Ahhh...the first blush of youth. Enviable and uncapturable once gone.
A recent photo of Princess Beatrice, released to celebrate her 18th birthday, shows her in all of her youthful, stunning glory. Not since the coming of age of her grandmother and late great-aunt Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, has there been such wonderful potential on the horizon. For unlike male royals, it's hard to resist a beautiful princess. After all, how many fairy tale books are written about Prince Charming? One has only to look at Hello magazine in order to see the appeal of a beautiful and glamourous princess (something I wrote about in Royal Glamour Girls).
You might notice that royalty that doesn't have this asset doesn't get nearly the same amount of media attention. Were it not for the succession crisis in Japan, or that Nepal's ruling family were murdered several years ago, would we pay much attention? For the less superficial royal watchers, it's possible. But yet nothing competes with beauty (or even an 18 year old). Dedication and stoicism simply aren't sexy and don't sell newspapers.
Since the departure of Princess Diana, the position of royal glamour girl has been vacant and Princess Beatrice could indeed fill the void. However, unlike her grandmother (who was heir when she came of age in the 1940's), as fifth in line to the throne Princess Beatrice's profile may not be nearly as high and therefore the attention may not nearly be nearly as great, but for now she's the one. Every royal generation seems to have an "It" girl: Princess Margaret (1950's), Princess Alexandra of Kent (1960's), Princess Anne (1970's), Diana and Fergie, Lady Helen Taylor (nee Windsor) (1980's), Diana (1990's), Lady Gabriella Windsor, Zara Philips, Princess Beatrice (2000's). Whether they take up the mantle is another question.
Unlike other 18 year olds, Princess Beatrice exhudes class. Unlike Paris Hilton, Princess Beatrice will not simply fade away. She may get less attention as she gets older, or until Prince William marries, but like previous royal "It" girls, her place in the family tree of the world's best known royal family is assured.
So dear Bea, enjoy your time in the spotlight. Kate Middleton might be waiting to take your place.
© Marilyn Braun 2006
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