Catherine has mastered the royal wave. She can graciously accept flowers from small children and present shamrocks with élan. Her ability to sell people on pantyhose is par none. She's photogenic and has injected the royal family with much needed glamour. By appearances and demeanor she is born to be royal. Respectful, deferential and silent, minus the field hockey skills, she would fit in well with the Japanese royal house. High upon the pedestal we've placed her, she can do no wrong. For now.
March 19th will mark a milestone occasion for the duchess. She will be making her first speech. Almost a year after her marriage, it has been a long time in coming. Diana made her first speech three months after her wedding on October 29, 1981, when she received the Freedom of the City of Cardiff. Adding some words of Welsh to her acceptance, it was an appropriate touch for the Princess of Wales.
Like Catherine's wedding dress, there is a great deal riding on this appearance. Aside from her engagement interview, wedding vows and some awkward remarks in Denmark, she has said very little in public. This occasion will be a chance to prove herself. Will her voice be a Jacqueline Kennedy whisper? Or will she deliver her words with confidence and conviction? This voice will set the tone for her future role and it is important to get it right.
Until recently, Catherine has had to do little more than stay two steps behind the royal-in-laws and gaze in admiration at everything Prince William does. When her patronages were announced in early January, it was a step in the right direction. Counting the royal tour of Canada, she has carried out more joint engagements than solo. Now it's time to kick off the training wheels. She's shown she can look the part but now comes the hard work. Like royals before her, Catherine will need to carve out a unique role for herself. Become more than just a fashion plate and someone who supports her husband in his duties. If that's all she is, it is going to be a long, superficial, boring 20 or 30 year wait for the throne.
The choice is now up to her.
© Marilyn Braun 2012
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