It’s the tale as old as time: Long-suffering, über-patient girlfriend waits around forever, threatens to leave at prescribed intervals, boyfriend keeps her hanging on with intermittent promises that a ring is imminent.
The ending varies, of course, but more often than not in classic literature (and on “Jerry Springer”) he breaks the news to her via text that he’s eloped with a younger, thinner and more successful version of her, and she immediately goes bar hopping with her book club, ingests an unfortunate mixture of vodka and Vicodin and passes out in a cab before the clock strikes 8:30. Eventually she reads one too many articles in “O,” the Oprah magazine about the perils of not living her best life, gets a sperm donor, starts a blog, joins the local food co-op, and everyone lives happily ever after. You know, the typical Shakespeare (and Lifetime movie) plot.
For England’s Kate Middleton, otherwise known as Waity Katie, it turned out OK in the long (long) run, albeit a bit differently than for most, as she actually got engaged to a Prince Charming (although hers has significantly less hair than most others).
Because her story genuinely ended on a high note (that is, until her commoner parents receive the guest list for the wedding from her future grandmother-in-law), and for a few other reasons (not the least of which is the ring she waited around for seven years to snag has carats in the double digits), Kate is proving to be a trailblazer.
The happy couple met at university, making her the first college graduate in line to become queen. And given Prince William’s lineage, it’s actually appropriately modern (as opposed to necessarily desperate) that she went gray lingering for the proposal. Look at his parents, for example, who were essentially introduced by Yente and practically met for the first time on their wedding day, she with sheet in hand. Not only did the relationship spectacularly not work out, but Charles will unfortunately be forever remembered as The Tampon Prince.
Kate’s official engagement portrait was snapped by the same guy who’s in competition with Juggs for the most topless photos ever taken. And she had more retouching done to the photos than Barbara Walters has Vaseline and gauze on the lens of any camera ever pointed at her.
But it’s not all so contemporary. As princess, she’ll still have ladies-in-waiting (which is almost certainly code for “When you throw your bra on the floor at night, we’ll hand-wash it in Woolite, and we’ll also be here to ensure you remember to wipe off your zit cream in the morning before you run down to the Buckingham Palace Road Starbucks.” Either that or, “We guarantee you’ll never have to go to the movies alone, because you’ll need someone to watch your royal jacket when you sneak out to the concession stand for Jujubes”).
Presumably when they wed she’ll take the last name of her betrothed, which seems to be Prince (first name: The), although it could also be Wales, but that’s either where he’s from or where his father goes door to door to collect taxes from the commoners to pay the castle’s heating bills. No one really knows for sure. She could very well just go last-nameless, like some of America’s royalty: Madonna and Lindsay (although hopefully with more movement in her face and fewer stints in rehab, respectively).
And Kate might be the very first female in modern times over the age of 4 to be called “Princess” when it’s not meant pejoratively.
But it’s all good. When they’re making souvenir tea towels commemorating you – and you’re not the late Michael Jackson – that’s good news.
Sure, starting now she’ll never receive a new piece of jewelry (although presumably they’ll close the Crown Jewels to tourists when she wants to go shopping for something sparkly), and anything she chooses will be emblazoned with “If found, please return to the Wales family. That includes you, Catherine.”
And it doesn’t seem to bode well that Wills keeps talking about how he’s going to give his fiancée a chance to “settle in and see what happens on the other side,” as if there’s some kind of bait and switch planned for after they exchange rings, at which time they’ll let go of the palace staff and she’ll be handed the mop and toilet brush (sorry, the loo).
But in the long run, she’ll easily be much better off than being any American princess, such as Princess Leia (although she’s probably more intergalactic than American) or Snow White, who has some notable queen/mother issues.
Either way, best wishes to, all hail and long live the future queen!
More at meredithcarroll.com.