Jessica Rudd, Republican, is accidentally raising a monarchist royal-obsessed daughter. Whoops.
The tiara has been spending more time out of the dress-up box than in it lately. As a Mum, I’m cool with that.
I’m less fine with the repurposed glitter-stick fairy wand because I bruise easily, but I don’t think too hard about what my toddler dresses up as. The other day she was wearing the tiara, a stethoscope and wings, a royal flying doctor of sorts. More power to her.
But last night the tiara became more than just a bedazzled alice-band. I was trying to distract her from having her hair washed (which she loathes) so I opened up some light banter.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Princess,” she declared matter-of-factly.
LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, my mother’s guilt screamed at me. You and your stupid tiara impulse purchase! Now she wants to make a career of being an ornamental royal. You’re supposed to be a republican!
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Let it go, mother’s guilt. Let it go. We can spin this.
“Excellent,” I said, cool as a cucumber. “Some of the world’s best people are princesses.”
Later, when we were both in our PJs, I sat her on my lap to towel-dry her hair and opened my laptop.
“Princesses are very powerful and busy. See this lady here?”
“She was a beautiful lady and a very hardworking one. Her name was Diana and she was a princess. She worked to protect people from danger and help people who were very sick. She was a kind person.”
“And see this lady here? This is Zara.”
“Uh oh, the horse is jumping in muddy puddles!”
“Yes, and so is Zara. Zara is very strong and fit. She is one of the best horse-riders in the world. Look, she even won a medal because she is so great at sport.”
“I like horses.”
“Me too. And do you know who else likes horses? Zara’s mummy.”
“Zara’s mummy is the Princess Royal and she is a very special princess who hates being bored. She works to look after little kids who don’t have enough food and can’t go to the doctor or learn things at school. She is one of the busiest princesses in the whole world.”
“And have a look at this lady. Her name is Elizabeth and she is Zara’s grandma.”
“When Elizabeth was a little girl, she was a princess. She is very smart. She can fix cars and she loves dogs, just like you. When she grew up she became the queen of a lot of countries. She helps people make important decisions and at Christmas she sends everyone a message.”
“Like Santa and the reindeer!”
“Where’s The Lizzerbest’s tiara?”
“Elizabeth has many exquisite tiaras. So do Zara and her mummy and Diana did too. But the best princesses are super busy doing lots of hard work and using their special power, their brain, their strength and their kindness, so they usually leave their tiara in the dress-up box and just get it out when they are going to parties.”
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She glanced over at her tiara on the coffee table.
“You can do all of the things princesses do and more, little one. Fix cars. Make big decisions. Run countries.”
“I like running.”
“Ride horses into muddy puddles, help people, be a mummy—you can do anything you work hard at. You can wear a tiara too, but you don’t really need it. It’s just fun.”
“Where’s The Lizzerbest’s wand?”
“Wands are for fairies, sweetheart.”
“I want to be a fairy!”
“And would you look at that, it’s bedtime.”
Good talk, said my mother’s guilt. You are now the proud mother of a mythical monarchist with wings.
Better than a real one.