“You know, most kids hope for a car for their 16th birthday, not a country!”
So goes one of many iconic lines from Princess Diaries, the 2001 Disney movie about a hapless teen girl who learns on her 16th birthday that she’s next in line to become queen of the fictional country Genovia.
Recent events in a Paris teen girl’s life bear a striking resemblance to the movie’s plot: According to the New York Times, for the teen’s 16th birthday, the son of the last king of Italy bumped her “up the royal food chain,” giving her a (hypothetical) claim to the country’s defunct throne.
Vittoria Cristina Chiara Adelaide Maria, now 17, reacted a bit differently to the news: “It was the best gift he could give me,” she said.
As the Times crucially points out, Vittoria’s royal title is little more real than “Princess of Genovia”: Italy abolished its monarchy in 1946, after World War II. The Italian Royal family, known as the House of Savoy, supported Mussolini’s fascist rule and then fled Rome after his regime collapsed. Because monarchies are terrible and all of them should be abolished if they aren’t already—and maybe for some other reasons, too—Italians have basically no interest in restoring the institution.
Vittoria is getting some what sounds to me like some light “princess training,” but for now she’s just trying to make it through high school: “She spends her days studying for finals, modeling midriff shirts on Instagram”—where she’s a rising influencer—“dancing with friends and gossiping about Prince Harry and Meghan at school,” the Times reported.
Enjoy it while you can!