advice about love and relationships that Mia takes with a grain of salt due to her grandmother's cold nature. For example, when Clarisse was married to the king of Genovia, she led him to believe that she was only interested in his status and money and never once said "I love you", in order to keep her husband on his toes. Mia also mentions that her father is terrified of his mother because she would lock him in the palace dungeons whenever he misbehaved (although when she informs him that he gives the appearance of being a little bit scared of Clarisse in Princess in the Spotlight , her father replies that he is not scared of his mother and that she really isn't as bad as Mia thinks; in his view, Clarisse "just needs proper handling").

While in New York to give Mia her princess lessons, the dowager princess resided in the Plaza Hotel, and was dissatisfied with other quality luxury hotels she was placed in during Princess On the Brink, when the Plaza was being remodeled.

Lilly Moscovitz

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.

Mia admires Lilly's bravery and unwillingness to be pushed around by others, though Lilly knows her insensitivity and forceful personality can cause her to be disliked. Mia and Lilly often enjoy discussing popular culture, but Lilly's strong stances often cause her and Mia to clash, especially when Mia feels Lilly is becoming too critical of her. Nevertheless, Lilly's blunt attitude is what often keeps Mia from over-analyzing things, such as her relationship with Michael, Lilly's older brother. Mia was initially afraid to share her crush on Michael with Lilly, but in fact, Lilly was one of the conspirators who helped Mia and Michael get together in Princess in Love.

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, which earns her several romantic suitors, including Boris Pelkowski, Mia's cousin Hank, Jangbu the immigrant busboy, J.P. Reynolds, and Kenny Showalter. Boris is Lilly's first boyfriend, but the relationship ends when she begins seeing Jangbu in Princess in Pink. In Party Princess , Lilly hooks up with J.P., but he dumps her in Princess On the Brink. Lilly becomes angry at Mia when she finds out that Mia kissed J.P., and refuses to speak to her any more, going so far as to start a website called 'ihatemiathermopolis.com'. Lilly ignores Mia's attempts to make up until she finds out that Mia is planning to lose her virginity to J.P., when she tells Mia about his lies and plans to use Mia's fame to his own advantage. Lilly also helps indirectly repair Mia and Michael's relationship. The girls make up and become best friends again; they are still close by the events of Royal Wedding, with Lilly now attending Columbia Law School.

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

Lilly's older brother, and Mia's main love interest throughout the series. Mia states that she has been in love with Michael since the day he came over to give Lilly a school project when they were in the first grade and he was in the fourth. From the end of the first book to the third, Mia has an unrequited crush on Michael, which he finally reciprocates in Princess in Love. Their relationship continues through Mia's sophomore year and Michael's first year at Columbia University, but their relationship becomes slightly strained when Michael tells Mia he would like to have sex, while Mia would prefer to wait until her prom night. Michael respects Mia's wishes but when Michael gets an offer to move to Japan, he believes it would be easier for their relationship as he is "tired of taking cold showers". Mia proposes sex in order to keep him from leaving, but is upset to find out that he slept with Judith Gershner before they began dating, and the two break up. Michael believes Mia is overreacting and attempts to reconcile with her before leaving for Japan, but is hurt to find her sharing a kiss with J.P. Mia attempts to reunite and work out the distance situation but Michael decides that it is best they remain "just friends" and they begin a regular email correspondence. When Michael returns from Japan after an absence of almost two years, he flirts with Mia during her interview for the school paper. Mia notices that Michael still looks incredibly hot and realises that she does still, indeed, love him. The two eventually kiss, despite Mia having a boyfriend, and Michael declares that he still loves Mia and will wait for her. They reunite on Mia's prom night and have sex.

Michael has brown eyes and thick, dark hair and is tall. He is extremely handsome, nice, funny, smart, and manly, despite staying cooped up writing songs or on his computer the whole day. 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.

Michael is described as romantic and talented. 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.

Michael loves Mia just as she is, though her neurotic behavior and insecurity frustrate him. In fact, Michael is the one who often feels insecure in their relationship, because he knows Grandmere does not think he is an appropriate consort, and all the gossip magazines would much rather prefer to see Mia date a fellow royal or celebrity like James Franco or (as Mamaw suggests) Zac Efron. He moves to Japan to develop the CardioArm for this reason, believing it would prove to the world that he is, in fact, worthy of dating a princess. Michael returns to New York a multi-millionaire and the president/owner of his own robotics company, Pavlov Robotics, named after his dog. Michael donates a robot arm to Genovia from his company for free even though the waiting list is long, helping Mia's father win the election. Mia realizes that she is still in love with Michael, but tries to convince herself otherwise. When she and Michael kiss on a coach ride, however, she writes, "I can't do this to J.P. I just can't. Oh my God, though, I love Michael so much." When J.P. and Mia split due to J.P using her and lying to her, she and Michael reunite, spending the night together.

Secondary characters

Volumes

Illustrated by Chelsey McLaren:

Errata

On April 6, 2006, Cabot announced a mistake on the back cover of her new book, Party Princess. In New Zealand and Australia, the picture on the back features Georgia Byng instead of Cabot. She said, "Don't worry. The copies of Princess Diaries 7 with Georgia Byng's picture on the back were pulled from shops, and swapped for copies of the book with the correct author's photo (mine) on the back."

In December 2006, Cabot announced that a mistake had been made in the front cover summary of Valentine Princess. Since the book chronicles Mia glancing at her old diaries, the characters Boris and Tina were not dating, rather Boris and Lilly. On the book flap, however, it says Boris and Tina are a couple. Cabot has announced that this has been fixed by the publishing company. Tina was dating Dave Farouq El-Abar at the time of books one and two.

In the tenth book (Forever Princess) Mia is writing a novel for her senior project, though she keeps it a secret from everyone but Michael, until the end of the book. At the end however she reveals this to Tina and J.P. Tina reads it instantly and thinks it is about Mia and Michael; J.P. doesn't read it and this upsets Mia, which is part of the reason they break up. At the end of the book, Mia receives an offer to get it published. (When Mia shares this news with Michael, they celebrate and this leads to a kiss, which proves that they are still in love.) Meg Cabot published "Mia's" book Ransom My Heart that can be bought in bookstores under the author name Princess of Genovia Mia Thermopolis.

Awards and nominations

Adaptations

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. 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.

Meta-references

See also

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References

Footnotes