British columnist Jan Moir thinks Prince William and Kate Middleton aren’t royal enough. She claims they lack the glamour of Queen Elizabeth or Princess Diana and while all our hopes were pinned on the royal couple when they married four years ago, Moir insists,”What we got are a couple of dreary suburbanites, a Mr. and Mrs. Bland who trundle around the world in mumsy dresses and dad-trousers, saying not very much at all.”
Moir blames Prince William and his “insistence on an approach that is as informal as protocol will allow. He wants to get down with the kids, to be seen as just another bloke.” And she insists, “Royalty needs a bit of mystique to keep interest piqued.”
I disagree completely. Will’s hands-on approach to parenting and marriage is endearing. Detached, dull, “mystique” did nothing for Prince Charles in the popularity polls. Will’s informal approach feels contemporary and refreshing. And the last time Queen Elizabeth was in the news was when she photobombed someone’s selfie. William and Kate are restoring interest in the royals to a younger generation. It’s a sign of the times that royals must give up their stuffy detached behavior to be more of the people and for the people.
And the changes they’ve made such as William driving his own car when they brought baby George home from the hospital have strengthened their emphasis on being hands-on parents. You can’t be a hands-on parent and still be royal? Princess Diana, who Moir cites as more glamorous than Kate, prioritized her role as mother and bucked royal tradition to spend as much time with her children as possible. Will takes after her in this way and would surely make her proud.
As for glamour? Kate’s clothes always sell out within hours of her photos being posted online. She’s taken an approach similar to Michelle Obama’s, who wears attainable brands such as J. Crew. People might say that Michelle Obama lacks the mystique of Jackie Kennedy, but she’s the first lady of a different time. And I feel that she reflects contemporary values and lifestyle (we shop online now, Jackie Kennedy didn’t) and I think Will and Kate are doing the same thing by coming off as approachable, less formal, and especially in the way they take on the childcare duties themselves.
Perhaps we lose a little bit of tradition and formality with these new royals, but in exchange for that we gain role models who are much more interesting and relevant and approachable. Will and Kate walk a difficult path and there’s a lot of pressure on them. So far I think they’ve done it with a lot of poise and grace.
Image source: PCN Photos