I love the British royal family. I have no sane reason for being this way. I am a huge Anglo-phile and love all things British (it’s a country that embraces pub culture – what’s not to love?!). Most of my favorite authors are British, and some of my favorite TV shows are on BBC (Sherlock, Gavin & Stacy, the original Inbetweeners). Their humor is so dry and so smart. Or maybe they’re not smart, but their accent makes them seem so. Either way, I dig it.
When I was a young lass back in the 80s was when Lady Diana Spencer became Princess Diana of Wales by marrying Prince Charles. I remember watching the wedding at my aunt’s house – I was about 5 or 6 years old. It was quite the event and certainly seemed to earn it’s nickname of the “fairytale” wedding. Especially to a little American girl watching the festivities outside of Boston at her aunt’s house. That dress!! Hideous now, but spectacular then. We watched someone essentially become a Princess! Although the day seemed like a fairy tale, the rest of her life would turn out tragically less so. I remember when her boys were born, and how adorable they were. I almost felt like I watched them grow up – essentially, we all did because every move they made was documented. I don’t think the reality of how terrible that was actually struck anyone until Princess Diana died in that terrifying and awful car accident, essentially trying to get away from the paparazzi who made their living by stalking her every move. I’ll never forget where I was when I found out – a group of us from college were on a white water rafting trip in Maine, and our guide casually said something about it, and we were all like, “what are you talking about?” and he bluntly responded with, “Didn’t you hear? Princess Diana is dead.” We sat in stunned silence in our raft. I felt like crying but I didn’t understand why. To this day, I also feel like crying when I see the image of her sons walking behind her casket at her funeral. Especially Prince Harry – his expressions is angry, and sad and lost. I want to go back in time and give him a hug.
My fascination with the British Royal Family continued through the years, and has certainly not been helped by high speed internet connections and the Daily Mail. Years ago, I started reading about “Waity Katie,” as the British tabloids had nicknamed Kate Middleton for seemingly waiting around for Prince William to propose to her. They can snark all they want, because it seemed to work, and we got another fairy tale 30 years later when a “commoner” (an ugly word, but I guess they easiest way to say her family has no “royal” ties) married into the monarchy. Of course, Kate Middleton is anything but common. How could she be to enter into the life she did? She is beautiful and glamorous without being too much so; she seems elegant and gracious and like she was born for a life like this. I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I set my alarm for the middle of the night to get up and watch her wedding to Prince William. It was beautiful (then I fell back asleep, because, sorry, I think weddings are boring; I was bored during my own). I felt happiness for them as though I actually know them, maybe because Prince William has grown up in front of cameras and the media and I was one of the people on the other side, watching.
Of course, I was as excited as anyone to hear that they were expecting a baby. Earlier last week when it was reported that Kate had gone into labor, I said to my boyfriend, “How am I supposed to concentrate on work today?” I obsessively checked the internet for news and updates, and got a little choked up when it was announced they had a baby boy. Both William and Kate are so good with the media – I’m sure the last thing they wanted to do on their way out of the hospital was pose and smile with their newborn. But they did so graciously, made some adorable banter, and then whisked their little bundle home. It wasn’t until I saw the photo below that i struck me how horrible it must be to have that much scrutiny on your every move all the time, but especially when you are a new parent just trying to keep your feet on the ground.
Can you even imagine how overwhelming that must be?! I guess they are so used to it by now, but it never occurred to me before what it must be like for them, to have every move they make scrutinized and captured on film. I’m so clumsy, I trip all the time. What if I was walking down the street and people randomly took my picture when I was tripping over a curb? The mere fact that William and Kate have never been caught like this leads me to believe they are super human.
Not all that long ago, some news organization had an interview with Prince Harry, wherever he was in the world serving in the Army (somewhere in the Middle East, perhaps?). He was polite to the interviewer, but just barely. It wasn’t that he was being rude, but there was definitely a thinly veiled feeling of contempt coming from him. At one point he even said something to the effect of, “I didn’t want you to come here.” The frankness of that statement will take you back a bit, but when you think about it, you can hardly blame the kid. He’s lived his entire life with every move he makes scrutinized, and how can he not blame the world media for what happened to his mother?
All of this is to say, I wish the Cambridge family the best, and certainly more than I should be wishing people I’ve never met and have most everything in the world they need at their fingertips. But they seem like lovely people, and their baby is cute, and they make a sweet little family. I do hope that they are able to find some privacy and normalcy as little Prince George grows up. It seems like a long shot, but for my part, I am going to consciously try to temper my interest in their lives. That’s what feeds the frenzy, isn’t it? If there were no interest, these photographers and journalists wouldn’t make money from stalking them. But because we care, their lives will always be lived under a microscope.
This will surely be easier said than done for me. I might need to find a 12-step program.