Today, my daughter’s dreams came true.
Today, the future her little five-year-old heart always yearned for became a possibility.
Because today, Princess officially became a ‘job’.
And it’s the job my daughter wants.
In case you’ve been sleeping, Kate and William filed the birth certificate for their daughter Princess Charlotte today, and in the space where it says ‘Occupation’, it says “Princess of the United Kingdom”.
Because that’s a job now.
In William’s, it says “Prince of the United Kingdom” but, you know what? No little boy I know has ever told me he wants to grow up to be a handsome prince.
But whenever I ask my daughter what she wants to be when she grows up, she answers, without hesitation, “A Princess”.
Well, not always. Sometimes, she aims higher: “A Queen.”
It has been this way since she changed her answer from “Mermaid”, about a year ago.
My daughter is already obsessed with the baby princess, purely because she is one.
Now. At last. I can tell her that “Princess” is now officially a job she can strive for.
Except, I can’t.
Thank god, someone agrees: “The very good reason you shouldn’t buy your daughter a tiara.“
Princess Charlotte is a gorgeous little baby, with parents who love her and a big brother whose chubbiness of cheek can not be rivalled. Her very existence will probably ensure that women’s magazines will survive for a few more years. Because that little baby can keep the princess dream alive for generations to come.
But the princess fantasy is bogus. This is not a job to aspire to.
Yes, Princesses do a lot of very good work. There are many, many charities that would barely exist if it were not for their patronage. They have enormous power to direct attention to important issues. And they’re good for tourism, and for selling commemorative tea-towels, and for showing us all how to climb in and out of cars with good grace.
A slightly different opinion: “My daughter wants to be a princess. And you know what? I’m OK with that”.
But “Princess” is not a career choice.
Because it’s not a job you can apply for. It’s not a job you can train for. It’s not a job that’s awarded on merit, or for admirable hard work.
No. They only give the golden crown and the sparkly ballgowns to two kinds of candidates – the ones who were born into it, and the ones who marry into it.
If I were to lay out the career path for “Princess” to my daughter, how would it look?
Something like this:
– Travel far from home. Because we are too enlightened to have princesses in Australia, we have to obsess about other country’s princesses.
– Find a way to break into the the most privileged and exclusive social circles in the world – royal ones – and get yourself noticed.
– But try not be too noticeable, or showy, because Princes aren’t allowed to marry girls like that.
– Be attractive, but not a bombshell. Be smart, but not intimidating. Be well-spoken, but not outspoken.
– Hope against hope that the Prince who “picks” you, is not – despite growing up with a level of entitlement that is difficult for a mere mortal to imagine – an arrogant narcissist with a harem. Kate might have got the last good one there, sorry.
– Get him to date you. Deal with unimaginable intrusion into your private life, your personal history, your family skeletons.
– Then deal with a level of scrutiny about your body, your clothes, your appearance, your job (if you’re allowed to have one), your friends, your exes, that most mere mortals would not be able to handle.
– If you can stand all that, and he can stand all that. And his family approve of you. And you pass all the ‘tests’ that countless faceless men will set you. Then you can marry him, and become a princess.
– Unless they decide to give you a rubbish title like Duchess. Then you just have to wake up every day and wonder what happened to your dream, and fantasise about a life that you have control over.
Didn’t get your royal baby fix? The first adorable pictures of Kate and Will’s princess.
One, for example, where you don’t have to leap out of your birthing bed and wave at a horde of hundreds of photographers so everyone can marvel at your skinny ankles and shiny hair.
You do an absolutely incredible job, Duchess Kate. But for my daughter, I think she should aim a little lower.
Something like, you know, rocket scientist.
Would you be happy to encourage your daughter to marry a prince?