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The purpose of PRINCE2 is to provide a project management method that can be applied regardless of project scale, type, organization, geography or culture. This is possible because PRINCE2 is principles-based. You can think of Principles as a framework for good practices for managing a project.

It is the adoption of these principles that characterizes whether a project is using PRINCE2 or not. There are 7 PRINCE2 Principles:

Principle Description 
Continued business justification A PRINCE2 project has continued business justification. A requirement for a PRINCE2 project is that: There is a justifiable reason to start the project The justification should remain valid throughout the life of the project The justification is documented and approved. 
Learn from experience PRINCE2 project teams learn from previous experience: lessons are sought, recorded and acted upon throughout the life of the project. 
Defined roles and responsibilities A PRINCE2 project has defined and agreed roles and responsibilities within an organization structure that engages the business, user and supplier stakeholder interests. 
Manage by stages A PRINCE2 project is planned, monitored and controlled on a stage-by-stage basis. Management stages provide senior management with control points at major intervals throughout the project. Shorter stages offer more control, while longer stages reduce the burden on senior management. Planning can only be done to a level of detail that is manageable and foreseeable. A great deal of effort can be wasted on attempts to plan beyond a sensible planning horizon.  PRINCE2 overcomes the planning horizon issue by Dividing the project into a number of management stages 
Manage by exception A PRINCE2 project has defined tolerances for each project objective to establish limits of delegated authority. PRINCE2 enables appropriate governance by defining distinct responsibilities for directing, managing and delivering the project and clearly defining accountability at each level. Accountability is established by: Delegating authority from one management level to the next by setting tolerances against six objectives for the respective level of the plan: Time, Cost, Quality, Scope, Risk and Benefit. Setting up controls so that if those tolerances are forecast to be exceeded, they are immediately referred up to the next management layer for a decision on how to proceed Putting an assurance mechanism in place so that each management layer can be confident that such controls are effective. This implementation of ’management by exception’ provides for very efficient use of senior management time 
Focus on products A PRINCE2 project focuses on defining and delivering products to deliver the project in specific their quality requirements. 
Tailor to suit the project PRINCE2 is tailored to suit the project’s environment, size, complexity, importance, capability and risk. The purpose of tailoring is to: Ensure the project management method relates to the project’s environment Ensure that project controls are based on the project’s scale, complexity, importance, capability and risk. 
If PRINCE2 is not tailored, it is unlikely that the project management effort and approach are appropriate for the needs of the project. This can lead to ’robotic’ project management at one extreme (the method is followed without question) or ’heroic’ project management at the other extreme (the method is not followed at all).