Tale of Two Princesses

Princess CatherineKate Middleton  is arguably one of the highest-profile individuals of my generation. Her transformation from Prince William’s college sweetheart to Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge rushed through the year without losing any momentum. Her storybook transformation has inspired a legion of loyal subjects, and her unconventional, modern approach seems to be ruffling some stuffy feathers. I’ll own up to it. When I visited England last summer, I had a bit of Royal Wedding Fever! (I even bought commemorative tea at Duty-free at London-Heathrow before returning home!) Three years my junior, I truly envy her style, grace, and bottomless heart. She is sophisticated, classic beauty, and I adore the modern touches she and Prince William are accentuating their burgeoning Royal lifestyle with. Their unconventionality continued with their charitable gift fund in lieu of wedding presents, bending Royal social conventions (public displays of affection, wearing Canadian cowboy hats), and potentially being the first Royal couple to be directly affected by legislative changes with regard to equal succession of the throne.

On the rare occasions I have to catch up on my Royal sightings, I marvel at Kate’s fashions and the various social obligations she has in her new role. It makes me wonder if I could ever handle that level of social exposure or celebrity (or a terrible mash-up of my name like K-Mid). The instantaneous nature of modern media and the ever-presence of the paparazzi, leave little breathing room or privacy from the glaring flashbulbs. My growing concern for Kate is the continual comparisons to Princess Diana, and the dangerous parallels the media are drawing between them.

{Carving Our Her Identity}

The greatest challenge Catherine faces as the Duchess of Wales, is conquering her late mother-in-law’s shadow. Princess Diana was a paragon of strength, a philanthropist, and fashion icon, and I still remember the day during my freshman year when her passing was announced in Paris, France. I had been in university a week, and suddenly one of the most famous people in the world was gone. She was a woman seemingly larger-than-life, one whom is still greatly missed today. Only a lady of Diana’s caliber could prompt Sir Elton John to revamp his famed tune “Candle in the Wind” — a tribute to Marilyn Monroe– to pay homage to her memory (Candle in the Wind 1997: Goodbye England’s Rose”).

Side-by-side comparisons of Kate and Diana are copping up everywhere, more so when she appears with Prince William at functions Diana attended when she was married to Prince Charles. The analyses of her fashion choices are meticulous and sometimes overtly critical. Though few have negative commentary on the new Princess’ savvy, chic wardrobe, I find the “who wore it better” analyses of Kate vs. Diana rather ridiculous. The era of fashion between Diana and Kate has a considerable gap, and at the time, Diana was extremely fashion forward (much like Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis before her). In my opinion the only item I feel that links their styles together would simply be the sapphire engagement ring  William gave to Kate, as it previously was his mothers.

I would be interested to know if Kate’s fashion selections are subconsciously made with Diana in mind, or if she is honoring William’s mother in her own way. What I respect about both ladies is their passion for helping others, and the genuine feeling emanated when one sees them interacting with the public. One can be trained to endure the machinations with an auto-pilot sensibility, but the trick is performing with the finesse of human compassion. What I adore about Kate is the same thing I respected about Diana, they understand ‘normal’ people (read: non-royals), and they care about the world around them.  I think that is one thing that William learned from his mother at and early age, and carries with him today. That being said, I am curious to see how The Queen influences, educates, or dictates Kate’s evolution within the Royal Family.

{The People’s Champion}

Princess Catherine may not be able to work “The People’s Elbow” like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but she is nothing short of electrifying. Like William’s mother– the late, great Princess Diana– before her, Princess Catherine appears to be a classic, yet non-traditional princess, one I think will help reshape the future of the Royal Family. I enjoy reading up how on they spend their off-time, like taking in a movie in jeans at a proper theater, or even going food shopping at the market. There is something incredibly understated and wonderfully subtle about how they are choosing to live their lives. It is my hope that the media will simply let them be happy, and the tabloids and paparazzi cause them no harm.  I may be an American & Canadian, but I am going to cheer for Mr. & Mrs. Wales (formally announced as “The Dude & Duchess” by Prince Harry at their wedding reception).



I am curious to see which charities and philanthropic adventures Kate elects to participate in.

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