8 Royal Lessons ‘The Princess Diaries’ Can Teach You About Life
Who didn’t relate to Mia Thermopolis as a child? The surprise princess taught us everything, from how not to eat sorbet to expecting that oh-so-romantic foot pop during a magical kiss. And those life lessons from “The Princess Diaries” stuck with us — and still remind us how to live better lives with every re-watch.
And yes, we are including “Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement” — one of the most underappreciated Disney sequels around — in our education. That movie taught us so much (including an undying love for Chris Pine) for the next stages of our inner-princess lives as Mia moved from high school to ruling the kingdom of Genovia. So with that said, here are eight of our favorite pieces of life advice supplied by the beloved feature films.
1. Life is full of surprises.
You truly never know when your estranged grandmother will appear in your life and announce that you are secretly a princess. Or you know, drop the bomb that your dream job is within reach or that there’s a tiny country in Europe that could be your new home. (Oh, Genovia.) Be ready. Life is always bringing you the unexpected.
2. Etiquette is great, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
We’re not going to knock the importance of great etiquette. Knowing the ins and outs of dinner party behavior, office operations or even a black tie gala will help you network like a pro and make friends with the kinds of people who can make things happen for your career. Also, it’s classy AF to know which wine glass goes with white and which with red.
However, even if you drink Chardonnay out of a glass made for Pinot Noir, what will really shine through is your character. Even the best etiquette can only elevate your personality. You can teach someone to sit up straight, but you can’t teach true grace. That’s on the inside.
3. Your real friends like you no matter your royal status.
Regardless of what your hair looks like or if you’re in line for the throne of a foreign country, your real friends will be there for you. You could feel like an awkward fly on the wall or be the belle of the ball and the people who love you for you will be right there next to you, making snarky comments or dancing it up.
4. Some people value fame more than friendship.
While your people will stand by you through it all, there are people out there who will only be around for the highlights. They only want to tag along for the good parts of your life, when there are perks for them for being around you. Sometimes these people are harmless and just want a piece of your good times, but other times, they’re toxic. Keep an eye on them, and if they make you feel bad, cut them out. Or throw an ice cream cone at them, a la Mia.
5. Rules can be changed.
Sometimes rules are unfair. But when you see a rule that isn’t fair, whether it’s an old-school sexist law about royal weddings or a company policy about promotions, it’s okay to challenge the status quo and aim for equality. In fact, you should. #feminism
6. You decide your own worth.
As heart-of-gold chauffeur Joe says in the movie, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” No matter what you look like or who your family is, your self-worth is inherent. So stop looking at yourself through other people’s eyes and focus on living your life the way you want to live it.
7. You can’t control love.
Sometimes, you’re going to fall for a person you don’t want to fall for. Sometimes, you won’t have feelings for the greatest person who would be the ideal partner. Sometimes, the person you love might not love you back. Love is unpredictable and trying to force yourself either in or out of it is futile.
8. Be brave.
The biggest lesson from the movie is, of course, from the touching letter Mia’s father wrote to her before his death. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear,” he wrote. “The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all.” He inspires her to follow her heart to Genovia and, eventually, become queen of the country. We can all use some of this bravery to live life like the queens we all are.