Skip To Content

    19 "The Princess Diaries" Book And Movie Differences That Prove Books Are Always Better

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

    Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED The Princess Diaries. I've seen it approximately 800 times, and it holds a special place in my heart.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    But as someone who also devoured the book series, there are some crucial plot points in The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement that got ~lost in the sauce~ that need to be discussed. Here are all the major book and movie differences that I can't not address:

    1. In the books, we first meet Mia when she's a wee young babe.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the book: In Book 1 of the series — the movie is mostly based off of books 1-3 — we meet Mia at the beginning of her freshman year. (We see her grow up throughout high school during all 11 books.) SO MUCH CONTENT. SO MUCH DRAMA.

    In the movie: Mia is 15 and is at the end of her sophomore year. Time doesn't really seem to be a major factor in the movie. Like her mom has a parent-teacher conference with her teacher AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR? How long has she been putting that meeting off?

    2. Mia's classmates are not as douchey.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Don't get me wrong, Mia wasn't a huge social butterfly, but she could go throughout her day without much incident.

    In the movie: Mia is either openly laughed at, called a loser, or sat on. And that's when she's not getting straight-up ignored. I don't like to throw around the term "dicks" often, but Mia's classmates are dicks.

    3. Mia's grandma is one sassy lady, and I'm #HEREFORIT.

    Walt Disney Pictures/20th Century Fox / Via Ehis Osifo/BuzzFeed

    In the books: HRH Queen Clarisse was savage AF and delivered one-liners like, "You're not a one hundred dollar bill, not everyone is going to like you." You slay me, my queen.

    In the movie: Julie Andrews' Queen Clarisse was fabu, don't get me wrong, but of course you'll feel a lil' robbed when you expected Lucille Bluth and you got Lucy Stick-Up-My-Fancy-Butt.

    4. Mia's dad ain't dead.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia's dad had testicular cancer, which prevented him from ~producing~ another heir (or so he thought!). He's in remission, though, and remains a somewhat constant in Mia's life.

    In the movies: Philippe died in some undisclosed accident, but wasn't even a part of Mia's life when he was alive. He just gave her some expensive-yet-useless presents every year on her birthday.

    5. Mia has a cute ass lil' brother named Rocky!

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia's mom still marries Mia's teacher, but it happens mid-way through the series. We get to see Mia bond with the new bundle of joy, who loves to play the drums and terrorize Mia's cat, Fat Louie.

    In the movies: We get a quick flash of this doll/baby in the sequel.

    6. Plot twist! Mia also has a half-black half-sister who goes on her own adventures.

    Feiwel & Friends, @officialmegcabot / Via

    In the books: Mia's dad THOUGHT he was sterile. While he was in remission, he actually spawned another child, Princess Olivia, who is cute as heck and adds even more diversity to the series.

    In the movie: Olivia doesn't exist because Mia's dad dies before he could have her. In the movie's defense, though, Olivia wasn't a part of the original series, so they didn't have the option to cut another diverse character from the cast. Speaking of diversity...

    7. Mia's friend group is diverse AF.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia's colorful squad includes: Tina Hakim-Baba, who's her most trusted confidant, Boris Pelkowski, Shameeka Taylor, Ling Su Wong, and Perin Thomas.

    In the movie: The only color in Mia and Lilly's friend group is Jeremiah's hair. He does do some pretty sick magic tricks, though.

    8. Mia has multiple boyfriends.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia is a dating-machine in the series. OK, maybe not a dating machine, but she does have multiple boyfriends, including her first one, Kenny Showalter. He's as awkward as he is sweet and is a perfect first BF for young Mia.

    In the movie: Mia starts the movie with no boyfriends and ends with, like, the promise of something that ends up going nowhere.

    9. Mia dumps Josh in a blaze of glory.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Josh is still a turd-muffin; that hasn't changed. But Mia dumps him in front of the paparazzi before the school dance and then spends the rest of the night with teen heartthrob Michael Moscovitz.

    In the movie: Even though Mia smacks Josh in the head with a shoe, we don't get that "Screw you, Josh, I'm having fun without you," moment that we got in the books.

    10. The build up of Mia and Michael's love story is too precious.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia and Michael spend the first few books as witty sparring partners, close friends, and unrequited crushes. Mia sends Michael secret love notes, Michael writes a thinly veiled love song about her, which it all leads up to the kiss of all kisses at the Non-Denominational Winter Dance.

    In the movies: Sure, we got some flirty yet awkward conversations, M&Ms on pizza and a foot-poppin' kiss, BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORY???

    11. Mia and Michael are truly #baegoals.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia and Michael love each other as friends and partners. Michael helps her realize that she's a gifted writer and encourages her to pursue her dream even when no one else believed in her. Mia is constantly assuring him that he's more than "worthy enough to date a princess" and somehow gets him a rock from the ACTUAL moon to show her love. If that's not romance, IDK what is.

    In the movies: Again, all we got was some flirty-yet-awkward conversations, M&Ms on pizza and a foot-poppin' kiss. He can't even fix her car right. HE HAD ONE JOB. TO FIX HER CAR. AND HE'S A MECHANIC.

    12. Michael Moscovitz, is — get this — one of the hottest guys in school.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Michael is the "third best looking guy at school" and carries himself with some serious BDE. Bona fide babe magnet, smart as a whip, and is also low-key popular. Homeboy can like, get it.

    In the movies: #NoShade to Robert Schwartzman, he's cute and sweet, but doesn't quit hit it with the popular crowd. He's kind of a loner, but that's OK because he spends all his free time jammin' out on his keyboard.

    13. Romance! Drama! Intrigue! Mia is stuck in a love triangle.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia and Michael's love story would be nothing without some drama, and that comes in the form of J.P. Abernathy IV. Although heart-breaking to read, this allowed for Michael and Mia to take some time apart and grow as individuals so that when they did get back together, they were their best selves.

    In the movies: We get a little bit of a triangle with the Mia/Michael/Josh fiasco, but it was only about 30 mins of drama. Hard to top three books worth of tea.

    14. Lilly and Mia have a HUGE falling out.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia and Lilly come to the blow of all blows. Their eventual falling out is because Mia dumps Michael, Lilly's brother, and then eventually starts dating J.P., Lilly's ex. Again, not the most pleasant chunk of the series, but Mia def needed some space. Mia's time away from Lilly allowed for her to find her own voice and express her own thoughts without Lilly's judgement. They do eventually reconcile, though, and they're better people because of it.

    In the movie: Lilly gets mad at Mia for one, her glow-up and two, not appearing on her cable show Shut Up and Listen. Fight-worthy? I think not. And they make up in like five seconds and no lessons are learned from the ordeal.

    15. There is no Lana/Anna/Fontana trio, thank god.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: We are free from the terrorizing witch cohort known as Lana/Anna/Fontana. No snide bulimic comments from them — which was so inappropriate, I can't even. While Lana is a significant character in the series, Anna and Fontana don't even exist, which is ultimately a good thing. What are the odds that three hot girls who sing, have names that rhyme, and who enjoy tormenting innocent people all go to the same school? Sounds like a horror movie in the making.

    In the movie: We have these vicious harpies who seem to single out Mia for no reason whatsoever. Like, I really don't get what Mia did to them. Was it something off-screen? Idk. Regardless, these girls are straight-up bullies and should be on an episode of Beyond Scared Straight.

    16. Mia and Lana are actually pretty good friends.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia and Lana squash their beef after Mia and Lilly's tumultuous falling out. Lana is actually the one who extends an olive branch thus starting a beautiful friendship. They reconcile their differences and realize they have more in common than they don't. #Yaaasss for positive female friendships.

    In the movie: Lana terrorizes Mia for no reason until Mia smashes a perfectly nice ice cream cone on her clothes. Mia then calls Lana a jerk and the audience never sees Lana again.

    17. Start spreading the news — The Princess Diaries takes place in NYC, not San Fran.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: The backdrop of NYC is an important factor in the book series. A lot of important plot points occurred at iconic NYC landmarks, for example, Mia and Michael's much awaited reunion in a horse-drawn carriage in Central Park.

    In the movies: San Fran serves no purpose to the plot besides the hills that Mia rolls down in her 'Stang, which nearly injures a boxcar full of people.

    18. Mia splits her time between NYC and Genovia.

    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Instead of being forced to, IDK, UPROOT HER ENTIRE LIFE and move to a country she's never been to and leave her family behind, Mia splits her time between her home in NYC and the Genovian palace.

    In the movies: Mia eventually moves to Genovia full-time and leaves everything back in San Francisco.


    Walt Disney Pictures

    In the books: Mia gets her diary at the very start of the series, hence the title The Princess Diaries. And she's constantly writing in it — the series is told through her diary entries. Through her various diaries, we see Mia grow from an awkward and gangly teenager to a self-actualized and confident young adult.

    In the movies: I think we see Mia write in her diary, like, maybe once? Twice? The movie may as well have been called The Princess' Foot Poppin-Kiss.

    But, at the end of the day, both stories are amazing and funny and entertaining. Can't really go wrong with either, but, IMO, the best way is to experience both.

    HarperCollins, Walt Disney Pictures