Sunday, March 18, 2012

Catherine Cambride has style, but does she have substance?

Catherine has mastered the royal wave. She can graciously accept flowers from small children and present shamrocks with √©lan. 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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Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Although Diana made her first speech three months after her wedding, I don't know that she said much of substance for several yaers after her marriage. It wasn't really until she took up the cause of AIDS and then land mines that she really began to find her voice. And that really began to happen after her seperation from Prince Charles.

Rman said...

Hi Marilyn,

I must say that I've really been blown away by Catherine's sense of duty so far. I think she has made a great deal of progress since her and William started doing official engagements together. She mentioned in the engagement interview that she was eager to learn the royal ropes and support William the best way she know how and she's really been doing that.

If you look on the royal forums there are great debates on whether she's doing enough engagements and how she should be on the same level of other senior royals and they are busy comparing her to other crown princesses.

I think it's important to keep in mind that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge aren't officially full-time working members of the royal family yet. We have to wait for William to decided on when he will leave his job in the SAR. The Cambridges right now work around his military job. I think William & Catherine are doing a good job on trying to balance out their military life and royal life.

I think Catherine is doing a good job on supporting her charities and performing other royal duities but I think the media and other royal watchers have to give her some room to grow and find her path. None of the royals became the most hardest working royals overnight. True Catherine has been a member of the royal family for nearly a year but it really do take a few years for a royal to carve out a role for themselves.

Right now I'm just sitting back and enjoying watching the Duke & Duchess grow as a couple and working royals. It took them nearly ten years to even get to this point, so I think it's impoatant for everyone to just calm down, don't rush them and let them do what they feel is right. I'm enjoying the ride, Marilyn.

Are you enjoying the ride , Marilyn? Are you feeling the love? Lol. I know William and rest of the royal family must be proud on how Catherine have taken all this on with such grace and dignity. The Queen must be really impressed because she invited Catherine to part take in her first tour of the UK for her Diamond Jubilee. That was a big deal.

Marilyn Braun said...

Yes, I think it took Diana a while to find her footing and realize that because of her particular profile, she was in an position to highlight causes in a meaningful and useful way.

Maybe the difference is in their positions. Diana was the wife of the heir to the throne. Kate is the wife of the second in line, so maybe not as much is expected of her as say it would be for Camilla?

I'm sure Kate will grow into her role. Beginning her royal role through announcing her engagements and making speeches is a good start towards ultimately finding it. Hiding out in Angelsey, playing house is not.

I don't begrudge her and William wanting to live as normally as they possibly can, even if I find it unrealistic. Kate is now a member of the royal family and like it or not, she needs to get to work before she's criticized for just being a clothes horse, photographed shopping and getting her hair done, and nothing else.

I'd like to see her portrayed as something more than that. Have her work be about more than what she's wearing. If she leaves it at that, it will be a waste of an extraordinary position and opportunity.

Marilyn Braun said...

Rman, nice to hear from you!

I wouldn't call it a 'ride' per se. That would mean that it's short and comes to an end at some point. Kate has to be in it for the long haul.

I'm happy for Kate but right now she is being portrayed in a superficial way. You only need to look at twitter and read many of the articles about her speech today to see it. The dress and where it came from overshadowed the event. The fact that the palace felt it needed to confirm the color and provenance of the dress just undermined the work Kate was trying to do. It detracted from the event itself. The palace and Kate should have known better.

Is it really so unrealistic to want her to be portrayed less superficially? Or to expect more from her? Kate is not made of china. She will not break if she takes on more responsibility. It's expected of her. Tell me, if she hadn't announced her patronages in January or undertaken any engagements whatsoever, because she was learning the ropes, how patient, how understanding and sympathetic would people continue to be?

She's headed in the right direction but I honestly don't think she will be given the luxury of time to find her role by hiding out in Angelsey trying to figure it out. People expect to see her. They want to see her DO something. With her profile she's capable of doing amazing things for others. If she allows herself to just be portrayed as a clothes horse, she's doing herself no favors. It took YEARS for Diana to get away from that image of being nothing more than that. Why not start out from the get go and avoid that completely by letting her work speak for her instead of what she's wearing while doing it? I don't think it's unrealistic to expect that at all.

Rman said...

Yeah, William's position within the royal family really makes a difference and he's not a full-time working royal at this time. They know they won't be able to live a normal life but I think they are doing a good job on preserving their privacy. They know that royal duty is not just the important thing but taking care of their marriage and family is also important. That's the key to a more happy royal life. That is what they added in their marriage prayer.

I think since they will be moving into their new Kensington Palace apartment next year, they will probably become full-time royals then but for right now I think it's great that they live a nice simple life in Wales, their future Principality. I think them living there will help them connect more with the welsh people.

You know, this is the new genergation of royals that are doing their own thing. The old way of royal life no longer work in todays modern world.

I think people just have to relax and just watch the Cambridges grow into their royal roles. They have a long way to go and what we are seeing at this point is only the beginning and perhaps a tease.

I personally think Catherine has not only done a beautiful job so far but I think she is making some of her harshes critics eat their words.

As for her speech, I think she did a good job. Over time she will give more speeches and she will become more comfortable at it. Belive it or not, the royals still remain nervous about these things despite their many years of experiences.

Lol, Marilyn I know many are getting tierd of the media talking about Catherine's fashion sense but I think we might as well get used to it. The media will always focus on her wardrobe, just like they did with the many royals before her. Trust me when I say, it's not going away any time soon.

I think we have to be happy for Catherine that despite her being a senior royal she is still able to run some errands for herself. Having that kind of 'little' freedom is very important. Just ask HM Queen Margareth of Denmark who also run errands for herself and like to shop too. She most recently mentioned this in her 40th Jubilee interview.

Rman said...

Marilyn, it's good to hear from you too. I continue to support your blog and my goodness we've come a long way.

Yes, I do read the articles and how much the press pay attention to catherine's clothing. There's not much she can do about that, Marilyn. She have to look good to do her job. That's just the requirement. If you look at the other European royals like Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Crown Princess Victoria and others, they wear much more expensive clothing to carry out their duties. That's just part of the job. Compared to them, Catherine's wardrobe is pretty small potatoes. No matter how much the media rave about her clothing.

I know many expect more from Catherine but we just have to keep in mind that William is just second-in-line to the throne and currently not a full-time working royal. Right now he and Catherine work around the SAR schedual but I think they have a good balance by performing royal duties and now they are about to embark on another royal tour on behalf of the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee.

The palace has made it pretty clear that over time the Cambridges duties will increase. The Queen and Prince of Wales is pretty happy about the amount of duties the Cambridges have taken on but they're not pushing them and I think rightfully so. Most likely William & Catherine will start up a family soon and I have no doubt in my mind that they will take their family life seriously and make time for it.

Things would be so different if William & Catherine were in Charles & Camilla's position. They would be performing 400 to 500 engagements a year. Right now they are taking advantage of this time they have to grow and not totally step on Charles's toes. The media is so obsessed with William leapfrogging his father to the throne but William is letting everyone know that his father is rightfully in the position to the throne and won't overshadow him and his role.

You right, maybe I shouldn't categorize William & Catherine's royal career as a 'ride' but I'm just taking the time to enjoy watching them grow into their royal roles. I'm not going to complain about them not doing this and that amount of engagements. I say that because I know they have a long road ahead of them and they really need time to grow as husband and wife and have a family. I truly appreciate what they are doing at the moment.

Also, I think the critics of the British Royal Family have to ease up off of them a bit. I say let them wear beautiful clothes and jewels when they perform their duties. No matter what they wear, or where they go on vacation, I think they do a beautiful job on serving the people of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. So lets take the cue from the other sovereign countries, where the people allow their royal family to carry out their royal duites with a great deal of beauty and dignity.