Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Princess Culture - The Real Deal: Why My Three Year Old Will be Watching the Royal Wedding With Me

This week the world will watch in wonderment (or mocking derision or complete apathy) as William, the Prince of Wales marries Catherine the Stylish. While I'm normally a fairly snarky and cynical gal, I've chosen to join in the wonderment circle this go-round and will have my three-year-old daughter right by my side as we behold the pomp and circumstance of the Royal Wedding.

Since I don't want to get hauled off for child abuse, I won't wake her at 1:00 am to watch, I'll DVR it like a good mum (see, I'm even starting to type with a British accent) and let her watch it at 7:00 am when our guests arrive for a princesses & pajamas party.

Disney has so commercialized the "Princess Culture" that many parents are turned off by the whole concept. Not me - at least not when it comes to real princesses (Princess Tiana, we'll talk later about how I think you could have set your sights a little higher than an unemployed, unskilled, poverty-stricken guy with only a title to his credit, but that's neither here nor there today). No, today I am all in awe of the soon-to-be Princess Kate and I want my daughter to witness it, right alongside me.

In today's culture of Hollywood celebrities, class seems to be, if not missing entirely, then at least severely lacking. Stars seem to go to rehab as often as I go to Costco (which is a lot, trust). Jail time, crotch shots and potty-mouthed celebs are everywhere. And that's not even getting into the pseudo reality-star celebrities... While I personally enjoy the smut-factor involved here - it makes for great reading at the hair salon, it's not exactly the example I want for my daughter. This is why I welcome Kate Middleton to the celebrity scene with open arms.

While Kate is very much a "real girl" and surely will have her share of missteps, she generally appears to be more polished and elegant than your average tabloid persona. By no means do I want to place her on a pedestal, from which she would surely fall, as they all seem to do, but I do appreciate the grace with which she seems to carry herself. Her style is classic and elegant (I personally believe she promises to out-fashion Princess Diana, the icon style-maven who would have been her mother-in-law). I want my daughter to watch her and see that you don't need to get all hoochie-mama'd out in order to be popular.

The fact that Kate is a "real girl" is yet another reason I want my daughter to watch Friday's wedding. Kate's lesson isn't that normal girls can meet and marry a prince. Kate's lesson is that real girls can study hard and get into prestigious universities, excel in their studies and graduate. Then, they can go ahead, get a job and work hard, while pursuing a fun social life on the side. That's a lesson I want my daughter to learn early on and if she does it while wearing a tiara, so be it.

Kate also teaches us that even if you marry the prince of your dreams and have a fairytale wedding, chances are, you’re going to have some oddball in-laws to contend with. No jewelry collection in the world can save you from that inevitability.

The other reason I want my daughter to watch the Royal Wedding has nothing to do with Kate or the Windsors. It has to do with the collective world experience that this event will be. With cable TV, the internet and every other distraction around, there are fewer and fewer shared events in society these days. Now that we all have more than three channels and multiple TVs in the house, people don't experience and witness events together like they used to.

While everyone who was alive at the time of President Kennedy's assassination can tell you where they were when they heard the President had been shot, now there are fewer and fewer of those collective experiences that we all share. The Olympics and the Academy Awards aren't as strong in uniting our collective history as they once were. But I believe this wedding will be as close as it comes to a shared moment around the world and I want my daughter to be able to say that when she was three, her mom served mimosas and invited all of the neighbor ladies over in their jammies to watch the wedding and toast the happy couple and that she, my daughter was part of it all.


  1. I love it!I am going to watch it with my girls too!I remember watching Diana and Charles marry when I was in elementary school with my mom. I can still remember how my little girl heart swooned at the whole thing and how grand it all was.My girls are 3& 5, we are going to sit around in jammies and tiaras while sipping tea and eating some kind of delicious pastry.

  2. Thanks! I thought we should do tea but I'm too American and need more caffeine than tea can provide ;) Pastries will be had.

  3. I'm with you on this. I know many people who are tired of the endless media attention this wedding is receiving. But given the choice between a royal wedding or the latest celebrity coke habit, sex tape, or bitter divorce, I'll take the royal wedding any day.

  4. No kidding. I've heard just as much about Lindsay Lohan and the stolen necklace - this is much better.


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