Princess LessonsMeg Cabot
A Princess Diaries Book
Illustrated by Chesley McLaren
This book is for all the princesses-in-training out there.
Long may you reign.
A Royal Thank-You
to all who contributed to this book:
Jennifer Brown, Barb Cabot,
Alison Donalty, Barb Fitzsimmons,
Michele Jaffe, Josette “Twirly” Kurey,
Laura Langlie, Abby “Jou Jou” McAden, Chesley McLaren,
and especially royal consort Benjamin Egnatz
Many thanks to Alison Donalty, Barb Fitzsimmons,
Sasha Illingworth, Abby McAden, and Meg Cabot
for including me in such a royal project!
Table of Contents
Princess Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo on how to be a Princess
Princess Mia tells it like it is
I. Beauty :
Paolo of Chez Paolo on the proper royal coiffure, manicure, cosmetic application, and skin care
Being a princess is not just about charity work and state functions—image is equally important. The incomparable Paolo shares his secrets
II. Etiquette :
Dowager Princess Clarisse Renaldo on dining, comportment, being the perfect hostess, and the proper address of nobility
Grandmère decrees what is and what is not socially acceptable
III. Fashion :
Acclaimed couture designer Sebastiano Grimaldi and Dowager Princess Clarisse Renaldo reveal the essential wardrobe of a princess
Sebastiano and Grandmère step out of the closet
IV. Character :
Princess Mia and her friends explore how to flourish royally in today’s complex societal hierarchies
Being a princess isn’t just about how you look. It’s about how you act, as well
V . Education :
Princess Mia’s royal advisers reflect on the various aspects of high school—both in the classroom and out of it
From needlepoint to multi-party dispute resolution, all the necessary fields of study for a princess
VI . The Mysterious World of Guys :
Tina Hakim Baba dishes about dating, kissing, love, and the hazards of stalking (and being stalked by) a princess. Also: an exclusive interview with royal consort Michael Moscovitz
Tina provides ready remedies for the royally troubled heart
Princess Mia’s final thoughts
And a few random postscripts
About the Author and Illustrator
Other Books by Princess Mia
About the Publisher
by Her Royal Highness Princess Mia Thermopolis
Ever since I found out that I am the heir to the throne of a small European principality (Genovia, population 50,000), there has been a lot of interest in what actually goes on during my princess lessons with my grandmother, the Dowager Princess Clarisse. I don’t know why, because being a princess is actually very boring, and princess lessons with Grandmère pretty much—well—stink. I would much rather be a normal girl and be able to go to softball practice after school than have to go to princess lessons every day (not really, because I don’t even like softball, what with my whole hand-eye coordination thing, but you get what I mean).
Anyway, seeing as how everybody keeps asking me, “Oh, Mia, can you please tell us the right way to curtsy?” and all, I figured I would share what I’ve learned during the long, grueling hours I’ve put in with Grandmère, so that you, too, can practice being a princess (though I honestly don’t know why you would want to. See above re: stinkage factor).
Everything you need to know about posture and manners and how to address your subjects is here, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Did you know, for instance, that you never call a duke “My Lord”? No, it is always “Your Grace.”
Since I am far from being an expert at this princess thing, I had to ask some of my friends and relatives to contribute stuff. And it turns out not even Grandmère knows everything about being a princess (only please don’t tell her I said so).
The one thing I can’t believe is that I am not even getting school credit for this. Which is so totally unfair, but whatever. Personal sacrifice is all part of the whole princess package, as you are about to find out.
A Note from
Her Royal Highness Princess Mia
Real princesses always try to look their best—but, um, my best is probably totally different from yours. There are lots of different kinds of beauty. Like those models we see on magazine covers? A lot of people might hold them up as, like, the epitome of perfection and all of that, but just remember, in France it’s considered beautiful not to shave under your arms.
So you see, beauty is really relative.
Princesses, like people, come in all different shapes and sizes. There is no one look that is right for everyone. Having a healthy body is way more important than having a body that looks good in low-rise jeans. And of course being a nice person is the most important thing of all. Throughout history, princesses have been remembered not for the waist size of their 501s, but for the good deeds they performed while they were on the throne.
There’s one thing that looks good on everyone, though: confidence. Have confidence in yourself and your looks, and others will see your outer beauty as well as the inner.
That’s what everybody keeps telling me, anyway.
owner and proprietor of Chez Paolo, New York City
I, Paolo, am the one who turned the Principessa Amelia from Ugly Duckling into Swan. You, too, can look like a princess, if you follow Paolo’s simple rules.
Beauty is molto importante, but so often overdone! A princess’s look is bella, healthy, and well groomed. Fresh is the goal, and mascara, blush, and gloss are the tools that will get you there.
Everyone—especially I, Paolo—loves to play with makeup. But remember, a mask works only at Halloween! Do not slather on foundation or eyeshadow unless you want to scare your populace (also, your parents won’t like it so much, no?). Natural and bella is the way Paolo urges all you little principessas to go. If you want the dramatic look of black kohl and scarlet lipstick, join your school drama club (I spit on kohl). And do not come crying to Paolo if all the little princes, they run from you in horror. Only if you follow Paolo’s way can you be assured molto perfetto!
What every principessa should have in her handbag (besides cab fare, breath mints, emergency tiara, and hairbrush):
• Lipstick or gloss
• Pressed powder compact (to get rid of shiny nose)
• Concealer (for dark circles under eyes due to that late-night romantic tryst, no? Also for blemishes)
• Eye pencil
What every principessa should have in her bathroom (besides a phone and small television so she can keep abreast of world events even while bathing the royal body):
• Facial cleanser, exfoliator (or use a washcloth, but gently!), and moisturizer
• Astringent, toner, acne medication, beauty masks
• Foundation, concealer (for dark circles/blemishes)
• Eye shadow, liner (no kohl—Paolo spits on kohl!)
• Blush (natural color—unless you want to look like a clown principessa)
• Manicure set (nail polish, nail file, nail cutter)
Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, styling products, etc.)
PAOLO’S PRINCESS BEAUTY REGIMEN
The look for royals? Fresh and clean! To get it, follow the beauty routine I designed for the Principessa Amelia:
1. Wash face morning and night with gentle cleanser. Follow with exfoliant, if needed (even royals get blackheads! No joke!), and blemish product or moisturizer.
2. Wash hair with gentle shampoo once a day, or every other day. Follow with conditioner. Use a wide-toothed comb to get out tangles. No one wants to see a bald principessa!
3. Hair products such as mousse or gel, used sparingly, can help control a mane gone wild or give body to thin hair. Find the product that works best for you by consulting a professional hair stylist, like me, Paolo, or by experimenting at home.
4. Bathe or shower daily. Principessas are known for smelling nice, no?
5. Deodorant/antiperspirant is a must! Whether you are playing croquet all day, or sitting under the hot lights of a television studio being interviewed by a famous news journalist, a principessa never lets them see her sweat—I mean, perspire.
6. Shave or wax unwanted body hair. The Principessa Amelia insists that this is a personal choice, and that women should not feel that they have to shave just to conform with “the societal mores of their culture.” I, Paolo, could not disagree more strongly—even if you are French.
Waxing is messy and can cause rashes! It is best left to salon professionals like me, Paolo. Hair removal products like depilatories are expensive, smell bad, and don’t remove all the hair. A good razor and lots of shaving cream is the way to go if you choose to be hair-free, as a principessa should be (even French ones).
And please, for Paolo, if you have hair growing from your upper lip or chin, pluck or bleach it (follow the instructions carefully on facial bleach packages). Never shave your face. No principessa should have razor burn over the lip!
7. Even nervous nail biters like the Principessa Amelia can have pretty nails! Keep them neatly trimmed and polished with clear gloss (dark polish makes nails look shorter). Pushing back the cuticles also can make bitten nails look longer.
Everyone is coming to Paolo, crying like a baby: “Oh, my hair is curly! Make it straight! Principessas have the straight hair!”
Well, I, Paolo, would like to say something:
Principessas can have curly hair. Principessas can have straight hair. Principessas can have dark hair. Principessas can have blond hair. Principessas may have cornrows, extensions, crew cuts, and dreads. The key to having the hair of a true principessa is:
A principessa’s hair must be clean
A principessa’s hair must not be in her eyes
A principessa’s hair must not take more than fifteen minutes to style
Why this last rule? Because unless you have me, Paolo, to style your hair for you every morning, principessas have better things to do than mess around with their hair. If your hair is straight and you spend half an hour every morning curling it, then you waste your time! Straight hair can be very pretty. Same with curly hair. If you spend hours with a blow dryer trying to brush your hair straight, you waste more time!
Is it possible to be a principessa with green hair? Yes, so long as it is clean green hair, it is not hanging in the principessa’s eyes, and it doesn’t take longer than fifteen minutes for the principessa to style it.
Whatever look you come up with, make sure it is neat, bella, and low maintenance. The last thing a principessa should ever be thinking about is her hair! Leave the worrying to me, Paolo! Because I, Paolo, am an artist. And my canvas is hair.
The eyes, they are the windows to the soul. If that is true, then the eyebrow is the curtain to the window of the soul. And who wants ugly curtains that look like you bought them at J.C. of Penney? Do you? No! That is why eyebrow maintenance is molto importante! We at Chez Paolo recommend plucking. Here is a quick guide to proper eyebrow-plucking technique:
Purchase a pair of tweezers, available in any drugstore, no?
Stand a little back from mirror, so you can see your whole face in a well-lighted room.
This is one case where less is NOT more. Do not over-pluck! Remove only those hairs that extend past the inner corner of your eye, or which lie below the natural curve of the brow!
Tweeze unwanted hairs by pulling toward the ears (direction eyebrow hairs grow), so hair comes out more easily. What? You are crying? GOOD! The pain means it is working!
Brush brows upward and outward in the direction hairs grow. Fill in mistakes (and you will all make mistakes, as you are not Paolo) with eyebrow pencil in color that matches your hair.
Voilà! The perfect brow, courtesy of me, Paolo.
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCESS MIA THERMOPOLIS ASKS:
CAN A PRINCESS WEAR BRACES?
Why not? Sometimes even princesses have imperfect teeth. While I myself do not have braces, I do have a retainer that I wear at night on account of the fact that I grind my teeth due to stress-related issues concerning my grades in a certain class. But that’s another story.
Anyway, Paolo says the key to a beautiful smile while wearing braces is:
Brush often—nothing is more unregal than a bit of Gummy Bear wedged between the teeth
Use lots of gloss and pale lipstick (dark colors will draw attention to the mouth)
Play up the eyes (but not too much—mascara and a little glitter is really all you need)
Put it all together, and you’ve got: The perfect smile (with braces)!
A Note from
Her Royal Highness Princess Mia
Being a princess isn’t just about how you look. A lot of it has to do with how you act. While knowing which fork to use may not seem very important, many an international incident has been prevented by good manners. At least according to Grandmère. Hopefully, by her spelling it all out here, you’ll be able to avoid any social embarrassments or gaffes the next time YOU are dining with an ambassador or head of state.
by Clarisse Renaldo, Dowager Princess of Genovia
Having spent some time in America, I can only say that there appears to be an appalling lack of good manners in this country. Cab drivers honk without the least provocation, waiters can be so rude the fourth or fifth time you send back your Sidecar for refreshing…even so-called socialites exhibit a shocking unawareness of proper decorum, sometimes calling supper “dinner,” and vice versa!
Etiquette is not, after all, only for royalty. It is for all of us! For only if we learn to treat one another with civility can we begin to hope for fuller global understanding and better treatment by wait staff.
Stand Like a Princess
If you wish to be treated like a princess, it is important that you look like one. Princesses never slouch. A princess stands tall at all times. Picture a string coming out from the top of your head and going to the ceiling. Imagine that someone is pulling that string, keeping your neck erect, your chin up. Shoulders should not be thrown back, however—you are a princess, not a fighter jet pilot!
When being photographed from the feet up, assume the “model stance”—or third position in ballet (though without the extreme turnout). Your right foot should be forward, your left back and placed slightly behind the right. This will give your legs a slimmer appearance. Unless of course you are wearing slacks.
But really, a princess should never wear slacks to a photo shoot, unless she has thick ankles.
Sit Like a Princess
Princesses always keep their knees close together when sitting. This is so that the populace gathered before you in the throne room does not catch a glimpse of your unmentionables! Imagine that you are holding something very small between your knees—like a ten-carat sapphire ring from Tiffany, for instance. That is how closely they should be kept together. Your feet should be neatly crossed at the ankle, generally to one side,
though directly beneath your chair is also correct.
In public, despite what my granddaughter might think, princesses never cross their legs; sit Indian style; rest their knees or feet on the chair in front of them; sit on one foot; sit with their knees spread apart (except when directed to do so in an emergency landing of the palace jet, of course); or sling their legs over an arm of their chair.
Hands should be folded demurely in the lap, unless you are doing needlepoint, signing documents of state, or unwrapping a well-deserved cadeau from an admirer.
Walk Like a Princess
A princess does not shuffle, skip, or saunter. She strides confidently, with her head held high, her gaze straight ahead, and her arms relaxed at her sides (except of course when she is holding a purse or small chien). Again, imagine that there is a string coming out from the center of your head, pulling you toward the sky. This is how a princess walks.
A princess’s escort, be he consort or bodyguard, should always walk on the side of the princess that is closest to the street, to protect her from mud splashed by passing motorists, or a possible assassin’s bullet.