On August 11th, 2004, Walt Disney released a charming sequel to the original Princess Diaries film with The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. The film opens with Princess Mia has just graduated from college and is returning to Genovia, where she will become Queen following her 21st birthday (her grandmother Queen Clarisse has announced her abdication in favor of her granddaughter taking the throne). Everything seems to be going smoothly: during a birthday celebration, Mia dances with all the eligible bachelors in Genovia and becomes especially attracted to a man named Nicholas (Chris Pine).
The next day, Mia accidentally stumbles into a secret listening room by the Parliament chamber just in time to hear Viscount Mabrey (John Rys-Davies) inform the Parliament (and the Queen) that his nephew, Lord Devereaux is ALSO an eligible heir to the throne of Genovia. The only way Mia can ascend the throne now is if she gets married in the next 30 days. And who is Lord Deveraux?? None other than Nicholas, the charming man she danced with the previous night. Following this, there’s a hilarious segment where Mia (and company) go through a list of eligible royal bachelors (including Prince William, who isn’t eligible at all because he’s in line for his own throne, Charlotte the secretary just likes looking at him). There appears to be a good match in Andrew Jacoby, the Duke of Kenilworth, and within weeks they are engaged. But Viscount Mabrey isn’t giving up and does everything he can to sabotage Mia’s chances for the throne, aided in this by (an increasingly reluctant) Nicholas.
A big theme in the film is how far does one go in the name of “duty”? And is it okay to abandon a traditional duty when you know you’re true love is somewhere else? In this case, Mia and Nicholas are attracted to each other almost from the beginning of the film, but Mia is upset because Nicholas is also a claimant to her throne and Nicholas (having been born and raised in Genovia), feels that HE understands the Genovian people better than she does. And there’s another wrinkle: Viscount Mabrey. At one point, Nicholas has a brilliant idea: why doesn’t he just marry Mia himself, and everybody wins. But the Viscount vetoes that idea immediately because that would leave Nicholas as prince consort and he wants to see Nicholas as King (with himself the power behind the throne, though he doesn’t mention that part).
I love this dress!!!
Ultimately, Mia discovers what is best both for herself and Genovia. And though she bucks tradition in the process (sorry Andrew!), she also helps to usher in a new day for her kingdom. I have to say, I love the coronation scene that ends the film (Mia’s gown is modeled on the real coronation gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II).
At one time there were plans to create a third Princess Diaries film, but with Anne Hathaway ageing out of the role and now the death of Garry Marshall, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I’m content though, with the two films that we do have. I hope you enjoyed reading about The Princess Diaries 2, and if you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out! -Becky
For more “On this day in Film History, see here: On this day in Film History: 2016
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