Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prince George is not the savior of the monarchy, he's just a baby

Happy Birthday Prince George!

Now that you have turned a year old, it is time for you to hit more milestones if you haven't done so already. First words, self-feeding, moving to big boy bed and pants, not to mention learning  how to live up to the world's expectations for you.

Oh, your parent's didn't tell you about that?

Yes, it seems that people consider you to be the savior of the monarchy. Google it and you will find various articles to that effect. The one who has raised the monarchy up from the past, dusted it off and made everyone look shiny and good. Those in close proximity to you - people who have worked dutifully for the monarchy and are relatively well respected for that work - can't help but benefit from the effect of your arrival. Yes, you have cleaned everyone up, made them lemon scented and fresh again. And all you had to do was be born.

Thank God! What would the monarchy have done without you?

But here's the thing. And this is something that people tend to forget in all of the fawning articles proclaiming you as a future king. You are a child. A child in a remarkable position to be sure. But still a child. For all of the news reports that  your parents want you to have a 'normal childhood' (whatever that means in royal terms) you won't. Not when our collective expectations are already on your wobbly shoulders. It wouldn't surprise me if you grew up hating the media and decided those expectations are too heavy and chose your personal happiness over duty instead. Insatiable interest tends to have that effect. There's even a precedent. Google it.

So while you are surrounded by adults at your whatever themed birthday party, looking befuddled at all of the fuss, insatiable interest waits outside your front door. Following you to the park, or to school, where you will just be trying to be a kid.

Ignore us while we make you more than that.

© Marilyn Braun 2014

Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nothing like a good old royal twitter debate

I admit it.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than to get into a meaty discussion about royalty. Following twitter arguments where republicans go toe to toe with monarchists, journalists stirring the pot by bringing up divisive issues about royal privacy and whether Catherine Cambridge could should be doing more and then innocently denying the spoon in their hand.

Bring out the popcorn, I LOVE it.

Sometimes I wade into those arguments, which continue throughout the day until some exhausted person tweets ‘let’s agree to disagree’ and we all go back to our respective lives until the next divisive topic comes along. Because it is always fun to argue about something where our opinions have no effect whatsoever on the outcome!

In several cases I usually finding myself in the minority when expressing my viewpoints. Such was the case a few weeks back when Prince Carl Philip of Sweden became engaged to Sofia Hellqvist, who has a rather ‘colorful’ past. People argued how royal standards had lowered to the point where anyone could marry into the royal family regardless of how unsuitable we regarded them to be. How this type of stuff would harm the monarchy down the road. But some monarchies are fairly resilient. for instance, how many times have people claimed things would bring down the British monarchy, and yet they're still here?

Yes, I’m usually outnumbered. But dammit! Someone has to offer a counterpoint! I won’t discuss my views about William and Kate here because I’ve done that so many times in blog posts that I have nothing new to add. Twitter is a different story.

Back to Sofia Hellqvist and Prince Carl Philip. Yes she has a colorful past – posing nude as a teenager, amongst other damning things people do in their past and can do nothing to change now. But, to me, if the King and Queen are happy with Carl Philip’s choice then that’s what counts. Or at least it should. Look at Camilla and Charles. Disapproval galore but their PR campaign wore us down and 9 years later we can congratulate ourselves for forgetting everything that made her unsuitable to us in the first place.

The days when royalty was supposed to marry for only duty instead of happiness are fading. Many now marry for love. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But royalty is not supposed to be a life sentence of misery because no one approves of your choices. Plenty of people thought Kate Middleton was an inappropriate choice for Prince William because she is *gasp* (clutches pearls) a commoner! Some people still think she is an inappropriate choice. Should William have taken a poll about his choice of bride? Depends on who you ask.

People have very short memories. Forget the double standard about blood royal males misbehaving badly by having affairs. That’s OK. When it’s a woman, suddenly the future of the monarchy is in doubt. Why is that?

Discuss amongst yourselves on twitter, I’ll swing by later to join you.

Here’s my prediction, once Sofia Hellqvist appears in her elegant wedding dress donning a historic tiara and paying tribute to some obscure royal bride, people will forget. Suddenly she will magically transform into princess material and everything that made people question her suitability will be swept under a carpet - just like it was with Camilla.

Then we will have to find something new to argue debate about!

© Marilyn Braun 2014

 Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Royal Review: Royal Books for Children

To coincide with the arrival of Prince George, three clever and delightful children's books have been published. Appealing to young and old alike, my children enjoyed all of them.

Bubblegum Princess by Julie Gribble

Unlike the other books in this post Bubblegum Princess has nothing to do with the arrival of the royal baby. Instead the heroine of this book, Katy, spreads joy throughout the kingdom by blowing bubbles. Colorfully illustrated, it is a nice tale about being true to yourself and finding bubble-blowing kindred spirits in unlikely places. Don't be surprised if your son or daughter asks for bubblegum afterwards.

A Royal Fairytale by Adam Larkum

If you're looking for a children's book that condenses William and Kate's relationship into the traditional 'and they lived happily ever after' format then A Royal Fairytale is for you. Bypassing eight years of drama, and ignoring the infamous breakup altogether, this version has William and Kate meeting, falling in love, getting married and travelling the world. The only thing to make their happiness complete? Spoiler alert! They have a royal baby!

Shhh! Don't Wake the Royal Baby! by Martha Mumford

Out of the three books, I enjoyed this one the most. I read it as an e-book but I plan to get a hardcopy. Shhh! Don't Wake the Royal Baby is entertaining and keeps the reader guessing as William, Kate and the rest of the royal family find inventive ways to put the royal baby to sleep despite noisy corgis, changing of the guard, and Harry and Pippa's lavish party planning. After watching the Queen jump out of a helicopter at the Olympics, doing the same for her new great-grandson, doesn't seem so far fetched after all.

In honor of Prince George's upcoming first birthday, the author has written another book to mark the occasion: Happy Birthday, Royal Baby!
© Marilyn Braun 2014

Thank you for enjoying this article. If you use the information for research purposes, a link to credit the work I've put into writing it would be appreciated.