I received this book for free from Pan MacMillan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Her Royal Highness Princess Mia of Genovia details the pressures of being royal, having a self-destructing father/prince of Genovia, a wicked grandmother/queen of Genovia, a wonderful boyfriend/fiancé/future prince of Genovia, and all the hysterics that come when several unexpected issues may change the heirs to the throne forever.
So, Genovia’s not a real country, right. In this world, it’s nestled peacefully between France and Spain, and the native language is French. It’s also got zero crime and unemployment, but for some reason there are still Genovian protesters throwing oranges at high ranking royals. Genovia is quite literally the most perfect country in the whole world. I suppose in the fantasy of –all-American teen girl is really secret royalty the fantasy continues. It’s not too hard to suspend your disbelief and accept Genovia is real – we hear a lot about its politics, with the prime ministership being contested, and its policies regarding asylum seekers and other matters affecting the protesters.
As a royal of small but fabulously wealthy constitutional monarchy, Princess Mia doesn’t actually spend any of her time doing Princess-y stuff. She’s too busy trapped in the Consulate, ordering take-out food to keep people employee rather than cook herself, worrying about her dad’s downward spiral, fending off her grandmother’s incessant nitpicking and sticky beaking, and daydreaming about her ‘world’s greatest lover’, Michael. I’ve never read a Princess Diaries book before, but Mia’s voice is absolutely hilarious. Although she seems a bit ditzy, she’s actually quite down to earth and is compassionate to the point of wearing her bleeding heart on her sleeve. I do have to confess that I was a little disappointed in the lack of princess and wedding stuff going on, and the diary format sometimes let down the tension in the storytelling, but otherwise Mia was a fun character learning to enjoy her diamond shoes, even after all these years of being a princess.
Mia’s relationship with Michael is actually swoon-worthy. Michael’s just too perfect for words. Not only is Mia head over heels and intensely attracted to him, he’s got the perfect complimentary personality, is willing to give up his surname and citizenship and walk two steps behind her as her prince consort, and basically make her his number one priority at all times. There’s not an evil bone in his body, and he even shows his jealousy when an ex-boyfriend of Mia’s shows up out of the blue.
Mia’s relationship with her grandmother was not what I had assumed it would be. Apparently the film Clarisse and the book Clarisse are vastly different. I can still imagine Julie Andrews being a chain-smoking, heartless snob, but I much prefer the film version. Mia struggles with her grandmother throughout the plot and even in tender moments it’s demonstrated that Clarisse isn’t quite on the same wavelength as her American granddaughter.
Mia’s other relationships with her friends are mostly represented through hilarious text messages, and it’s nice to see the strength in these friendships and that Mia is a young woman clever enough to realise how much she needs her friends.
Although this book is called Royal Wedding, the focus is really on absolutely everything else, including a couple of huge spoilers I can’t mention. The wedding is surprisingly absent – Mia even neglects to write in her diary for over a month leading up to The Big Day, which I was disappointed at. There is surprisingly little detail about the wedding – we don’t even know what colours the bridesmaids wore.
Before I started reading this book, I re-watched the two Princess Diaries films (which are remarkably different), as I haven’t read any books from this series before. I know, I totally want to, but there’s only so many hours in the day. I’m reaffirming my commitment to reading this series – Mia’s natural voice is a total winner and I’d really like to know what happened in her life before she got married. This book is pure fluff and totally enjoyable.