Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Real Princess

A few months ago my daughter Madeleine said, Mom, is there such thing as a real princess? Her question was a good reminder not to leave it to Disney to educate my children.

If there are any perks to having mono, last Friday was one of them. I spent all day on the couch watching the royal wedding... along with every TLC documentary about different aspects of royal life. If you have any questions about Wills and Kate's courtship, the differences in upbringing and circumstance between Diana and Kate, or what the commentators thought of Kate's dress, I am just brimming with royal fun facts. I realize my couch potato-ism was pretty much the equivalent of my kids watching Sleeping Beauty four times in a row, but I confess the princess fervor is addictive, especially when you're too sick to do much else.


Later that evening I replayed parts of the royal wedding for my girls so that they could see a REAL princess. "He looks awful," Madeleine declared. "I feel so sorry for that beautiful princess that she has to marry an ugly prince with no hair on top. Dad would have made a much better prince, don't you think?"

I tried to explain to her that William's princely qualities don't include his looks and hair, or lack thereof, but it was a hard sell. Her line of thinking was that if all princesses must be beautiful, it stands to reason that the prince must be handsome too. This is where it became tricky. How do you explain that while beauty does seem to be at the top of the list for potential princesses, the prince can have horse teeth and a bald patch and no one seems bothered by it?

I went to bed that night thinking about the bride. They estimated that two billion people across the world watched the royal wedding. Under that sort of pressure I think most of us would have ended up with lipstick on our teeth or tripping over our train as we stepped inside the royal carriage. But Kate was radiant and dignified and she has kind eyes. In the end I decided that Disney pretty much got it right. Jasmine, Ariel and the rest of the gang do a great job of showing us that while they might be beautiful, there's a high personal cost involved with this princess business. They forfeit their privacy. Much of their freedom. And the majority of their personal pursuits. Kate doesn't get to wake up next week and tell William that she doesn't really feel like doing the royal tour of Canada because she'd like to spend more time writing. She probably won't have too many mornings where she stumbles to the computer in her pajamas and spends half the day surfing blog waves.

With two billion people looking on as the royal couple made their vows, I suspect there were many viewers thinking there is much to be admired and envied in the young royal couple. But I didn't feel that way at all. Brave girl, I thought to myself as I pulled my favorite fuzzy socks on and climbed into bed. I hope she really loves Baldy, because can you imagine signing up for that father-in-law? 

3 comments:

  1. I love it! And as for William's looks, I say it's a pretty good thing Diana was as pretty as she was, cuz like you said, that father-in-law didn't contribute much. I hope they can be happy, truly.

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  2. That's what I've always struggled with when I think of the Disney princess movies (said a different way though) -- what do these princesses sacrifice to have love? Ariel is the one I struggle with most of all actually.

    (I know, it's pathetic -- I love the movies, but the English major from oodles of years ago still has to analyze the messages.)

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  3. I love that you posted this! If Ariel's mother had been alive...do we know what happened to Ariel's mother???...she would have taken her daughter by the hand and said, "Stay with your family. Being human isn't all it's cracked up to be!"

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