On this day in Film History: The Princess Diaries (2001)

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On this day in film history (an unbelievable 15 years ago), Walt Disney Pictures released The Princess Diaries, a film adaptation of Meg Cabot’s 2000 novel of the same name. Directed by the late Garry Marshall, this film marked Anne Hathaway’s film debut as she plays the role of Mia Thermopolis, a very awkward soon-to-be 16 year old who discovers that her late father was actually the prince of Genovia and that she is next in line to the throne after her grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews in a role that she is just perfect for). Mia’s entire world is turned upside down by this revelation and she has to juggle school, newfound fame AND the question of whether or not she even WANTS to be a Princess (and later a Queen, I mean this is a lot to take in when you’re 15 going on 16!)

Typical teenage drama ensues, Mia has a crush on a school jock while Michael, a musician with his own rock band (and fellow student) clearly likes Mia. There’s also the cruel blonde cheerleader Lana who loves to torment Mia (and her friends). When Mia gets a makeover as part of her “princess lessons,” she finds herself going to a school beach bash, despite earlier promising to attend her friend Lilly’s TV show and turning down a date with Michael as well. It turns out that Mia’s new “friends” only wanted their 15 minutes of fame and Mia is left humiliated as a result. She nearly runs away from it all, but a letter from her late father inspires her to come back and accept her role as a Princess of Genovia.

I loved this movie growing up. What teenage girl with a rough time in school wouldn’t dream of finding out that they’re actually a princess and heir to a throne in another country? Seeing how Anne Hathaway’s career has taken off, I wonder how many know she got her start in this film? The 2004 sequel, The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, is also great fun (and it has Chris Pine (aka the new Captain Kirk) in a very early film role).

Have you seen The Princess Diaries? How would you feel if you found out you were actually a prince/princess? Let me know in the comments below! -Becky

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*poster image is the property of Walt Disney Studios

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