Thursday, November 18, 2010

William and Kate, An Ordinary Couple?

When Prince William's parents got engaged the world was all gaga over the idea that Great Britain's thirty-plus heir to the throne had found himself, Diana Spencer, a beautiful, seemingly innocent bride.  Prince Charles' parents were modern enough to give him some choice and not use his marriage as some sort of royal diplomatic alliance.  But they weren't modern enough to encourage him to marry the woman he was truly in love with,  Camilla.

One of the courses I'm taking in Matan is Megillat Ester by Atara Snowbell.  We've been discussing the life of the women in King Achashverosh's "harem."  It's important to take ourselves out of modern norms to understand what life was like then.  Being chosen as a possible queen or consort for the king was a one-way ticket.  The women were captured, enslaved and kept well-oiled, perphumed and  "ready" just in case they'd be called for an "audition" in the king's bed.  There were hundreds or more competing.  Some were never called.  If they were lucky, they may find themselves pregnant by the king, but most would never have children.

"Normal" lives?  No way, and don't forget that the twentieth century "nuclear family" didn't exist even for the non-royals.

Until a few decades ago, many of European royalty lived in a way totally different from "ordinary people."  I'll never forget a movie shown at a visit to a British museum.  (We lived there in the middle 1970's.)  It was supposed to show how "ordinary" and "family-minded" the British Royal Family was.  We saw Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and their four children having a barbeque.  The kids looked totally confused and you could hear one of the little boys asking what the serving implements were.  It was very obvious that this was staged and badly rehearsed.

Prince William and his brother Prince Harry have been more exposed to "ordinary life," but it's not the life my kids know.  Don't forget that the princes are very wealthy and their social peers are the same.

Do they get together for barbeques?  I don't know.

I wish them luck. Living in a fishbowl isn't easy.

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