The Princess Diaries

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Genovia
Principality of Genovia
Location of The Land Of Pears

General location of Genovia
Real-world
SeriesThe Princess Diaries
CreatorMeg Cabot
GenreYoung-adult fiction
Fictional
MottoThe whole body works
AnthemGenovia, the land I call my home
CapitalPyrus
Language(s)English and French
Ethnic groupsFrench, Italian, Germans
GovernmentParliamentary Monarchy
Population64,486
CurrencyLekem (LKM)
 
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The Princess Diaries is a series of epistolary young adult novels by Meg Cabot, and the title of the first volume, published in 2000.

Meg Cabot quotes the series' inspiration on her website as: "I was inspired to write The Princess Diaries when my mum, 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 books are noted for containing many popular culture references, which include singers, movies, and fads in modern culture. Many critics have taken unkindly to this form of storytelling. In response, Cabot wrote an English teacher into the book, Princess in Training, who criticizes Mia's writing, telling her that it relies too much on "slick pop culture references." By the final novel, this has allowed Mia to progress and grow as a person.

The series ended with its tenth book, when Mia turns 18.[2] Meg Cabot, however, has also said that she may 'drop in' on her [Mia] from time to time in the future.

Series description[edit]

Plot Summaries have been moved to their individual volume pages.

The story of Mia Thermopolis's adolescent turmoil as an average teenager and a princess of royal descent - chronicled in her ongoing journal, where she explores topics of teenage angst, love, and betrayal through a very opinionated eye.

Setting[edit]

Genovia
Principality of Genovia
Location of The Land Of Pears

General location of Genovia
Real-world
SeriesThe Princess Diaries
CreatorMeg Cabot
GenreYoung-adult fiction
Fictional
MottoThe whole body works
AnthemGenovia, the land I call my home
CapitalPyrus
Language(s)English and French
Ethnic groupsFrench, Italian, Germans
GovernmentParliamentary Monarchy
Population64,486
CurrencyLekem (LKM)
Flag of Genovia

The series is set in Manhattan. Some books take place in Genovia, a fictional European country. The Genovia depicted in the films differs significantly from the Genovia described in the books. In the books, Genovia is referred to as a principality between France and Spain that is ruled by Mia's father, Prince Philippe Renaldo. In the movies, Genovia is located between France and Spain and is a full monarchy ruled by Mia's grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldo.

Characters[edit]

Mia Thermopolis[edit]

Mia is the protagonist. Her official name is Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo.

She is the daughter of Helen Thermopolis and Philippe Renaldo, and the princess and sole heir to the throne of Genovia, a small country in Europe located between France and Italy. Having lived most of her life in Greenwich Village, Mia attends Albert Einstein High School with her few close friends (including her best friends, Lilly Moscovitz and Tina Hakim-Baba). Her special talent is writing and she chronicles the main aspects of her life in various personal diaries. She prefers being called Mia.

Mia Thermopolis is a budding author who writes and publishes her own novel called Ransom My Heart, a historical romance set in England in the year 1291, in the final book of the series, Forever Princess.

She is the super obsessive and overprotective sister of Rocky Thermopolis-Gianini, causing her best friend Lilly Moscovitz to refer to her as a BL (Baby Licker), POG (Princess Of Genovia), or PIT (Princess In Training). Mia seems to hate all of these nicknames, but doesn't object to them. Mia is known for her sarcastic personality, her flat-chest, 5 feet 9 height, not that girly, weird hair, and extremely large feet. Mia grabs an interest for writing during the series, making donations to Greenpeace, with the money her father pays her to visit her grandmother, as well as having a tendency to overanalyze things and worry too much.

She has been in love with Michael Moscovitz, Lilly's older brother, since she was in 1st grade and he was in 4th, when he brought a school project of Lilly's to their classroom. Lilly knows but doesn't really know how to respond, Mia admits her feelings to Michael in Princess in Love and to her delight, he reciprocates. Due to their age difference, however, their relationship becomes a bit strained.

In book eight, Princess on the Brink, Mia finds out Michael is moving to Japan to develop his prototype for a robot arm that would allow doctors to perform open heart surgery, an invention he later reveals was spurred by his desire to prove he was "worthy of dating a princess". In an attempt to keep him in the city, Mia proposes sex but is upset to find out that Michael already lost his virginity to Judith Gershner, a former classmate. Mia, behaving immaturely as she is angry and heartbroken, flings back the snowflake necklace that Michael gave her on her fifteenth birthday in Princess In Pink, signifying that their relationship is over. Mia, however, quickly regrets the decision. Michael is also quite heart-broken about it.

Also in book eight, Lilly is dumped by her boyfriend J.P., who quickly makes a play for Mia. Mia accidentally kisses J.P., which was witnessed by Lilly and Michael, which left him even more heart broken. As a result, Lilly refused to speak Mia and they stopped being friends despite Mia's repeated attempts to get back in Lilly's good graces. The two finally make up in Forever Princess.

In the ninth book, Princess Mia, Mia confides in her psychologist, Dr. Knutz, about feeling inferior to Michael, whom she expected to dump her for someone better and admits that she overreacted about Judith in order to dump Michael first. She attempts to salvage her romantic relationship with Michael; he refuses, but they become friends again. Michael is hinted to have been abstinent during his tenure in Japan and later returns to New York as a multi-millionaire in Forever Princess.

Despite the fact that she has a boyfriend, Mia remains in love with Michael and toward the end of the final book, Forever Princess, Michael kisses Mia and tells her that he never stopped loving her. Mia breaks up with J.P., who was only using her to get attention from the media to further his playwriting career. Michael and Mia finally reunite and it is hinted that he becomes her royal consort in the future.

Mia is now currently at Sarah Lawrence College and is done with high school. Mia is very happy with Michael, and is friends with all her "true friends" by the end of the series.

Clarisse Marie Grimaldi Renaldo[edit]

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

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[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.

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, however, cause her and Mia to clash, especially when Mia feels Lilly is becoming too critical of her. Yet, 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". Lilly does however have a well-developed figure which earns her several romantic suitors including Boris Pelkowski, Mia's cousin Hank, Jangbu, J.P. Reynolds, and Kenny Showalter.

Boris Pelkowski was Lilly's first boyfriend but the relationship ended when she cheated on him in Princess in Pink with an immigrant busboy Jangbu. In Party Princess, Lilly hooks up with J.P. Reynolds but in Princess On the Brink, Lilly is dumped by him because he never loved her. Lilly becomes angry at Mia when she finds out that Mia kissed J.P. and refuses to speak to her any more, even starting a website called ihatemiathermopolis.com. Lilly is cold to Mia's attempts to make up but when she finds out that Mia is planning to lose her virginity to J.P., Lilly interferes and tells her that she and J.P. had sex (J.P. had lied about being a virgin to Mia) and his plans to use Mia's fame to his own advantage. Lilly also helps indirectly in the patching up of Mia and her brother Michael's relationship. The girls make up and become best friends again.

Michael Moscovitz[edit]

Mia's main love interest throughout the series.

Mia initially thinks she is in love with popular jock Josh Richter, but by the second book, she acknowledges her feelings and states that she's been in love with Michael Moscovitz 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, feelings which he finally returns in Princess in Love. Their relationship continues through Mia's sophomore year and Michael's first years 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 believe 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 discovering her love for him 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 get back together and work it out long distance but Michael decides that it's best they stay "just friends" and he still sends Mia emails regularly. When Michael returns from Japan after being gone for almost two years, he flirts with Mia during her interview for the school paper. Mia notices that Michael still looks incredibly hot. The two eventually kiss, despite Mia having a boyfriend, and Michael declares that he still loves Mia and will wait for her. The two get back together on Mia's prom night and they finally have sex together.

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. Michael is romantic and talented. Though he often clashes with his younger sister, Michael and Lilly are in fact close siblings and friends. He used to have his own webzine called Crackhead but had to disband it after an editorial that stated the merits of Linux over Windows, which caused a loss in advertisers and funds. Shortly after this, Michael decided to start a band called Skinner Box (name suggested by Mia), which refers to an experiment by the behavioural psychologist B. F. Skinner into proving the existence of a 'conditioned response', with the use of a specially designed box that held animals (such as rats and monkeys, in the experiment) until release, which could only be activated by pressing a lever. He started it with a few friends, including Boris Pelkowski.

Mia insists that it's common knowledge that he's the third best-looking guy at AEHS after Josh Richter and Justin Baxendale and described 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 loves Mia just as she is, though her neurotic behavior and insecurity can be frustrating. In fact, Michael is the one who often feels insecure in their relationship because he knows Clarisse Marie Renaldo 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 Mia's other grandmother, Mamaw suggests Zac Efron from High School Musical. Due to this, Michael believes moving to Japan and developing his robotic arm would finally 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, 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 get back together and they spend the night together.

Secondary characters[edit]

[3]

Volumes[edit]

Illustrated by Chelsey McLaren:

Errata[edit]

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[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

In 2001 and 2004 respectively, the series was brought to the big screen by Walt Disney Pictures as The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. Cabot has thanked the movies 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.

In May 2006, The Harvard Crimson released reports that 19-year-old author Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarised passages from Cabot's Princess Diaries series, and other books, to place in her novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. Viswanathan's novels were subsequently pulled from the shelves.[11]

Meta-References[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]