Royal Wedding is the new book by Meg Cabot, intended as a sequel to the Princess Diaries series, but aimed at older readers (i.e. not 13 year olds). It follows Princess Mia years after the tenth book ended – she is 25, living at the Genovian Consulate in New York, and still going out with the infamous Michael. I’m only slightly ashamed to admit that the Princess Diaries books were some of my all-time favourite books as a teenager, and honestly I probably would have read this new book even if it had still been aimed at younger readers. However, luckily for me it is a tad more grown up, with what seemed like a seamless continuation of Mia’s hilarious and heart-warming story.
We rejoin Princess Mia about 7 years after the end of the tenth book. She’s living in the Genovian consulate for her safety, her ‘mom’ still lives in her apartment with Mia’s half-brother Rocky, and Mia’s father, Prince Phillipe, has just been arrested for driving his brand new Formula 1 race car at 150mph along the highway whilst being in the running for Prime Minister of Genovia against a very popular opponent. Chaos as usual. Apart from this, the reader gets the feeling that Mia has become infinitely more settled in her life as Princess of Genovia since her problematic high school years. She doesn’t see Michael as much as she’s likes, as the press are the bane of her life, but they are happily together. She is still friends with Lilly and Tina, although Tina has recently split up with Boris, now a world-famous pop star. Perin and Ling Su run Mia’s newly established community centre for kids, and she’s even still in touch with her ex-arch-nemesis Lana and her sidekick Trisha, who are both now predictably well married.
After her father’s brush with the law, things seem to get increasingly complicated for Mia. Michael has a faraway look in his eyes which Mia can’t work out. The press are hounding her constantly, and new rumours crop up almost daily. Rocky is having trouble at school, and grandmère is just, well, grandmère. Mia’s schedule is insanely demanding, and to top it all off Michael suddenly announces that they’re skipping town for a long weekend away for Mia’s birthday, despite the numerous evens she already has planned and simply can’t miss.
Honestly, I can’t go into too much more detail without revealing some major plot twists, but I suppose the title of the book really gives one away. Michael, of course, proposes, and immediately the whole thing is blown out of proportion. Grandmère decides on the date, and already has down her list of so many hundred guests before Mia even realises that she has found out about it. Meanwhile, Prince Phillipe is nowhere to be found as his points in the polls decrease. But much more interesting developments are yet to emerge, and the rest of the book details Mia dealing with a few life-changing revelations.
I think that Cabot has done well to continue so believably Mia’s inner voice with this sequel, although I suppose that’s not too difficult to do when you’ve already written 10 other books in the same narrative voice! It is impressive, however, how she has managed to keep that similar voice, but at the same time convey that Mia has grown up a bit. Not a lot, because for her age and standing she still seems quite immature but there’s a noticeable difference. Cabot has also cleverly aimed this at more adult readers, most of whom will have been those who grew up with the original series. I think this works really well, as it’s still PG enough to be read by teenagers, but not so patronising that slightly older readers will be put off. It could probably also be read as a standalone novel, being that perfect, easy-reading chick-lit genre that so many people love.
As a Princess Diaries superfan, this book made me happier than it probably should have done, but I’m so glad Cabot decided to bring Princess Mia back into my life. Here’s to hoping she writes more about Mia and how she gets on with the outcomes of some of those plot twists!