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A Real Life Royal Wedding: What's the Big Deal?

A real life princess wedding!

A real life princess wedding!

There is nothing in this world that interests my kids more than princesses. Except possibly cookies.

So with a real-life royal wedding coming soon to a media overload near them, they’re sure to be transfixed. Especially if the newly minted princess serves cookies at her reception.

Are you reading this, Kate? My daughters would love some cookies, preferably the chocolate kind, if you happen to invite them to your wedding.

Not that they’ll be on the guest list. But I bet plenty of the dignitaries invited will be squeeing like little girls underneath their formalwear and formal smiles. It’s not every day you see a prince marry a princess, and we’ve all drunk at least a little of the princess kool-aid.

How to explain the fuss to my American kids?

In some ways it’s easy. They’re still fuzzy on the line between fantasy and reality. They think Ariel and Cinderella are real, so the notion of a real royal wedding is easy for them. I suspect it will be many years till the ask tough questions like, “Why are these people getting so much attention? Aren’t they just famous for being famous? What does a princess *do* anyway?”

I admit, I’m asking myself those questions. Until today, I didn’t know Prince William had a girlfriend, much less that her name was Kate. Suddenly, I feel like we’re family. I know more about her than some of my cousins who’ve gotten married in the past few years.

If your kids are curious about the British royals, it’s a great time for a little history lesson. Some topics you could cover include:

  • Why we don’t have American princesses. There are so many reasons: the Revolutionary War, the establishment of American democracy, doing away with a formal class system. This is a rich, rich topic.
  • Other royal weddings. Japan’s princess gave up her title to marry a commoner, and the Swedish princess got married recently in royal style. Looking at royal weddings from around the world is a great chance to check out how different cultures celebrate marriage.
  • The British royal saga. Princess Di’s tragic life story is not only interesting, it’s a moving portrait of a woman dedicated to philanthropy, trapped in an almost impossible position. If your kids are a little older, they may be fascinated by her story, and it’s a great chance to talk about the real life of a princess: always in the spotlight, dealing with the same troubles that plague the rest of us. Not exactly happily ever after.
  • Happily Ever After. Speaking of happily ever after, a real woman marrying a real life prince is a great opportunity to talk about how the story doesn’t end on the wedding day. Starting a conversation about what Kate’s life will be like after she says “I do” can help you get under the princess mythos of perfect love and start your kids thinking about real relationships and how they work.
  • The Ring. This might be a subset of the family story, but the ring is so flashy it deserves it’s own highlight. Rings as family heirlooms go back generations. What does it mean to give your fiancee your mother’s ring? Do you have any family jewels? Now could be the moment to share their stories with your kids.

Photo: _sarchi

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