Princesses at playSunday, 3 June 2012
I assume it’s quite common for us commoners to be slightly obsessed with royalty in the early years of our lives. I was quite convinced, for an embarrassingly long time, that marrying Prince William was not only a possibility, but also a definite probability, once I had overcome the hurdle of the two of us being introduced. I was quietly confident that this was my destiny. I was not only the girl-next-door-downunder princess-in-waiting that William was waiting for, I was also the breath of fresh colonial air the Monarchy so desperately needed. Needless to say, I did move on. And I’m really happy for Kate. Honestly!
My daughters, aged nearly-five and nearly-three, were in full swing of some imaginary play session the other day when I overheard nearly-five direct her younger sister, “I’m Cinderella, and you’re the ugly step-sister”. Readying myself for intervention at the inevitable fall-out from such a suggestion I was surprised to hear nearly-three retort – “No I’m not, I’m Shrek!”
We’re particularly fond of the Shrek series in our house. For the comedy on multiple levels providing the whole family with a giggle, but more importantly for the way the characters flip traditional fairytale roles on their heads. Princess Fiona opts for green and “curvy” over princess perfect, and true love is not as simple as happily ever after, but more realistically reflected in the domestic highs and lows of swamp co-habitation.
I love watching my girls lost at play in their imaginary world, where royalty is a right of childhood and all are heir to the throne, so long as they take turns and share nicely.
They raid the dress-up box, layer upon layer of frill, tulle, and sparkle. They negotiate who gets to wear which tiara and off they go – invincible and untouchable. They are princesses – significant and important, and anything is possible. It’s an attitude I hope they carry with them - in part, at least. And if its an attitude heavliy influence by an animated Princess Fiona, even better - the world needs more women prepared to kick down walls and accept themselves for who they are.
My girls probably won’t ever be official members of the royal family (never say never, if Kate Middleton has taught anything), but I do hope the childhood habit of dreaming big and beautiful does not get left behind with the discarded dress-ups as life moves on. Their “princess play” exudes confidence, imagination, optimism, and passion for life – largely thanks, I suspect, to a pair of romantic green ogres.