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10 Pretty Woman References In The Princess Diaries Movies
2023/07/17

Gary Marshall directed sixty-three movies during his time in Hollywood. Arguably, two of Garry Marshall's top ten films are 1990's Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, and 2001's The Princess Diaries, featuring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. Both movies propelled their lead actresses to mainstream success and made over $400 million dollars between them.

Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries have recently come back into the spotlight after several TikTok users noticed similarities between the two films, as detailed by Teen Vogue, beginning a discussion about the many Pretty Woman easter eggs to be found in the 2001 Disney classic.

Although there are almost too many nods to count, here are some of the most obvious - and some of the most easily missed.

Promotional Poster

Anyone who's seen Pretty Woman will remember Vivian's bath scene. She is in a bubble bath with a Walkman and headphones, singing loudly. It's an adorable and funny scene, and it looks like Marshall took inspiration from it for one of the promotional posters for The Princess Diaries. In the poster, Clarisse - played by the wonderful Julie Andrews - is on the left and Mia is on the right sporting sunglasses and none other than a pair of headphones.

Whilst it's probably a reference to the cultural differences Mia contends with after she finds out she's a princess - teen girl to a member of a royal family - it's undoubtedly a nod to Marshall's other leading lady Julia Roberts.

Hector Elizondo

Hector Elizondo plays the manager at the hotel Vivan stays at with Edward in Pretty Woman and lends a hand as she navigates her newfound status as the businessman's "girlfriend." He helps teach her proper etiquette for high society and assists her in acquiring a cocktail dress for an important event.

Elizondo also helps Mia in The Princess Diaries, helping her learn how to dance, picking her up some more suitable school attire and generally protecting her in much the same way as his character Barney did for Vivian in Pretty Woman. Marshall and Elizondo are reported to be "close" friends so perhaps that's why he was cast in both movies, but the similarities in the characters don't seem to be a coincidence.

Kathleen Marshall

Marshall's daughter Kathleen was also in both Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries movies.

She played a clerk on the hotel desk in the former, and Charlotte, Clarisse's secretary in the latter. Kathleen has been acting since 1981 when she had a small role as Kathi in Laverne & Shirley, a TV show set in the swinging '60s.

As the two roles have similar jobs, her part in The Princess Diaries could definitely be a nod to Kathleen Marshall's role in Pretty Woman - as well as a promotion.

Larry Miller

Miller plays the iconic Paolo in The Princess Diaries, responsible for transforming Mia's look from dorky teen to elegant princess, but many forget that he was also partially involved in Vivian's glow-up in Pretty Woman.

 Miller brings the same style of comedy to both roles, and many aspects of the three montage scenes he's involved in over three films are similar.

In both makeover montage scenes in The Princess Diaries movies, Mia is seen on a chair being fussed over by Miller and his assistants - in almost exactly the same way as we see in Pretty Woman. 

Patrick Richwood

Richwood plays the elevator attendant at Vivian and Edward's hotel in Pretty Woman in his second-ever movie appearance in 1990. In 2001 he worked with Marshall again in The Princess Diaries portraying Mia's crabby, eccentric neighbor Mr.

Robutusen who has several encounters with Clarisse and Mia.

Richwood is a lesser-known actor which arguably confirms Marshall's intentions to create parallels between Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries

The Director's Cameos

Gary Marshall himself had a cameo role in Pretty Woman. He looks almost unrecognizable in the scene and is very much in the background. Similarly, he has a cameo in The Princess Diaries at the very end and again can just be seen very briefly.

This plays into Marshall's habit of casting himself uncredited in tiny roles throughout his film and TV work - but definitely adds to the comparisons between Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries movies.

The State Dinner

Mia attends an important state dinner in the first Princess Diaries movie. The entire scene is a comedy of errors and to top everything off Mia breaks a glass with a knife whilst trying to quiet the guests for a speech. One of the staff attending to the diners reassures her that "it happens all the time."

This is a close duplicate of the scene in Pretty Woman where Vivian - in one of Julia Robert's most likable roles - is out to dinner with Edward and attempts to eat escargot for the first time.

She cracks the snail and it flies into the air and is caught by exactly the same man who says, funnily enough, "It happens all the time!"

Mia's Car Keys

In The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement there is another very obvious reference to an almost identical scene in Pretty Woman. When Mia arrives at her birthday party she goes to wave to the guests - forgetting she is holding her car keys. One of her staff catches the keys, quipping "It happens all the time!"

The lines are spoken by Allan Kent who appeared in both Pretty Woman and Princess Diaries.

 Interestingly, Kent was in another Garry Marshall film that starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere - Runaway Bride, a sweet wedding rom-com.

 Mia's Birthday Dress

Fans will remember the stunning red dress Mia wears for her birthday party in Royal Engagement, and it may look familiar to anyone who has seen Pretty Woman. Mia's dress is clearly a reference to the dress Vivian dons when she goes to the opera with Edward, down to the crisp white gloves.

This is a big caterpillar-turned-butterfly moment in both films and the similarities between the two looks are unmistakable - they're even the exact same shade of red.

 Mia's Bed

In Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Clarisse takes Mia into her suite in the palace for the first time. In her excitement at her newly-renovated digs, she leaps onto the double bed ecstatically. In a similar vein, following her negotiation with Edward and left alone in the hotel suite with orders to go shopping, Vivian - in a hotel robe, no less - dives onto the double bed in delight.

Although it's a small reference, the attention to detail is excellent - sweetly showing similarities between Vivian and Mia's personalities.

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