Things About The Princess Diaries Only Adults Notice

The Princess Diaries was a pretty big deal when in premiered in 2001. The film, based off of the Meg Cabot book of the same name, told the story of an average American girl who discovers that she's European royalty and next in line for the throne of the (made-up) kingdom of Genovia. Suddenly, she goes from an unpopular high school student to a word-famous royal hounded by the paparazzi.


Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, and part teen movie, The Princess Diaries is one of those films that has a little something for everyone — royal or not. Whether you watch it as an adult to relive some of that 2000s nostalgia, or because you want to get in touch with your own inner princess, The Princess Diaries is a classic that is appealing to people of all ages. Of course, watching it as an adult might leave you with a few questions...

Who is paying for this massive home?

Anne Hathaway's awkward teen character, Mia Thermopolis, lives in one of the most expensive cities in the United States: California's San Francisco. Even back in the early 2000s, rent in the area did not come cheap, which leaves us wondering how a single mom could afford the converted firehouse that she and Mia live in. It's a pretty spacious home, and, considering that Mia's mom had to trade two paintings to buy her daughter a 1966 Mustang that doesn't even run, well, it's safe to say that she's far from wealthy.


It's possible that Mia's mother, Helen (played by Caroline Goodall), inherited the firehouse, or that Mia's royal father was footing the bill. Since Mia is aware her distant father pays for her school tuition, though, it seems pretty unlikely that he also used his funds to buy the firehouse or to pay rent on it. Then again, he did have a royal bank account.

How did Mia have no idea her dad was Genovia's ruler?

While viewers of The Princess Diaries know that Genovia is fictional, the country very much exists in the world of the movie. Even if Mia's social studies classes throughout school didn't touch on the small European nation, she has to have had some interest in the country where her dad lives. At some point in her life, you'd think that she would have turned to AskJeeves (remember, the movie came out in 2001) or Google to learn more about the place.


It seems pretty hard to believe that she wouldn't be curious about her father's home or that even a brief overview of the country wouldn't mention its royal family. Just how, exactly, did Mia's family cover up her dad's identity for 15 years? Did they lie to her about her dad's name? Has she never seen a picture of him? We have so many questions.

Couldn't they have broken the princess news more gently?

Mia met her grandmother (played by film icon Julie Andrews) about ten minutes before being told not only that her father was the heir to the Genovian throne, but also that she is now expected to take his place. This is a huge burden to put on a girl who doesn't even have a driver's license yet, and also a pretty big surprise to drop over tea. Couldn't the queen have broken the news just a bit more gently? You can't just tell a person that all of their plans for the future are going to have to be put on hold because they are now expected to rule a nation that they've never even been to. To have the news come from a near-stranger makes it even harder to swallow. We can't blame Mia for telling the queen to shut up!


Why couldn't Mia's mother have been the one to break the news? It would have been no less of a surprising revelation, but at least her mom could have explained her reasons for keeping this secret from her for her entire life.

How does Mia not know her full name?

Not only does Mia find out that she's a princess, but she also learns that she is not, in fact, Mia Thermopolis. Nope, instead her grandmother proudly tells her that her full name is Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi. Covering up her dad's true identity and her family history is already quite the feat, but how exactly did Mia's mom keep her from finding out her full name?


It's possible that, at the age of 15, Mia just hasn't seen a copy of her birth certificate or obtained a passport. However, she's about to turn 16 and her mother has already bought her a car so it's safe to assume that she's going to get her driver's license pretty soon. In order to get that license, she would be required to show some proof of identity. You know, like a birth certificate that apparently has a name she doesn't know is hers. This would have led to some serious questions if Mia's mom had stuck to the plan of not telling her she was a princess until her 18th birthday.

Fat Louie really needs to be on a diet

Mia's beloved cat, Fat Louie, might be adorable but he's, well, fat. Rotund felines might be cute and loveable, but their girth is also an indicator that their owners aren't very attentive to their health needs. You'd think that Mia, who seems to be an animal lover since she agrees to appear on friend Lilly's cable show in support of a movement to save sea otters, would put Fat Louie on a diet pronto. It's out of character for a pet of hers to be so overweight that he's actually named Fat Louie.


According to WebMD, even being so much as a pound overweight can lead to serious health complications for cats. Overweight cats have higher risks of developing osteoarthritis, diabetes, skin conditions, and respiratory issues. Fat Louie needs to be taken to the vet in order to work out a weight loss plan with a doctor.

How is there so little traffic on the streets?

San Francisco is a major city, and traffic in major cities is never great. In spite of this, the streets seem to be practically clear as Mia rides around in the limo her newly discovered royal grandmother provides for her. This holds true even during the morning commute to school, a time when you'd think that the streets would be full of people rushing to work.


The San Francisco Bay area has some of the worst traffic in the U.S. While traffic has been getting steadily worse all over the country as the years pass, San Francisco still had the dubious honor of having one of the nation's worst rush hours back in 2001 when the film was released.

Joe might be able to park wherever he wants thanks to the diplomatic flags that grace the limo, but those flags don't have the power to clear traffic. It looks like we'll just have to chalk up the mysteriously empty streets to being one of the perks of living in a fairy tale.

It's awful that Mia's dad only contacted her on her birthday

Okay, we understand that Mia wasn't supposed to know that she was a princess and therefore her dad's identity had to be kept a secret. But she clearly knew that he was alive since he sent her a birthday present each year. This seems to be the only contact they had, which is pretty bad parenting.


Would it really have been so difficult for him to write to his daughter more frequently, or to pick up the phone once in a while? In-person visits might have given up the family's royal status since there would always have been the chance of the paparazzi tracking them, but regular contact seems like it should have been manageable.

Poor Mia probably grew up thinking that her dad just didn't want anything to do with her, and we kind of have to agree. He could have found a way to be more involved in her life.

Sorry Lilly, you don't get over a parent's death that quickly

Lilly seems flabbergasted that Mia isn't over her dad's death after a couple of months, claiming that it should have been easy for her to cope with since she didn't really know him. Not knowing a parent, however, doesn't necessarily make losing them any easier. Her dad's death didn't just leave Mia without a dad (and Genovia without a crown prince), but it also closed off the possibility of her ever establishing a relationship with him. That's a lot for a teenager to process.


Losing a parent can have a serious impact on your mental health, and it also can lead to an increased risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse — especially when a person doesn't receive enough support throughout the grieving process, which can last for a long time. "Shock, numbness, denial, anger, sadness, and despair are the feelings most people cycle through after the loss of a loved one," wrote Dr. David Sack for Psychology Today. "These emotions can persist in varying degrees for many months afterward."

There are some really gross beauty standards in play here

Ah, the makeover scene. This timeless teen movie trope was pretty much inevitable from the beginning of the film when we see Mia's frizzy hair and glasses, because heaven forbid that a princess rock a head full of curls and also have the ability to see. It's bad enough that Paolo, the stylist in charge of the makeover, actually yelps when he first sees Mia (Has he really never seen someone with curly hair before? Really?) but he also proudly announces that Mia has been transformed into a princess once he is done with her makeover.


First of all, a hair straightener and some makeup do not actually turn someone into a princess. Mia's royal pedigree did that for her. Second of all, ew. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the way Mia looked before Paolo tweezed her eyebrows. Not only does this makeover uphold outdated beauty standards, but it also implies that Mia is incapable of ruling a country unless she looks a certain way.

Paolo needs to pay to replace those glasses

As part of Paolo's plan to make Mia look like his idea of a princess, he snaps her glasses in half. This, he presumes, will force her to wear her contacts and therefore look more royal. First of all, the idea that glasses aren't attractive is absurd. Making it worse is the fact that those glasses were probably prescription and cost quite a bit of money. And even if Mia does start wearing her contacts, there are still a lot of scenarios in which having glasses as a backup is a good idea since contacts typically aren't worn 24 hours a day.


What if she's going swimming? What if she gets an eye infection? What if she gets up for a glass of water in the middle of the night after she's taken her contacts out and needs to be able to see where she's going? Come on, Paolo!

How is Jeremiah never in uniform?

It's well established that the dress code is a big deal at Grove High. Even when out of uniform for a classroom debate, Josh is reminded he needs to be wearing proper attire after the class is over. When Mia tries to wear a hat to school to conceal her newly straightened hair, she is told to remove it. So how, exactly, is Jeremiah allowed to roam all over campus in what are clearly non-regulation sweaters? He also sports bright red dyed hair that seems like something that wouldn't be allowed at a school with such a strict uniform policy.


Given the dedication to making Jeremiah look like a rebellious and defiant character, it would be reasonable to expect him to have a major story arc, but he doesn't. In fact, he only appears in a few scenes throughout the film and has just a handful of lines. We have no idea what his motivations are for flagrantly violating the dress code, or how he manages to get away with it.

Josh really needs a lesson in consent

Josh Bryant is the worst. He might be the most popular guy in school, but what exactly does Mia see in him? He clearly lives for attention from other people, so it's no big surprise when he kisses Mia in front of the paparazzi that have been chasing her. This is disturbing on multiple levels. Mia is clearly overwhelmed by the cameras and would rather be anywhere else. She's also clearly not in the mood for a kiss, and yet Josh lays one on her anyway. Mia, to her credit, realizes that a nonconsensual kiss from a guy isn't okay, no matter how cute and popular he is, and ditches him.


Sadly, Josh never gets his comeuppance, unless you count Mia accidentally hitting him in the groin with a baseball during gym class. It's pretty disappointing that she doesn't take more deliberate action against him, even though she gets revenge on mean girl Lana by shoving an ice cream cone onto her chest.

Mia doesn't owe Michael anything

By the end of the movie, Mia gets her first real kiss complete with a foot pop, but, instead of it being with the guy she has had a crush on forever (Josh), it's with her best friend's brother, Michael. Michael pines after Mia for most of the movie, but only works up the nerve to sort of ask her out after she becomes a princess. Even then, he makes it clear that they are just hanging out and that their hangout is absolutely not a date.


When Mia cancels her plans with him to go on an actual date, Michael acts like a rejected suitor, and later refuses Mia's invitation to the ball. It's only after she sends him an apology pizza that he decides to forgive her and show up to dance with her.

This might be a cute moment except that Mia didn't do anything wrong. At worst, she's guilty of blowing off plans with a friend for a guy. Michael acts like she cheated on him, and frankly, his sense of entitlement is pretty gross.

Does the Genovian royal family not use speech writers?

The Princess Diaries shows that Mia has anxiety when speaking in public... to the point where, during a class debate, she has to run out of the room to throw up. Of course, as the princess of Genovia, she soon learns that public speaking is part of the job description. Somehow, during her princess lessons with her grandmother, they go over how to sit and how to wave but not how to give a speech without barfing.


Even more puzzling is the fact that, towards the end of the film, Mia is expected to deliver a speech at a ball in spite of not having one prepared and not having practiced actually giving a speech. She doesn't seem to be prepared for this at all but fortunately manages to make up a speech on the spot that has too many personal details in it. It's an empowering moment for her, but also not very royal. We have to wonder how Mia was allowed to write her own speech at all, let alone ad lib one. She is, after all, a political figure with zero experience. Having a speechwriter well-versed in royal protocol pen something for Mia to deliver would have been more practical — not to mention realistic.