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The Princess Bride

By Robin Aronson |

prince william engagement, kate middleton, princess culture, princess diana

This is what a princess looks like.

Did you hear?  Kate Middleton and Prince William are getting married!  That means, they’re going to have a wedding.  A royal wedding.  And when the wedding is over, Kate Middleton will be, you know, a Princess.

A real, live princess.

As a mother of a princess-loving now fairy-curious 6-year-old girl, I don’t know what to do about this. Will I tell my daughter Helen that there’s going to be a wedding on TV? Will I show her the pictures? She’d love the pictures, but the pictures could be the problem.

Truth be told, I haven’t objected too much to the Disney princesses.  They’ve made their way into our home through used backpacks, hand-me-down costumes and bargain books. The books aren’t my favorite, but we don’t read them all the time and when we do I  remind myself that, like fighting in Loony Tunes, it’s all obviously pretend.

But the wedding of Kate and William, it won’t be pretend.  In our wedding-obsessed, Say Yes to the Dress culture, it will be all too real.  How do I begin to explain?

When Prince Charles married Diana, Princess of Wales, I was at summer camp.  The nurse, an English woman, told me how she was up at four in the morning to watch the whole thing.  Now, this nurse was not about nonsense.  She probably had never owned a tube of lipstick, and yet, when she described Diana’s dress? I’ve long forgotten that nurse’s name, but I’ll never forget that sigh.

On the one hand there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fantasy and royal weddings give us just that.  We forget that princes, too, have an Uncle Joe who has to be seated with Aunt Ava and Uncle Frank or else he’ll get really angry and you’ll never hear the end of it.   On the other, Diana’s terrible marriage and tragic death make it harder to enjoy the spectacle the royal family puts on for we the people. After all, her death was caused by the chase for one more picture of that fantasy life.

My daughter doesn’t know any of that. If she sees pictures from the royal wedding, she’ll see a man and a woman getting married. But she’s known for a while now that sometimes two women get married and sometimes two men do, too.   Helen will  see a  picture of a grown up a beautiful dress. Unlike her late mother-in-law who was barely 20, Kate Middleton will be almost thirty when she marries, not so much younger than I was when I married.  As far as princesses go, Kate might not seem so princess-y. She might simply be one more lady in a fancy dress.  No big deal.

Will you show your kids pictures of the wedding?  How will the princess-thing play out in your family?

Photo: PacificCoastNews.com

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About Robin Aronson

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Robin Aronson

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6 thoughts on “The Princess Bride

  1. Sarah says:

    I don’t really understand your hesitation. Isn’t it more of a good way to show the difference between cartoon princesses and real princesses? Not all real life princessses were born princesses, not all of them are prefect, not all of them like poofy dresses and dance around with talking foot stools and teacups, and not all of them are blonde.

    Diana was so special because she was a regular gal that married a prince. Of course people swooned, especially the British – it was so modern, so scandalous, so wonderful that a regular woman married a prince. It was a fairy tale. Which brings to mind the next, later lesson: there can be fairy tales in real life, but not all of them necessarily end in happily ever after. Diana’s story did not end happily, but neither her death nor the end of her marriage should eclipse the good that she did in her life that she never would have been able to do had she not married a prince. In a really big wedding with a ridiculously over-the-top-fit-for-a-princess dress. It’s a shame that so many people want to reduce years of charity work and two sons to a car crash.

    Maybe Kate’s story will end happily, and I certainly hope for them it does. Which brings us to our next possible lesson from this: sometimes, the fairy tale does end with happily ever after. And a pretty dress.

  2. Jan says:

    My 10yo daughter was huge into princesses for about 3 years. And just like the Hannah Montanna phase that followed, I have always made a point of gently pointing out within context that it isn’t all about the dresses and the ballroom dancing. Being a princess (or a musician, or even just famous) is a real job with huge responsibilies that can effect not only the people in your immediate sphere, but even many people whom you don’t know and probably will never meet. I think that the Princess Diaries (movies/books) do a fair job of showing it isn’t all about glory. If my daughter is interested I will happily share the experience of a royal wedding with her and whatever may follow. Fairy tales are nice, but exposure to the real world is part of how our children grow up. Learning about Princess Kate and all that the world will expect of her might help my daughhter to make a difference in the world–even if she doesn’t become a princess along the way.

  3. marjorie says:

    we got thru the princess phase by collecting all the “princesses are not all eyelash-fluttering dimwits requiring rescue” books we could get our hands on. that phase passed (sounds like if your daughter’s at the “fairy-curious” stage it’s about to pass for you too) and then we dealt with the friggin’ attitudinal fairies and now we’re working on countering the visual and moral messages from Disney’s tween juggernaut.

  4. crob000 says:

    Wow… real life princesses, do you even read what you say.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PRINCESS OR PRINCE!?

    They are self appointed eugenicists. Not rulers.

    No nobility should stand on government or enact rules for the people.

    They inbreed to keep their supposive bloodlines. They are psychotic and you help feed this ignorance.

    The house of windsor was strung up and put on pikes. They ran! Now they are back telling you they are your kings and queens… Why do you put up with this?

    England has forgot its entire history obviously.

  5. Princess Plutogirl says:

    Amen to CROB000! Just like the self-appointed “royals,” every one of us can appoint ourselves a prince or princess–or king or queen. All of us are children of one Creator, meaning all of us are of royal lineage. I’m probably chronologically older than most parents here, but I am still in the princess phase, and I appointed myself Princess Plutogirl since I’m actively advocating Pluto’s planetary reinstatment. I’m also an actress and look for every possible opportunity to play a character, wear a costume, and have my picture taken. I’m a child not just at heart but in every way. Kate is not better than I am, and anyone interested in pictures would do better looking for mine.

  6. dive says:

    the first lady of qatar silly fashion , she try looks alike Princess letizia , watch the video very funny
    :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmI0sdmAHgc

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