Party Like a Princess: Ten Ways to Celebrate
National Princess Week with Your Own Little Lord or Lady
Just in time for National Princess Week (which takes place from April 21 to 27),
a real-life princess—Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes—shares ten ways to
celebrate with your own little royals that are both fun and meaningful.
Los Angeles, CA —Among the April showers reigns a celebration fit for a queen—or a princess—as we prepare to celebrate National Princess Week. If you have a pint-sized princess at your house, this can be the perfect opportunity to bust out the dress-up clothes and fine china and celebrate in true royal fashion. And while the word “princess” conjures images of tiaras and tea parties (and rightfully so), there are some important lessons that can be learned from what it truly means to be a princess. Just ask Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, a real-life princess and mother of two.
“Coming from a family of modest means, I never thought I would grow up to become a princess,” confides Ivana, who is a featured blogger at Modern Mom, founder of Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, and coauthor of the upcoming book A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. “Imagine my surprise when I found out that the funny, intelligent, and handsome Italian guy I was dating during college at Pepperdine was a prince!”
Specifically, Ivana’s now-husband, Adriano, is prince of the Holy Roman Empire and can trace his lineage—which includes kings of Sicily and Spain, Catherine of Aragon, a pope, and a saint—back over a thousand years. Despite these credentials, however, Ivana didn’t wait for her prince’s kiss to save her. Using her master’s degree in education, she forged a career of her own as a digital strategy consultant. And over the years, she has defined for herself exactly what it means to be a modern princess.
“One of the most important things I learned after marrying a prince is that the things that distinguish a princess most aren’t her title, her family tree, or her tiara,” Ivana shares. “Instead, they are her attitude, her priorities, her values, and her everyday choices and behaviors—all important characteristics I work to instill in my own children.”
And with National Princess Week on the horizon, Ivana says there’s no better time to celebrate with your own pint-sized prince or princess while sharing a few important life lessons along the way.
Here, Ivana shares ten ways you can celebrate in royal style while making meaningful memories and life lessons along the way.
Host a royal tea party. Princesses and tea parties go hand-in-hand, so there’s no better way to celebrate this majestic week than with a soiree of your own. This is also a great chance to help your child navigate through some important social skills, Ivana explains. Help them to craft an invite list for the party—and remind them that a princess would not leave anyone out from the celebration. Help her to make a list and manage the details of the party, down to the table settings and menu—as a way to guide her through managing details and planning.
“A tea party with all the trimmings can be a lot of fun to host, but it can also be a lot of work,” Ivana says. “Which makes it a great opportunity for getting your little hostess involved. Talk to her about what it means to be a gracious hostess—how to include everyone and make sure that her guests are taken care of and enjoying themselves. These are life skills she will use time and time again!”
Wear your tiara to the grocery store (and everywhere else!). Every princess needs a tiara, and celebrating National Princess Week is the perfect excuse to let yours shine! Whether you are wearing a sparkly number or one crafted from paper and glue, Ivana suggests spending the week wearing yours proudly wherever you go—whether it’s while doing chores around the house or grocery shopping! Talk to your child about how the tiara is a reminder to them to be confident and proud of who they are, and even when they aren’t wearing an actual tiara, they can always remember their “imaginary” tiara to remind them of how special they are.
“The imaginary tiara is a powerful thing,” Ivana explains. “Even if others can’t see it, it lets a modern princess know that she is full of dignity and worthy of respect. Take this time to explain to your child that they should never let other people tarnish or take away their self-confidence—and the tiara is a constant reminder of that.”
Step out in style. While the clothes don’t make the princess (just ask Cinderella and Snow White!), you should take pride in your appearance and how you present yourself to the world. Pull out your best ballgowns and flaunt them proudly this week. Who says you can’t wear glass slippers while lounging on the couch? Or a ballgown to a big brother’s basketball game?
“Dressing up can be a fun way to express yourself, but always remember, every ballgown is different,” comments Ivana. “Remember, Cinderella originally made her own gown for the royal ball using a dress her mother had once owned. Creativity and originality can make anything beautiful! So discover and express your own style. When you like the way you look, you’ll be more comfortable and confident in all aspects of your life.
“This goes beyond your wardrobe, too,” Ivana continues. “Explain to kids that their actions and attitudes speak volumes when they are in public, and that they should always be conscious of the way they are projecting themselves to others.” To view Ivana's latest vlog on playing dress up, click here.
Make movie night a teachable moment. If movie night is on the agenda, there certainly isn’t any shortage of princess-themed cinema for you to choose from. Make a big night of it—wear your fancy dresses, serve your popcorn in fine china and your soda in champagne glasses.
“The great thing about most princess movies is that they have a valuable lesson,” reminds Ivana. “Don’t just watch the movie and end the night there. Take some time to talk to your kids about the storyline and the lessons and how they may or may not apply to their own lives.
“Also, remember that princess stories aren’t limited to the movies,” Ivana adds. “Most of them started in book form! At bedtime, choose a fairy tale starring a favorite prince or princess to read. After the last page has been turned, once again, talk about any lessons you may have learned about making good choices, how to treat others, etc. And if it’s early enough in the evening, you might even want to act the story out!”
Brush up on your social graces. Yes, we may be well beyond the days of bows and curtsies, but modern princes and princesses should still focus on manners, etiquette, and politeness. Explain to your kids that proper etiquette isn’t about showing other people how sophisticated you are—it’s about knowing how to make them feel welcome, special, and valued.
“Having royal manners simply means that you’re thinking about others and taking into account their feelings,” Ivana reiterates. “Whether you’re having a tea party, a family dinner, or even playing with friends in the neighborhood, remind your kids to make room for everyone. Listen to what others have to say. Express gratitude and appreciation when someone helps you or compliments you. And treat them with the same grace with which you’d like to be treated yourself.”
Design your family crest. If you’re feeling crafty this week, consider creating a family crest with your little royals. Sit down and talk to them about what a family crest means: that it stands for your family’s identity, its values, and its goals. Talk about what you think those should be and how they should be represented on the crest. Then, using whatever materials you have on hand, work together to design a crest your family can be proud of. Hang it in a prominent location as a reminder to every family member of what you stand for.
“This activity is a great way to start the discussion with your kids about what it means to be a family unit,” Ivana explains. “Hanging their creation in a place that they will see it often is a great reminder to them that they should uphold those values at all times—both in and out of the house.”
Take some time to appreciate the arts. A proper princess has an appreciation for the arts—and developing that love starts at a young age. Take some time during this week to introduce your little one to the arts: visit an art museum, attend a play, or get tickets to a local concert or ballet. Talk through the experience with them including why the arts are important and how they are expected to behave when attending events.
“Princesses patronize the arts because talent and beauty inspire us, please us, and feed our souls,” Ivana explains. “Princess Week is the perfect chance to introduce kids to cultural experiences. If possible, make your outing a family event that everyone will remember. For instance, if you’re going to see a matinee performance of a play, put on your fancy clothes and let your prince or princess choose a restaurant to eat at afterward. You can discuss the play you just saw over a delicious meal. Or if you’re going to a later performance of a symphony or ballet, for example, you might want to have a candlelight dinner at home before your evening outing.”
Whistle while you work (and make your castle shine!). From Cinderella to Snow White, no princess is too good to use a little elbow grease to make her home her castle. Turn up some tunes (bonus points if they are of the princess variety!), channel your inner-Cinderella, and get to work making your own abode sparkle and shine. Once things are clean, take a little time to make things feel extra special this week: decorate with streamers, beads, or artwork you create together. Make your space a place you can’t wait to come home to—and to show off!
“The real lesson here is that no matter who you are—princess or not—you’re never too good to put in the work to take pride in your home,” Ivana asserts. “Being a princess does not excuse you from hard work—and taking pride in the work you do is an important part of being a princess.”
Do a good deed (or two). Princesses, whether they live in the real world or in a fairy tale, are known for doing good deeds and taking care of the people in their kingdoms. This week is the perfect opportunity to enlist your little ones in some good deed doing. Help a neighbor with some yardwork, offer to assist someone at the grocery store with their bags, or volunteer at a local animal shelter.
“Teach your kids that they should be generous with their time, energy, and resources,” Ivana suggests. “Talk to them about supporting the causes you care about and what it means to make a positive difference in the lives of your family, friends, and others, such as their teacher at school or the cashier at the grocery store. A compliment or smile counts!”
Make some plans with Prince Charming (better known as Dad!). While National Princess Week can be a lot of fun for moms and their kids, it wouldn’t be complete without showing a little love to the Prince Charming of the house. After all, he’s an important part of your royal family and deserves the chance to celebrate too! Schedule a special “date night” for Dad and his princess. Serve a special candlelight picnic in the living room or send them out for a night of dancing.
“As I know from my own experience, there is often a charming prince behind every great princess,” Ivana says. “And encouraging the relationship with fathers and their children is important. This is a great chance to give them some special time together when they can have fun in a way that will really resonate with kids.”
“More than anything, this week can be a great excuse to plan some fun activities for your kids, to dress up and laugh and be a kid again yourself,” Ivana concludes. “And there’s nothing wrong with also using this week-long celebration as a chance to take advantage of the teachable moments that occur along the way.”
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About Princess Ivana:
Ivana is the author of the upcoming book A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, which was cowritten with her mother, Magdalene Smith, and her sister, Marisa Smith. Their blog, Princess Ivana—The Modern Princess, is a blend of humor, practical advice, and lifestyle tips on the essentials. Ivana is also a featured blogger on Modern Mom.
While she’s a modern-day princess, she comes from modest means and met her Italian Prince Charming (if you’re curious, he’s Adriano Pignatelli Aragona Cortes, Prince of the Holy Roman Empire) while on scholarship at Pepperdine. She didn’t wait for his kiss to save her, though—using her master’s degree in education, she forged a career of her own as a digital strategy consultant.
Ivana and her husband have two fabulous kids (ages three years and twenty months) who are the latest additions to a 1,000-year lineage that includes kings of Sicily and Spain, Catherine of Aragon, a pope, and a saint. Ivana is wild about kids and motherhood. For the past twenty years, she has worked with children, from designing learning toys to tutoring homeless kids.
Ivana’s Super Mom juggling act between life, love, kids, and career inspired her new book. She believes that life is more about attitude than money, and her goal is to help mothers live well on any budget. Consider her “Dear Abby” with a tiara and a baby sling!
For more information, please visit www.princessivana.com.