Monday, May 30, 2011

Does blogging about Catherine make me a hypocrite?

Of all of the posts I've written What's the deal with Princess Angela? has provoked the most comment, both positive and negative. So it was really no surprise to receive another comment about that article. Which is as follows:

I have read your posts on Princess Angela and why you think that media coverage for her would be unwarranted. Now I have a real question about your comment, "Princess Angela may be the only black princess in a reigning European dynasty. She may be accomplished in many areas of her life. But I reiterate, marrying into the royal family is not an accomplishment. That alone does not make her newsworthy. I'd like to know what else she has done other than marry a Prince? Is that the way she should be defined? By who she's married to?" Okay fair enough, but with that said, Angela has started her own business, studied fashion, and worked in the fashion industry. So she has earned her keep in life. On the other hand keeping in mind your very own words, you're always posting on Kate Middleton, a woman who hasn't accomplished anything but married a royal herself. She hasn't had a career, or started her own business. She only worked part-time with her family's business to keep with William's schedule... Kate has done nothing but wait for a title and yet you cover her continuously because of who she married. Then you went on to say that Angela hasn't earned any attention or spotlight. I'm not arguing that she needs more media attention. The only thing I'm saying is that once I read that comment of yours I though you were being a bit hypocritical since you're always talking about Kate.
Upon reading this my first instinct was to vigorously defend myself. But I like to think I've evolved as a person enough to see these things more objectively. Because of that I started to wonder, could this person be right?

That article was written in 2008. Two years before Catherine Middleton became engaged to Prince William. Therefore, at the time, I could not have seen the parallel between Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Angela of Liechtenstein. But I do agree that there are some similarities, especially in terms of being famous for who they married and little else. But I don't really feel that this is the full issue for the person who made the comment. It can't be just about both being famous for who they've married, can it? I'm waging a guess that it isn't.  So I'll ignore the 500 pound purple gorilla and focus on my alleged hypocrisy.

Looking at Angela on the surface, with her accomplishments having 'started her own business, studied fashion, and worked in the fashion industry' make her no different from any one else who has done so as well. She's not the first woman to do so and she won't be the last.

Now in comparison, Catherine has not had the same successful career. In fact it was one of the things people criticized her for. Waiting around for her prince to propose. In that respect she's no different from a lot of other twenty-something young women trying to find their way in the world. So now looking at both women from that perspective, neither one of them are terribly remarkable.

But yet I write more about one and little about the other. In fact, in my article it seems I'm diminishing one woman for the same thing that people laud the other for. It really isn't fair, now is it? In that respect yes that would be hypocritical.  Especially if that was the original point I had been trying to make.  In which case I would be totally disappointed in myself for not noticing it sooner. 

However in this instance I feel that my comments on Princess Angela have been taken out of context. I never said there was anything wrong with her marrying well. I said that shouldn't be the only thing she is defined by. That comment was related to people complaining about the lack of coverage about her. My point is that marrying well, in and of itself, does not sustain peoples interest for the media to cover them continuously. There needs to be something more than that for people to discuss her. Helpful examples: A DUI, a reality show, a torrid affair, or running off with someone from the circus. Those types of things. Because in the 21 years since their marriage, surely the novelty of a black woman marrying a white prince from a minor royal house has worn off, hasn't it?

Alternatively, a young woman marrying a prince from the highest profile royal family in the world is something people will discuss and blog about. And because of who she's married and the dysfunctional family she's married into, she's not likely to fade away. She too has married well. Despite have these similarities, you can't compare them at all. One is a future Queen and one isn't. If this person thinks that isn't a factor in why I write about Catherine more, well then she is kidding herself. It has everything to do with this and it's not hypocritical at all. It's realistic.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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10 comments:

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Hi Marilyn, I agree on the surface it would seem that you are being hypocritical, but you answered your question when you wrote that Princess Angela married into a minor royal family. Can anyone pick Liechenstein out on a map? Or had heard about it before Danielle Steel wrote her novel H.R.H. about the fictional heiress to the throne. Yes, it is still interesting that there is a black princess in a European royal family precisely because very few people know about it. However, it would be even more interesting if say Prince Harry announced that he was marrying the Prince of Lesotho's sister. The British royal family will always trump a minor principality unless it's Monaco.

Marilyn Braun said...

Well, I never said I was perfect. ;)

I thought the person's comment was interesting. I'd never actually seen it in that light.

Should Prince Harry marry the Prince of Lesotho's sister, I can see that as being a major news story. If he marries anyone outside of his religion, that too would be huge.

I think that had Angela married Prince Charles, we would constantly hear more about her just by the higher profile of her husband and the family she married into. It makes a difference, though there are some people who don't think so.

Jane Barr said...

Great post! I think much of it does come down to which family Kate married in to, and as you pointed out, the BRF is the royal family with the highest name recognition and profile. Kate's special glamour might be that she has awesome fashion, or a neat family history, or what captured many hearts, I think, the much reported personal struggles in Kate and William's romance, but ultimately, we don't know how these other lesser known royal women would compare because they do not have the overwhelming public platform that the BRF affords. There are many unknown women the world over with similar talents and personalities, but Kate is the woman that Prince William met and married and so she is in our spotlight whereas other women are not.
Ultimately I agree, it is realistic to report on Kate and not on Angela.

Cinderella said...

If Prince Harry marries anyone, it will be a big story! There is simply much more public interest in British royals, especially Catherine (at least among English speaking audience), than other royal women. Similarly, celebrity bloggers cover Lindsay Lohan not because she is more accomplished or important than other people, but because she's more famous.

I've tried for years to encourage general interest in the non-British monarchies, but I don't think I've had much success.

Jo Ann said...

I don't understand the problem. Catherine is to become a queen some day, which is not Angela's case. Seriously, some people...

Cheryl Anderson Brown said...

What I like best about this post is the soul-searching question. When someone asks me why I like royalty, my reply often starts with "I don't know." It is rather odd that we intelligent, well-socialized, amusing ladies spend so much of our time concerned about the world of royalty.

Is Princess Angela a better person than Kate? Heck if I know, I've never met either of them. Is she more newsworthy? Well, I don't see the supermarket tabloids using her picture to sell issues. Should I care? Nope, but I'm hopelessly fascinated nonetheless.

MeganPearl said...

I really believe that if Princess Angela married a royal from say, Norway or Belgium, a higher profiled monarchy than tiny, obscure Liechtenstein, she likely would've received some media attention. And as Jo Ann said, Angela won't be a consort.

At the same time, maybe Princess Angela doesn't mind the lack of attention? Poor Catherine has to live under intense scrutiny, while Angela can go about almost carefree. In a sense, Angela might have more of the fairy tale life than Catherine.

Yvonne said...

This is a very interesting debate. I'm not sure there's anything particularly significant in the lack of media coverage of Princess Angela - there doesn't seem to be a lot of information about Hereditary Princess Sophie either (who did marry the Crown Prince and so is more equivalent to Maxima, Mary, Letizia, et al), and the single most common thing people seem to know about her is that she's the Jacobite heir/pretender to the British throne. Which sort of goes to show that the British royals are so much more prominent in people's minds that the British connection is the big deal for the Liechtenstein royals.

Kate will always have a lot of press because she married Diana's son. And like it or not, the British royals are the ones most people seem to follow. This might also be a generational thing - we had Diana the media star and Fergie the Buffoon in the 1980s, while most European monarchs are half a generation younger than the Queen and their heirs didn't start marrying until around 10 years ago.

The press doesn't tend to be interested in low-key royals living worthy lives, which seems to be what most of the Liechtenstein royals are doing. If they were partying, buddying up to royal reporters, and being rude to hotel and restaurant staff, I'm sure we'd hear a lot more about them. You can see the same thing playing out in the British royal family, where the Gloucesters, even though they're senior to the Kents, get so little media coverage that apparently people think the Duchess of Gloucester is Princess Michael's lady in waiting. Even in royal magazines, never mind celeb ones, there are no pictures at all of any of the Gloucesters at the royal wedding. I get the impression they don't seek the limelight, and are probably very grateful that they're being left alone, and I imagine the same is true of the younger Liechtenstein royals.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

The only Liechenstein royal that has gotten any interest lately is Prince Wencelas, mainly because he's single, good-looking and has dated a Victoria's Secret model! And if I'm not mistaken, he's a minor royal even in Liechenstein. Americans seem to care mainly about the British Royal Family and then only the main stars. My friend and I were talking the other day, and I mentioned Prince Edward, and she'd completely forgotten that he existed!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Princess Angela married a younger son of the reigning Prince of Liechtenstein. Only the the Prince and Princess and the heir and his spouse carry out duties in tiny Liechtenstein. Alois's siblings live outside the country, and return for the National Day, and family events. In Britain, royal duties are carried out by the main line and the collateral lines. Angela and Max were married in NYC with little press attention because the Principality's press office did not notify the news agencies to have the wedding on the day book. The Liechtensteiners are serene highnesses (apart from Sophie who is RH)Max heads the liechtenstein bank and is based in Germany. Neither he nor his wife have a major public profile, but neither does Constantin and Ilona. Moreover as serene highnesses, the Liechtensteiners are not truly royal. I used to correspond with the late Prince Franz Josef, and I mentioned I was coming to Vaduz - which is very small - and I was invited for a private tour of Schloss Vaduz. There are only about 36,000 people in Liechtenstein, One cannot compare the wife of a younger son of the Prince of Liechtenstein to the wife of second in line to the British throne (as well as few others)