Film / The Princess Diaries

Based on the book series of the same name, this pair of films, released in 2001 and 2004, stars Anne Hathaway in her Star-Making Role and Julie Andrews in her first Disney film since Mary Poppins.

Very little resembles the plot of the books. For the first film, much of the core plot from the first book does remain, however major changes were made to some plot points and characters or some of them were removed entirely. The second film, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement is in fact an entirely new creation: the only plot point from the books being used was Mia's mother marrying her teacher and having a baby with him. However, these movies gave the world Anne Hathaway, for which the world will be forever grateful (and Chris Pine, for which women everywhere will be forever grateful), and are popular sleepover fare with preteen (and not so preteen) girls to this day. A 2-movie collection, containing both films, was released on Blu-ray Disc on May 15, 2012.

This film series provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism:
    • Downplayed and subverted; Mia struggles with her unwanted new status throughout the first film.
    • The opportunity to go to a beach party with longtime-crush Josh distracts Mia from the fact that she had already promised to appear on best friend Lilly's TV show.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Mia in the book isn't quite attractive as Anne Hathaway is after the makeover. The later books make clear Mia is Beautiful All Along.
    • Grandmere is a chain-smoking old harridan in the books. In the film, she's Julie Andrews.
    • Lilly is played by Heather Matarazzo, in the book she has glasses, is pudgy, and has a faced described as looking like a pug.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Phillipe Renaldo in the books was a Ladykiller in Love who Really Gets Around because Mia's mother refused to marry him, out of fear of being forced into the royal life. He also makes a series of bad judgments. In the movies, Phillipe was none of these things in life (though in fairness Helen actually did marry him, and they got divorced) and Mia mentions that he covered her school tuition and would send her nice presents.
    • Clarisse goes from Evil Matriarch and Manipulative Bastard to a Cool Old Lady.
    • While Lily is still a massive Soapbox Sadie, the movie toned her down a LOT. She's more loyal to Mia and is open about her Green-Eyed Monster tendencies, namely that Mia can create a lot of change with her status as a princess.
    • Josh Richter in the books was a Dumb Blonde who didn't even realize that Mia existed until she was outed as a princess. He gets a Pet the Dog moment in the film which then doubles as a Bait the Dog moment: when Mia is struggling as goalie in soccer, he gives her the advice to try and stay calm and not be scared of the ball.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Mia in the books is a dirty blonde, and has it cut short. Movie Mia is brunette with frizzy shoulder-length hair, which gets straightened during the Makeover Montage.
    • Also Fat Louie, who is orange in the books but black-and-white in the movies.
  • Adapted Out: A lot of characters from the books don't make it to the films, such as Mia's bodyguard Lars, and some of her friends: Tina, Perrin and Ling Su. In the books, it was mentioned that Tina's Overprotective Dad didn't want her featured and threatened to sue unless she was taken out.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Paolo, who was merely Mia's hair stylist and her occasional confidante in the books, outs her as a princess for some money and the glory of having done her stunning makeover.
    • Lana Weinberger doesn't get the redeeming moments that she earns later in the series, with befriending Mia after Michael breaks up with the latter and Mia suffers a Trauma Conga Line as a result and Mia realizing that Lana is just a shallower version of Lilly , in that she makes insulting remarks because she thinks she's funny.
  • Advertised Extra: Raven-Symoné as Asana in the sequel.
  • All There in the Script: Charlotte's last name, Kutaway.
  • Artifact Title: The movies lose the diary format the books are written in. Mia has a diary of low plot importance, making the title technically applicable, but not really.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Mia takes her place and is crowned as queen of Genovia at the end of the sequel.
  • Awkward Kiss:
    • Mia wants her first kiss to be an epic moment where her foot pops up like in old movies. Unfortunately, her foot gets stuck in fishing net on the floor of the shack they were hiding in, and she was with a Romantic False Lead. She gets her epic kiss once she realizes the right guy is her old friend.
    • The sequel has one as well, when Mia and Andrew try to kiss to see if they have any romantic chemistry at all. Cue extremely uncomfortable liplock and the realization that they are definitely Better as Friends.
  • Bait the Dog: Josh has one Pet the Dog moment towards Mia, where he tries to give her advice on not being scared of soccer balls while she's playing goalie in recess. Then after he finds out she's a princess he tries to use her to get his "fifteen minutes of fame".
  • Bald of Awesome: Joe. Don't deny it when you're played by Hector Elizondo.
  • Becoming the Mask: Nicholas eventually allows Mia to have the throne because he thinks she deserves it, and because he genuinely fell in love with her.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Mia and Nicholas in the sequel.
  • Better as Friends:
    • In the second movie, Mia and Michael had broke up, and Mia mentioned that they're now back to "just friends".
    • Mia and Andrew as well. The two got along really well, and Mia expected him to be her perfect match to secure the throne of Genovia. Later, they fall for other people, and they (quite happily) called off the wedding.
  • Betty and Veronica: With Mia as the Archie both times:
    • In the first film, it's shy Michael as the Betty and Mia's longtime crush Josh as the Veronica.
    • Invoked in the second film, where Mabrey instructs Nicholas to seduce Mia with the thought of a passionate romance, contrasting her intended Marriage of Convenience with Andrew. The one thing he didn't count on was Nicholas genuinely falling for her.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Mia says this when Queen Clarisse tells her that she is a princess.
    Mia: Me, a princess? SHUT. UP!
    Clarisse: (sipping tea, doing a Spit Take) I beg your pardon? "Shut up"?
    Maitre'D: Your Majesty, in America, it doesn't always mean to be quiet. Here it could mean "Wow, gee whiz, golly wolly"...
    • Listen carefully and it may also be a Last-Second Word Swap for something else beginning with 'Sh..,' that isn't appropriate to say in front of your grandmother.
    • Lilly also says this when Mia tells her the same thing.
    • In the sequel, Clarisse herself says it when the Genovian parliament drops the bomb that Mia must be married in order to ascend to the throne. Leads to a funny moment when the camera cuts back to an eavesdropping Mia:
    Clarisse: Shut up!
    Mia: Grandma said 'shut up'? Shut up!
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blonde Lana, Brunette (and Token Minority to boot) Fontana and Redhead Anna.
  • Body Guard Crush: Queen Clarisse and Joe, the head of the security service, have feelings for each other. They eventually get together in the sequel.
  • Bowdlerise: In the books, Mia was a child born out of wedlock to two college grads with Belligerent Sexual Tension, and she becomes the heir by default when testicular cancer makes her father sterile. In the movies, her parents are divorced, with Helen denying that Grandmere made the divorce happen.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Mia talks to her mother about getting her first Foot Popping Kiss. After the debacle at the beach, Mia is crying into her mother's arms and wails "my foot didn't even pop!"
    • A little less harsh than the previous example, there is a moment near the beginning of the first film where Mia accidentally breaks off one of the fingers of a porcelain statue in the embassy. She tries to hide it by putting the finger in the statue's mouth. Later on, at the grand ball, two officials are admiring the statue and pondering whether or not the item in the statue's mouth is string cheese.
      • In the second film you see the same officials wonder if there will be string cheese at Mia's birthday.
    • A subtle one, also somewhat related to the beach party debacle. Right before Mia mentions the Foot Popping, her mother calls Josh a "Backstreet Boy clone". Later, when Mia shows up at school the day after the scandal, "What Makes You Different" by the Backstreet Boys is playing in the background.
  • Broken Pedestal: Mia learning that she is, in fact, not the person she thought she was (and that her mother has been lying to her for her entire life) does not improve the situation at the Thermopolis household.
  • Call-Back: Mia asks one of the dignitaries about her grandchildren, two of whom are named Lilly and Charlotte. Those are the names of the little twin girls with Jeremiah that Mia signs autographs for in the first film.
  • The Cameo: Freakin' Stan Lee in the sequel. And that was before anyone even thought about the idea of Disney buying Marvel. Sophia Loren also cameos in the birthday party scene.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Two cases:
    • First at the state dinner, Mia's clumsiness causes a fiasco that's Played for Laughs - and luckily for her everyone at the dinner finds it charmingly hilarious. But it then cuts to Mia in her room, sadly saying "I'm sorry I let you down" to a picture of her father.
    • The second comes at the beach. While getting hounded by the paparazzi isn't treated as funny, it's still played light-heartedly. When Lana and her Girl Posse expose her getting changed, any humour the scene may have had goes away with Mia's panicked "go away, all of you!" - and with the Fridge Horror that this is a 15-year-old girl the photographers are trying to get nude pictures of.
  • The Cheerleader: Lana, the school's Alpha Bitch, and her Girl Posse are all catty cheerleaders. Lily also invokes this trope by worrying that next week Mia "could be waving pompoms in my face!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the first film, Paolo is called in to give Mia a makeover, and Clarisse wants him to sign a confidentiality agreement. Paolo demurs and claims he knows what a secret is. When Mia goes to school later, paparazzi are swarming all over the place, which Paolo admits to being responsible for, for the sake of money pride.
  • Corpsing: The part where Mia falls off the bleachers was accidental. Anne Hathaway's laughing is genuine and arguably in-character so they kept rolling. Heather Matarazzo breaks character briefly but the scene goes on.
  • Cucumber Facial: "Can I tell you a secret? The cucumber does nothing."
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jeremiah is nowhere to be found in the second movie. It's possible Lilly lost touch with him at some point in between the two installments.
  • Damned by Faint Praise:
    Clarisse: You look so... young.
    Mia: Uh, thank you. And you look so... [long pause] ...clean.
  • Death by Adaptation: Mia's dad, Philippe. In the books, he is very much alive and only reveals to Mia that she's a Princess because he has testicular cancer and can no longer have any kids, making the illegitimate Mia his only heir. In the movie, they kill him in order to brush past testicular cancer in a Disney movie. Clarisse simply mentions a "terrible accident" implying that's how he died.
  • December–December Romance: Joe and Clarisse.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: Mia and Nicolas don't do anything when they slept together, but citizens of Genovia could interpret this differently.
  • Everyone Can See It: Joe and Clarisse — when they announce they're going to get married even the bishop mouths "finally". Given the first film has the Prime Minister's handing Clarisse over to dance with Joe, it doesn't seem they tried hard to hide their feelings.
  • Failed A Spotcheck: Because Grandmere never made an effort to visit Mia before Mia's father died, Mia never learned that she was royalty in Genovia.
  • Femininity Failure: There's the awkward Mia who takes princess lessons and gets a makeover to which her friend tells her that she sold out. She's still clumsy after the lessons.
  • Fictional Country: Genovia
  • Foil: Josh and Michael, the romantic leads in the first film (neither of whom is relevant in the second). Josh is blonde, popular (when he tries, he can be a fairly charismatic speaker, like during the debate scene; mostly he's just an idiot, like his "Be the Ball" speech during PE class), and a showboat. Michael is brunet, plays keyboard in a garage band (the fangirls mostly show up for the guitarist), remains quiet and low-key, but has actual talent. A good comparison scene is during the band class, where Michael is playing piano and Josh is sitting right beside him: Michael has his head down, focusing on the keys, while Josh is hamming it up beside him, pretending to play the piano with his hands flying around dramatically.
  • Foot Popping: Trope Namer. Mia expresses her wish to do this. She fails to do it with Josh, but succeeds with Michael. Also with Nicholas in the second movie.
  • Formal Full Array of Cutlery: All meals have their huge number of cutlery. Queen Clarisse once discretely reminds Mia she's supposed to eat fruits with a fork and a knife, instead of using her hands.
  • Friendship as Courtship: 2 has Queen Clarisse's longtime bodyguard's spontaneous proposal to her following an hour and a half of Unresolved Sexual Tension, which she accepts.
  • Friend to All Children: Mia in the second film. She invites orphan children to join her during Genovia's independence day parade, and is later seen making plans to re-purpose a royal estate as a children's center.
  • Funny Background Event: Actually, Funny Foreground Event. When Clarisse is teaching Mia how to properly wave, Joe is in front of them, pretending to drive the car. Halfway through, Joe realizes he has to leave and mimes actually parking the car.
  • Gag Echo: See Big "SHUT UP!" above.
  • Generation Xerox: Many of the problems Mia faces when starting out as a princess are similar to what her grandmother had to deal with (as Clarisse had married into royalty). Even Mia's marriage to Andrew (had it gone through) — Clarisse was deeply fond of her first husband, calling him her best friend, but judging by how people act around Joe when not in the presence of royalty, it was absolutely no secret that the man she was actually in love with was him. Similarly, it's clear Andrew and Mia care for each other, but not in the romantic sense.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Joe: Strange town San Francisco. When I purchased the pumps, he asked if I wanted them wrapped or if I wanted to wear them.
    • Also:
    Clarisse: You have a cousin who's a Contessa, known fondly as Bartholomew. Actually, we call him Pookie.
    • And:
    Paolo: It was I who outed you. So to speak, I did not of course mean to imply...
    • From the second one:
    Mia: [about a potential husband] He's cute.
    Joe: His boyfriend thinks he's handsome also.
    Mia and Lilly: Right on!
  • The Glasses Gotta Go
    Paolo: Do you wear contact lenses?
    Mia: Oh, I have them, but I really don't like to wear them that much.
    Paolo: Now... (breaks her glasses in half) you do.
    Mia: (shocked) You broke my glasses!
    Paolo: You broke my brush.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lilly's first reaction to Mia's makeover?
    Lilly: Who -destroyed- you?
  • Hands-On Approach: Nicholas teaching Mia to shoot an arrow in the second movie.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nicholas has this in the end.
  • Homage:
    • In the second movie, Mia dances with a succession of royal suitors with humorous personalities and/or odd dance styles, much as Audrey Hepburn (also playing a somewhat unorthodox princess) does in Roman Holiday.
    • One of the cut scenes in the second movie also had a Breakfast at Tiffany's shout-out.
  • Hypocrite: Lilly in the first film hates the "A-Crowd" right up until she realizes Mia's A-crowd by birth. First she can't stand Mia's makeover until she learns Mia's a princess, and later she gives a list of reasons why Mia shouldn't be a princess, but since she's a princess anyway, would she mind coming on Lilly's show?
  • Imagine Spot: In a borderline Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, after discussing Foot Popping, Mia has an Imagine Spot where a foot attempts to pop but fails due to her shoe being stuck to a piece of gum.
    • A cut scene from the first movie, which would have taken place before the makeover, has an Imagine Spot of Mia as a wooden puppet, following Clarisse's order.
  • It's All About Me: In the first movie, a lot of the conflict happens between Mia and her mother because each insists the other acknowledges her feelings first. Mia's mother justifies her decision to divorce her husband (and deny Mia her father and her heritage) in part because she refused to walk behind someone for the rest of her life, and Mia gets upset with her mother (who does -not- have a lot of other prospects that meet standards) for scoring a date from her teacher because "it would give the other kids license to mock me for the rest of my life".
  • Lessons in Sophistication: The first film covers Mia's princess education. Despite the fact that the clumsy, awkward Mia doesn't take naturally to any of her lessons and clowns her way through them, she still absorbs quite a lot, and is able to demonstrate much of what she's learned in her grand debut at the end of the film.
  • Love Redeems: Nicholas for Mia in the second film.
  • The Makeover: Played straight in the movies.
  • Makeover Montage: Mia is given a princess makeover.
  • Marriage of Convenience: In the sequel, Mia resigns herself to this with Andrew so she can properly inherit the throne, although they both acknowledge that there's no romantic spark between them. She calls off the wedding at the altar, to both of their relief.
  • Modesty Shorts: Seen when Mia comes down the spiral steps at the beginning.
  • Nepotism: A throwaway gag line in the sequel reveals that the reason why Mia's suite wasn't ready upon her arrival is because they asked her grandfather's cousin to do the bathroom. As Clarisse puts it, nepotism belongs in the arts — not plumbing.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: When Nicolas attempts to woo Mia, he pulls her close to him and kisses her at least once.
  • No Sparks: Mia and Andrew's problem in the sequel. They click immediately — as friends. While they would have had a comfortable marriage had the wedding gone through, it wouldn't have necessarily been happy. This relationship apparently mirrors that between Mia's grandparents. Clarissa called her late husband her best friend, and she was happy with him, but she didn't love him — at least, not as much as she should have, and not quite in the way a wife would love her husband.
  • Obviously Evil: Mabrey makes it clear that he's out for the throne.
  • Oh, Crap!: Paolo lets out a small shriek upon seeing Mia for the first time.
  • Pair the Spares: In A Royal Engagement, the garden party makes it quite clear that not only are Mia and Nicholas the Official Couple of the film, Andrew is quite taken with Lady Elyssa, Nicholas' date. The final scene implies that they did indeed get together.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: The whole conflict of the second movie could've been avoided if they had betrothed Nicholas to Mia — especially since it was becoming increasingly clear to anyone watching them interact that they wouldn't be opposed to the idea at all. Nicholas even brings up the possibility to his uncle, who immediately shoots it down as he does not want anyone to threaten his attempts to make Nicholas a Puppet King.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Mia's princess dresses would count merely as Simple, yet Opulent if not for the intricate embroidery.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: In the sequel, Mia frequently wears shades of red, pink, and orange while Nicolas is frequently seen in shades of blue.
  • Precocious Crush: Prince Jacques, age 12, tries to romance Mia while dancing with her at her 21st birthday.
  • Prince Charming: Andrew Jacoby from the sequel is a duke, not a prince, but fits the part in all other aspects. He's an Oxbridge-educated Nice Guy who does volunteer work and photography, has experience as a military pilot, and is apparently a champion swimmer.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Downplayed. The Vice Principal is all over Clarisse Renaldi after she arrives at school in the first film.
  • Punny Name: Charlotte's unspoken last name Kutaway is because the character frequently appears in cutaway shots.
  • Quirky Country: Genovia, if the second movie is anything to go by. Apparently, marching bands with violin and accordion players are commonplace there, as are goats that moo and pear-flavoured popcorn.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Robert Schwartzmann was busy touring with his band when the sequel was produced, which is why Mia's narration says they are Better as Friends at the start.
  • Retcon: Despite having liked two guys in the first movie and officially dating one of them at the end, Mia will state in the sequel that she's never been in love. Then again, she could have been talking about being in a serious relationship; how many high school romances tend to last after high school?
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Andrew really is just as nice as he appears, and if things had been different, he and Mia probably could have made a go of a content, if not exactly passionate, marriage. He is seen standing with Lilly and Nicholas at Mia's coronation, making it clear that they did remain friends.
  • RunawayCouple: Played straight in the climax where Mia decides not to marry Andrew for the sake of Genovia, much to his relief since he didn't want to marry her either.
  • Ruritania: Genovia, a fictional country between France and Spain.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Mia. She even provides the picture for the trope page.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lilly ships Mia/Nicholas. Mia ships Joe/Clarisse.
  • Shipping Torpedo: Nicholas and his uncle initially try to torpedo Mia/Andrew so Nicholas can be king. He has a change of heart.
  • Ship Tease: Lily and the leader of the Royal Guard Band in the sequel. He even goes as far as to ask if he could call her in California, and she slips him her business card.
  • Shout-Out (and also Actor Allusion): In the second movie, Julie Andrews saying "I've done a LOT of flying in my day." Also, Lilly compares Brigitt and Brigitta first to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, then to Lenny and Squiggy.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: "Lily, just because your hair sucks, get off mine"
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Mia and Nicholas. Literally.
  • Slut-Shaming: Grandmere calls out Mia for getting the embarrassing photos published and being at a Wild Teen Party at the beach, since she can't go after Josh. Joe later in turn tells Grandmere that she was being too hard on Mia since Josh was the one who led to the embarrassing photos, and Mia was a victim.
  • Stealth Insult: Delivered during a toast to the film's villains, Baron and Baroness von Troken; (who hope that Mia fails to accept her royal heritage in order to allow for them to be next in line to rule Genovia) in which the toast went "To Baron and Baroness von Troken, may you always remain barren". (This could also be interpreted as "baron", as in may he stay baron and thus never get to rule Genovia.)
  • Succession Crisis: The plot of the second movie — an obscure law bars Mia from inheriting the throne of Genovia unless she is married. In the event that she doesn't, Nicholas Devereaux, a distant heir, is next in line. Gets resolved when Nicholas allows Mia to have the throne, mainly because he never wanted it and is in love with her.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mia gives a brief one to Lana after "coning" her.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Clarisse and Joe. If Viscount Mabrey's comment is anything to go by, this has been going on for quite some time. They finally resolve it by getting married in the sequel.
  • Uptown Girl: Mia for Michael in the first film and Clarisse for Joe in the second. Both are particularly painful examples as Michael is already pretty close to Mia when he discovers she's royalty instead of an ordinary girl. Joe has been in love with Clarisse for years but has held back from saying anything because of her devotion to Genovia.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Lilly in the first film.
    I kept your royal secret, and do you know how hard it is to keep a secret when you have a cable show?
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: Played straight in the sequel when Mia and Andrew call off their wedding at the altar, Mia convinces Clarisse and Joe to finally tie the knot. The former sheepishly says "you were all dressed" to the confused wedding guests.
  • You Do Not Want To Know: Mia to Clarisse twice over, with the second instance acting as a Call-Back.
    • In the first movie, when Mia shows up wet at the event where she is supposed to announce that she is the new princess.
    • In the second movie, when she arrives back at the palace after falling into a fountain.
  • Your Tradition Is Not Mine: Mia's initial rejection of her royal parentage.