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A Royal Endeavor

by Bill Richardson

January 14, 2009

Last Friday I went to New York to attend the release of Forever Princess, the final book in the bestselling Princess Diaries series. Okay, so maybe I dont meet the demographic typically associated with its fan base, although I do have an eight-year-old daughter who is just beginning to read them. But thats not why I was going. I went because the author Meg Cabot is donating all of her worldwide proceeds from her latest novel (entitled Ransom my Heart) to Greenpeace.

Well actually, if you ask Meg, its not her novel. Ransom my Heart was allegedly written by Princess Mia, the main character of the Diaries series, in the final book during her senior year of high school. If youve read the series, youll know that Mia is a big fan of Greenpeace, at one point dreaming of spending her gap year working for Greenpeace and riding motorized inflatables to help save the whales. My daughter, for whom Meg signed a book with a personal note that proclaimed her a true princess!, came to me the other night very excited, having just read that Princess Mia supports Greenpeace and is a vegetarian! (which my daughter, an animal lover like the princess, is as well).

Dont think too much about the book inside a book thing. It tends to lead to contemplation of paradox and the like, and thats a silly place to end up after starting from a young adult book.

Or is it?

Anyway, the event was held in the New York Public Library, which is an impressive place in and of itself. What better way to promote a series adored by young readers than in a library, and a beautiful one at that! It was great to see kids lining up around the corner of a library over a book, instead of camping out at the mall for the latest version of PlayStation.

I was there with two of my Greenpeace colleagues, and we arrived early to meet with Meg and thank her personally for this amazing opportunity. Upon meeting her we liked her instantly. Shes warm, welcoming, funny, charming, and a kindred spirit in her love of the environment. And the tiara was a great look for her. Not a lot of people can pull off a tiara. She did it easily.

Our visit with her went fast, and all too soon it was time for Meg to head for the stage and address the packed house, most of whom were young fans of the Diaries books and sporting their own princess wear for the occasion. They were a captive audience, as Meg delighted them with stories and anecdotes that clearly showed she was one of them at heart. To our delight, she also took the opportunity to talk with her young loyal readers about Greenpeace and our work to protect the planet.

Their planet.

Which was probably the most poignant part of the evening for me. As a father of two, around the same age as many in the room, it reminded me why I do this work. Because children all children deserve a future with a healthy planet. Its probably a big reason why Meg loves Greenpeace as well. The Princess Diaries series was so successful because she understands, relates to and loves the children to whom the books appeal. And by supporting Greenpeace, maybe that’s her way of helping to ensure their kingdoms will be healthy and vibrant for many generations to come.

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