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The Princess Bride

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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