Friday, July 10, 2015

Dear William and Kate, choose a decade and stick with it

via British Monarchy Flickr

Whenever we discuss the future of the monarchy, we are often reminded that William and Kate are doing things their own way. Yes, they want to be like normal married couple, deferring royal responsibilities to raise their young children away from the spotlight. To give them, what generations of royal biographies have opined, "as normal a childhood as possible."

William clearly does not want to repeat previous mistakes. Not after what happened to his beloved mother. But the future seems to hold no appeal for the Cambridges either. Once Prince Charles becomes King, William and Kate face a future filled with ribbon cutting, shaking hands, standing on ceremony and accepting obeisance from people who don't know better. What is a reluctant future king and queen taking flak for their current choices to do?

PR Minions: What about harking back to the past?

Same PR Minions: Good idea!

How about halcyon days before the internet, selfies and social media? An era both classic and comfortable fashion wise for Kate, George and Charlotte. I envision William and Kate dusting off royal photo albums for inspiration.

1980s: At Trooping the Color, Prince George wore the exact same outfit Prince William wore for his first balcony appearance in 1984 so this decade is taken care of.

1990s, unfortunate both in fashion and musically. Not to mention 'annus horribilis,' the implosion of various royal marriages and his mother's tragic death.

No, let's go further back...

Victorian era? What do you mean I can't sunbathe topless and have to wear a corset?

OK, too far back. Hmmmm...

1920s? Even Kate can't bring back the flapper look.

1930s? Who wants to be reminded of the Abdication crisis? Yay! Good times...

1940s? Wait, how many clothing coupons do I need for that Alexander McQueen dress?

1960s? Free love and people were starting to question everything.

1970s? Equally unflattering to photogenic and non-photogenic royals.

No. How about a more deferential time? Say the 1950s era royals, where being young and glamorous was enough to earn patriotic doffed caps, the public were subjects, long absences were seen as acceptable and the media never crossed lines. A time period where nannies wore uniforms and royal children behaved perfectly in photographs.

From Prince George's outfit, the nanny's uniform and the vintage pram, William and Kate had the 1950s down pat on Princess Charlotte's christening day. Even the Queen must have experienced déjà vu. Turn the footage black and white, add a respectful British Pathé narrator and the charade is complete. But temporary.

Tradition is the royal family's raison d'être. The royal collection has an entire arsenal for the purpose. It is all well and good to play dress up with the past and pretend normalcy but even the 89-year old Queen faces the future and reality. William and Kate would be wise to follow suit. The past should be used for fond reminisces, not for hiding behind.

© Marilyn Braun 2015

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