Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why training Catherine to be Royal is a bad idea

Now that Catherine has been a member of the Royal family for close to five months, the real work is set to begin.

After all, there's more to her role than hitting all the right fashion notes and getting pregnant on demand. The signs are reassuring. Since April the new Duchess of Cambridge has shown promise. She's already perfected the royal wave and the ability to smile on cue. Not to mention she has received training fending off kidnappers when her security detail isn't paying attention. Having passed all of this, she has now progressed to the next level.

Catherine will now be trained on the business side of being royal: private tutorials on government, briefings of State, and learning about organizations such as the arts and media. These private lessons are being held in St. James's Palace. This indoctrination process is expected to take several months, by which point she may regret having said "I Will".

Obviously the learning curve is steep and it will take time. Given her future ornamental role as consort there are all types of diplomatic minefields lying in wait. Fashion faux pas waiting to happen such as wearing the national flag colors of France while visiting the Netherlands.

You'll notice the training has worked when she stiffens at approaching children, no longer smiles spontaneously, and appears impervious to sub-zero temperatures. Will she take fashion risks? Highly unlikely. When all is said and done, Catherine may become a brunette version of Sophie, the Countess of Wessex. Pretty, but staid and unremarkable.

Lessons may have been learnt from the past, but if Catherine is trained to be Royal, the very qualities that people are charmed by and find refreshing are likely to be drummed out of her. Catherine may be accessible now, but the Royal family has their own rules when it comes to their subjects. Rule number one: Do not act like one of them.

So the next time you see Catherine in public acting natural and spontaneous?

Enjoy it while it lasts.

© Marilyn Braun 2011

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katebueckert said...

If anything, I hope her lessons will help her be more relaxed than Diana was in the same role. Diana had no such private lessons/sessions and we all know how that ended.

The days of Kate being spontaneous were numbered anyway as she takes on royal roles. I hope these sessions help her cope with what's expected of her.

Marilyn Braun said...

Kate seems to be doing quite well when it comes to being relaxed in her role - at least by appearances. Having William show her the ropes has no doubt helped with that.

Yes, Diana may have benefited from having some lessons of her own, however I think it also helped her in making her role her own instead of falling in line with the royal tradition of being cold, remote and emotionally stunted. It helped Diana become the person that the public could relate to.

There are some things that can be taught and some things that can't be. With William at her side I hope that some of the natural spontaneity remains. The Royal family needs it.

Rman said...

I don't anyone have to be afraid that Catherine will loose part of her bubbly personality due to her training for her royal role. A lot of this traning is not only to help prepare her for the royal role but also done with the fresh idea of her and William's plan to help bring a new feel to the monarchy.

I personally think Diana worked hard to being the best princess and future Queen she could be. She brought her own personality and talents to her royal role and that will always be remembered. I think it's time for the media and others to allow Catherine to find her own way in her new role as William's wife and consort. I think we have to be open minded and just watch Catherine do her own thing and watch her bring her own personality and talents to her role.

I'm looking forward to seeing the charities and organizations she will get involved in and I'm looking forward to seeing her help William represent the Queen and country. I'm just looking forward to getting to know more about Catherine in her own right.

Marilyn Braun said...

A few years ago, in an interview I recall William expressing disatisfaction with the royal system.

I'm paraphrasing but I recall him saying something along the lines that he deliberately disagreed with some of the royal courtiers because some of the ideas and ways of doing things was just wrong or didn't make sense. William seems to have very definate ideas of how he would like to see things done in the future. Training may further emphasize this for Kate.

It's good for Kate to understand her role more. It will be nice to see her strike out on her own and choose the charities that she wants to support. It's unfortunate that she is being compared to Diana but it's inevitable. Charlene of Monaco must be able to emphathize with Kate when it comes to having a larger than life dead mother in law.

Hopefully Kate will pick up what she needs to help her in her royal role while hanging on to her individuality and her natural confidence.

The royals haven't dealt with superstars well in the past, maybe they'll learn to work with Kate rather than see her as a liability and threat.

Kate said...

I don't know that we'll see a big personality difference in Catherine after the indoctrination - err, training - is finished. I think to say there will be is perhaps unconsciously comparing her to Diana. Diana (well - early marriage Diana, anyway) and Catherine strike me as having two different personalities, and it's chalk to cheese to compare them. Diana was always a bit more outgoing and exuberant - the interviews from that time reflect that. She was a young girl who was dazzled by the prospect of life as a royal - who wouldn't be? Catherine is more conservative by nature (just look at how she tends to dress compared to Diana - not the fashions, those change, but basic cut and colors). I honestly think she'll be able to fit in well. And I think William is interested in bringing the monarchy fully into the modern age. He is very protective of her and her status as a new member of the family, and if they get too carried away with things I can see him stepping in and making them back off. I honesty think the only one who he would allow to override him when it comes to his wife is possibly his grandmother - and she would have a hard fight. But no one wants to see Catherine go down the bitter, angry path Diana did, were things to go wrong in some way in later years (I don't think they will, but still, insurance). They're also taking their time with giving her royal duties, instead of throwing her into it - it wasn't like they said, "All right, you married William, now go see if you can do more events than Anne."

Marilyn Braun said...

I would say that the support of Prince William is the biggest asset that Catherine has when it comes to her new life as a member of the royal family.

Diana did not have that support and because of it no amount of royal training in government affairs would have prevented her life from unfolding the way it did. That personal support is absolutely crucial. Diana barely had Charles from the get go. He always belonged to someone else.

It's nice to see that the system is taking its time with introducing Kate. However hopefully they don't take too long to do so because then she leaves herself open to criticism of being lazy, indecisive and not willing to pull her weight. There has to be a middle ground between throwing her into the deep end and being too cautious.

Rman said...

Marilyn, I think that's why the palace is making sure they get the word out there that the Cambridges will continue to work around William's SAR schedule and they will do their duty. They are making it known that Catherine is working hard to get herself prepared for her royal role and she's working on getting to know a broad list of charities and organizations that interest her. I'm sure they have received a great deal of request for her patronage but it really do take time to sort all that out. By next year William & Catherine will most likely embark on another royal tour for the Jubilee celebrations and they will be doing alot around the UK as well. next year is a very busy time for the royals.

I think members of the media and royal watchers on the internet have to remain patient with this process the palace and Catherine are going through. I think it's important to remain realistic and realize that it's not possible for Catherine to become the hardest working member of the royal family overnight. It's going to take her a few years to find her feet with her role as William's wife. If you look at the royal career of the Countess of Wessex, you will see that it also took her a few years to find her footing and even gain recognition for her dedication to her royal duties.

So I think we just have to allow Catherine find her way and I don't think she will disappoint the British people and royal family.

I'm also glad she has William at her side through it all. I think Diana was a very good Princess of Wales but what she really needed was Charles helping hand, love and appreciation and she was robbed of it. I'm glad Catherine have William and not have to fight for his love and help.