Much Like Mia Thermopolis, This Teen Got a Royal Title for Her 16th Birthday

Illustration for article titled Much Like Mia Thermopolis, This Teen Got a Royal Title for Her 16th Birthday
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“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!

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, The New Republic, Vice, and more.



Modern day pretenders are hilarious to me. It’s always like an elevated Hatfield–McCoy feud draped in leftover finery. As with most this family is also fighting amongst themselves about who the “legitimate” heir is to a defunct monarchy that, in this case, has not only been banned by the Italian constitution, but many of the family members were barred from entering the country for decades. Apparently one branch of the family claims the current “heirs” aren’t legitimate because this new “princess’s” grandfather married a woman who wasn’t noble so their son can’t inherit based on some hundreds year old law. So some distant third cousin has claimed he’s the real “heir” and they’ve all sued each other. And of course they all hate each other, including a fist fight at a party for the now King of Spain a few years back.

It’s of course all a scam to sell “titles” and “honors” (I’m sure the real Royal money has long dried up) and keep themselves in the upper echelons of high society. The Romanov pretenders are even messier if you’re looking to get into a good Wikipedia hole.