A Third ‘Princess Diaries’ Film Is On Its Way, But Does It Make Sense In Today’s World?

the princess diaries 3
Does 'The Princess Diaries' Make Sense In 2024?Walt Disney Studios

Hollywood appears to be battling a severe case of cultural déjà vu of late. From Beetlejuice and Mean Girls to Mr & Mrs. Smith and One Day, it seems impossible to survey the current cultural landscape without encountering the recreation of a cult favourite. The latest to receive the reboot treatment? The Princess Diaries, which Disney is believed to have commissioned the third iteration of in 2022, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The first film, upon its premiere in 2001, marked Anne Hathaway's first feature film starring role, catapulting her into public consciousness. It was a huge commercial success, and as such, it's no surprise that over 20 years after the film's premiere, its third offering is in the works. To quote a viral tweet, a commonly held belief is that' The Princess Diaries 3 movie will heal our broken nation'.


Except the world is unrecognisable to the one in which the hordes of teenagers and young people that comprised the audiences who first watched The Princess Diaries lived in. Politically, socially, economically, we are living through increasingly splintered times in which a glossy rags-to-riches, ugly duckling-turned-beautiful swan story feels entirely tone deaf.

julie andrews and anne hathaway in the princess diaries
Mondadori Portfolio - Getty Images

To take the temperature of another Princess Diaries film, just look at the similarities between the story's Mia Thermopolis and Meghan Markle. Royalty rocked their lives. In the eyes of Hollywood, it changed a young princesses' life for the better. In reality, it changed a young princesses' life for the worse, forcing her to step down as a senior royal and move across the Atlantic to escape the vitriol of the British press. The public's opinion of Markle was revealed last year, when it was revealed in a poll that her popularity had sunk to an all-time low. What's to say the public's perception of the Princess of Genovia would be any different?

Against the backdrop of the public ostracisation of Markle, somebody whose story wouldn't seem out of place in a Princess Diaries remake, making another film feels slightly out of touch in light of the public's view of the Monarchy. The approval ratings of royalty have hit record lows with the commonly held belief being that people no longer understand the function of having a royal family. A 2023 poll found that 45% of respondents said either the British Monarchy should be abolished, was not at all important, or not very important. The Princess Diaries, however, emerged in a different world. In 2001, a year after the film's release, Prince William and Kate Middleton had just met a university, and Queen Elizabeth II was still alive and just a matter of months away from celebrating her Golden Jubilee. Today, trust of public institutions continues to plummet, which is further iterated by public scandals such as the Princess of Wales' recent photo editing blunder. Why, among an increasingly Republican public, does another film about royalty, beit fictional or not, feel necessary?

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SGranitz/WireImage - Hearst Owned

There is a beauty in allowing cult films that have bookmarked our lives to be left where they belong: in the past. They are relics of their time, and I fear The Princess Diaries may well be one such example. This is a film that showed a young girl be made to feel as though her curly hair, glasses and quirky style wasn't quite enough for the demands of her grandmother, the Queen of Genovia (played, it must be said, with aplomb by Dame Julie Andrews) or her subjects. If the third film can pivot to be inclusive and understanding of the privilege of royalty in today's world then maybe it can work. If not, it may well be a royal wave goodbye from audiences everywhere.

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