To celebrate 15 amazing years of The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot, we've listed the top 15 things that The Princess Diaries taught us!
“Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgement that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. For now you are travelling the road between who you think you are and who you can be.”
1. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side: I, like many other 21st century tweens pined for the days of ball gowns and chivalry and grew up believing that being a princess would solve all my problems. Cabot, with her charming wit and embarrassing episodes thankfully taught me that actually nothing is ever as it seems and whilst there is plenty for Mia to be thankful for (loyal boyfriend, loving mum and of course Fat Louie), her tiara causes her more problems than it solves!
2. Stay away from the bad boys: There were times reading The Princess Diaries series that I found myself rooting for one of Mia’s many lothario suitors to successfully woo her and steal her heart; however looking back it had to be Michael Moschovitz all along! He was sweet and smart and affectionate and had all of the great qualities which Josh Richter and John Paul "J.P." Reynolds Abernathy IV desperately lacked.
3. Family matters: even when they drive you to the edge of despair and every little thing they do seems to annoy you, your family are still the ones who will have your back when things don’t go your way. Mia couldn’t be more critical of Grandmere and her father but they stand by her and provide endless laughs on the journey.
4. Keep your principles: at times Mia veered off course or picked the wrong boy, but when all was said and done she stayed true to her beliefs and passions. We get to see her properly hitting her stride in Royal Wedding.
5. Cats are a girl's best friend: when high school friendships got too complicated and Grandmere was trying to force her into a new royal engagement, Mia would furiously journal the injustice and as readers we felt her pain. The one person who always knew how to comfort her was Fat Louie and as soon as I have a place of my own I intend to find a Fat Louie of my own.
6. Don’t research your symptoms online: too many times in the book Mia would dramatically diagnose herself with a new illness based on information she found on Google and stress about it for hours on end. As a worrier myself this taught me never to do the same.
7. Running away solves nothing: Mia tries to avoid going to her school dance by moving to Genovia in the third book Princess in Love because she thinks that she has completely embarrassed herself in front of Michael; however when Grandmere eventually convinces her to go she ends up sharing her first kiss with him! Imagine if she had missed that.
8. Never start biting my fingernails: or you will never stop and will be forced to wear stick on nails for all official engagements
9. Peer pressure sucks: peer pressure is the worst and I can thank Lana Weinberger for teaching me that no matter how pretty or popular someone is they do not have the right to tell me what to do. Mia definitely felt this pressure at times e.g. when she ‘sexy dances’ with J. P. in front of Michael because Lana told her she needed to act like a ‘party girl’ to fit in. Fortunately she learnt from her mistakes so that we could too!
10. Those who matter don’t care and those who care don’t matter: throughout the series Mia is constantly hounded by mean girls, the press and her court for dressing, behaving and speaking the wrong way, but in the end she learns that gossip and rumours mean nothing so long as you keep your loved ones by your side.
11. Lying gets you nowhere: Mia had a nasty habit of lying or ‘embellishing the truth’ and while it may have solved her problems in the short term it always led to a sticky end which was far worse than admitting the truth in the first place.
12. Believe in yourself: Mia finds it so hard to believe that she is worthy of the trust and responsibility which comes with her title; but she surprises herself again and again with her compassion, diplomacy and charm. This reminds me of Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote, “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.”
13. Good friends are hard to find: we see in Royal Wedding that Mia has kept pretty much all of the same close friends she had in high school way into her twenties. A few new characters make for welcome additions, but Mia’s oldest BFFs Lily and Tina are without a doubt still my favourites. Their relationships taught me that true friendship lasts a lifetime and the best friendships are the ones where you learn from each other and love one another for exactly who you are.
14. Growing up can be tricky: Progressing from child to teenager to adult is exciting. It offers loads of new experiences and opportunities; but it can also be scary, overwhelming and lonely. The Princess Diaries taught me that all of those feelings are completely normal and talking to your friends and family about it is the most helpful thing to do. A problem shared is a problem halved right?
15. Take risks: despite her constant worrying and obsessing, Mia still dared to take risks in order to get what she wanted. If she hadn’t started writing those anonymous love letters to Michael at 15 we wouldn’t have got to enjoy and fantasise about their relationship for the past 15 years' worth of fabulous YA fiction!
See the full The Princess Diaries series here.