Royal Wedding

by Meg Cabot

4/5 stars

After yesterday’s salute to the Princess Diaries series, and their impact on my formative years, I want to dive into Royal Wedding, the new adult installment of the series. Royal Wedding brings up back to Mia, now a twenty something. She has graduated college, started a nonprofit, and is dealing with a lot of Genevan politics on top of everything. Michael owns a prominent health and robotics company, and designs some emojis to send to Mia on the side. Lily is studying contract law. Violinist and professional mouth-breeder Boris is now an international pop sensation. J.P. is still being a world class creep.

This novel was fun from start to finish. It was interesting to see the way pop culture, technology, and society have changed since the first books. I didn’t consider the shift that drastic, but we are definitely in a different world now. Mia spends some nights trapped int he consulate because the press presence is too much. She finds a royalty blogger trying to bug the women’s bathroom at her not for profit.

Still, despite their crazy lives, Michael manages to whisk Mia away for her birthday weekend, where he proposes. Unfortunately, things only become more complicated from there. Their wedding is now a matter of state. Alas, they will not get to serve mini grilled cheese at their reception.

Cabot takes us in for a wild ride here. And while the novel is titled Royal Wedding, the wedding is just an additional complication. There are plenty of other plot twists and turns here to keep a reader going. It was good fun to see what characters have done with their lives. And every development for characters made sense. I may have missed years of their lives, but I totally got where they were. Yet, Mia’s voice still feels like her, and relatable. There were times when I wanted to be able to tell her to take it down a notch, but that has alway been part of her charm.

This novel contains Cabot’s signature humor and light tone. It’s a perfect summer read. If you were ever a fan of the Princess Diaries, this book is worthy of your time. I was sure glad to have Mia back to join me for a new stage of my own life.

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Flashback Friday: The Princess Diaries

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

I am of the Princess Diaries generation. I was given the first two novels for my 10th birthday. When I was 11, Anne Hathaway brought Mia Thermopolis to life. The movie also featured Mandy Moore as mean girl Lana, so it was pretty much early 2000s perfection. Add on to that a soundtrack that was the perfect belting fodder for a tween girl. I continued hanging out with Mia well throughout my teen years.The novels also began my lifelong love of Meg Cabot.

With the summer release of Royal Wedding, an adult installment of the Princess Diaries franchise, following Mia’s engagement to Michael, and the announcement that a 3rd Princess Diaries movie is in the works, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the role The Princess Diaries played for a generation of young women.

I connected Mia so much. She overthought everything. She was somewhat spastic. And, she journaled (I was a big journal keeper in my teens). She was down to earth and awkward. She was the inner spirit of so many girls. And she got to be a princess. It was the dream. And it also gave me confidence that if even princesses can be like this, I would be fine.

I also love the differences between the movies and the books, allowing me to enjoy different story lines in both. I obviously lamented the loss of Michael in the movie series, but I got to keep him in the books. And I loved Mia’s friends. Loud-mouthed activist Lilly. And Tina, who was obsessed with romance novels.

One of the most entertaining differences to me is Mia’s grandmother. Julie Andrews is a beautiful human soul, and that will never change. She mastered the art of tough love in the movies, but there was always a love, kindness, and wisdom behind everything. Because that is Julie Andrews. Not the case in the books. In Cabot’s novels, Clarisse Renaldo chain-smokes, paints on her eyebrows, and is convinced everyone is in love with her her. She is prickly, and it is almost impossible to tell whether she feels filial affection for her granddaughter. She is crafty though. And has basically no filter. Both versions of Mia’s grandmother are delightful.

Before we go, enjoy two of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack.

I’m hoping a new generation of girls will also fall in love with these novels, especially with a new middle-grade spinoff series Cabot has recently released.