What Does the Princess Diaries’ “Grove High School” Look like Now?
Sixteen years ago, Mia Thermopolis became the princess of Genovia on movie screens all over the world. This film – based off of Meg Cabot’s book series of the same title – is of course, The Princess Diaries. With its memorable cast and charming storyline, it’s become embedded in the hearts of women around my age for all these years.
The story follows Mia (Anne Hathaway), a high school social misfit living in San Francisco, CA (in the book, she lives in NYC, but we’ll let that one slide because I’m bias.) She lives with her mother, a painter, in the city’s Mission District, and somehow Razor scooters her way to Pac Heights for school every morning without busting a lung at some point. The private school she attends is afforded by her deceased and also formerly estranged father. Mia is extremely accepting of her social situation consisting of her best friend Lilly (Heather Matarazzo,) and Lilly’s brother Michael (Robert Schwartzman) who is not-so-secretly in love with Mia. Mia’s estranged paternal grandmother (Julie Andrews) shows up one day in her life to announce that all this time she has been the queen of a fictional European country called Genovia making Mia a princess, and that due to the death of Mia’s father, she is next in line to rule. While most girls would kill for the opportunity to literally become a princess, Mia’s lack of confidence and unwillingness to take on a leadership role causes her to early on to feel apprehensive. She spends the rest of the movie establishing new relationships and learning how to salvage old ones, while simultaneously discovering her own capabilities and whether or not she’s willing to rise to the occasion and rule her own country.
With Mia’s relatable and likable nature, it was easy to feel like you were her friend while watching this film. And the scenes in which I felt I could relate to her the most took place at her school, Grove High School. Mia was often bullied by the popular kids until the world found out she was royal. She then was treated with disingenuous kindness and taken advantage of by many around her, especially the most popular girl in school, Lana (Mandy Moore.) The magic of film making really makes it seem like all of the scenes were shot at a real private school; however each view of the school was filmed in different locations, with some locations not even being in San Francisco, and some not even taking place at actual schools. One of the most well-known shots of the school is of the main entrance. Mia and Lilly are shown several times approaching a set of steps to a multiple-story building adorned with a carving of their mascot the lion. And the paparazzi bombard the school’s front gates when Mia’s royal status is let known to the public.
What many don’t know is that this location is actually someone’s gorgeous Pacific Heights home. It is located at the intersection of Lyon and Green street right next to the infamous Lyon Street Steps. The address is 2601 Lyon Street, and below is an up to date photo of it.
Sixteen years is quite a lot of time, so it’s no surprise that there have been plenty of changes made to the place between now and then. Let’s go over them:
- The color of the home is now an off white
- The lions heads and garlands are a contrasting vibrant gold now. With what looks to be a chunk taken out of one of the garlands.
- The shrubbery is now sleek and up to date
- The lanterns on the front pillars are black with clear glass
- Robert Schwartzman is not there to serenade me with a harmonica
- Sandra Oh is not there to tell him to shut it and get to class
And there you have it, people. The front of Grove High School, is still available for you to check out at your leisure if you’re in the city. I plan to do a series of updates like this of classic San Francisco film locations. Give me a like on Facebook to see more.