Not So Happily Ever After: I’m Not Envious of Princess Kate

With the news that Princess Kate (officially known as the Duchess of Cambridge) is pregnant, I am reminded again how glad I am that my childhood dream of marrying a genuine prince didn’t came true.

I know I wasn’t the only little girl who was convinced that my inner beauty would one day shine through in the form of flawless skin, lash-heavy, sparkling eyes, a petite, hourglass figure, full and flowing locks of hair, etc., etc., etc., and that I was destined for greatness in the form of marriage to a kind and handsome prince. In the abridged version, I would grow up to look exactly like Sleeping Beauty (who I thought she was the prettiest of the Disney princesses), and I would leave my boring homework- and chore-ridden life and my tyrannical parents to live happily ever after in a beautiful castle.

I don’t think I was very clear about what “happily ever after” would entail, except that I would not be required to do any homework, or go to school, or wash dishes, straighten up, or do anything else I didn’t want to do. I guess my “happily ever after” would have involved lots of music classes, dancing, fancy dresses, reading whatever books I wanted to read, watching whatever movies or TV shows I wanted to watch, spending time with my princess friends, and gazing adoringly into my prince’s eyes. Pregnancy and childbirth really didn’t figure in to it, except as an occasional after thought.

I was four-years-old when Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married. To my young brain, that wedding seemed just like the wedding at the end of Disney’s Cinderella! It was such a beautiful fairytale; entirely too good to be true, as it turned out.

As I got older, and as more of the sad details of Princess Diana’s life came to light, I began to realize how unhappy the life of a real princess could be. And now that I’ve experienced my own teenage romances, marriage, pregnancy, and early motherhood, I cringe at the thought of going through any of that messiness—the sad parts or the happy parts—on the world stage.

I hate to say this, but I predict that next year we’ll be reading a lot about Princess Kate’s failings as a mother, regardless of what choices she makes. I hope she’s able to brush it off, and I hope she’s able to find some peace and some privacy in her “ever after.” Meanwhile, I’ll continue to enjoy living in obscurity, finding solace in the fact that neither my ordinary looks nor my lack of skill in cajoling woodland creatures to clean my house will bring unwanted attention to myself or to my family.

Guest contributor Eileen Youens teaches and advises local governments and government contractors about public contracting, public construction, and conflicts of interest. She also puts her litigation training to good use in negotiating with her three-year-old daughter. Eileen tweets at @eyouens and blogs at youensconsulting.com.

Image via iStockphoto/Merve Karahan

  • emily

    in college, we had a tendency to call certain girls on campus “birds.” not that 1950s slang for pretty women, exactly, but because they looked like Disney princesses who would get dressed in the morning, their hair ribbons tied just so by helpful sparrows and finches she could summon just with her sing-songy voice.

    i’m, uh, pretty happy i wasn’t a bird.

leonard Nimoy Full Body Project
You’ll Remember Leonard Nimoy As Spock. I’ll Remember Him As a ‘Love Your Body’ Activist For Women
john-legend-and-common-selma
The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed
749606510_4f7d9c174c
Kim Gordon and I Should Have Drinks And Talk About Men
Jessica Williams, The Daily Show, Imposter Syndrome
Jessica Williams Isn’t Ours to Diagnose
john-legend-and-common-selma
The Incredible Oscar Moment Almost Everyone Missed
Jessica Williams, The Daily Show, Imposter Syndrome
Jessica Williams Isn’t Ours to Diagnose
Hillary Clinton thin resume, Hillary Clinton too dangerous, Hillary Clinton not qualified for president
Hillary Clinton is Dangerous and Her Resume is Too “Thin?”
Black History Month, Selma, Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta King
“Selma” Forgot One Important Story: Coretta Scott King’s
Hillary Clinton thin resume, Hillary Clinton too dangerous, Hillary Clinton not qualified for president
Hillary Clinton is Dangerous and Her Resume is Too “Thin?”
hillary_david_axelrod
12 Pieces of Advice for Hillary Clinton That Aren’t From a Man
Phillly paid sick days
Hey, Philadelphia! Guess Who’s Getting Paid Sick Days?!
Presidents' Day, when will a woman be president
Presidents’ Day: Time for a Woman in the White House
alizagraying_edited-1
I Am Not My Gray Hair. My Hair Is Not Me.
1CHRISTMASCARD
Things I Did Instead of Send This Christmas Card
New England weather, severe weather and depression, The Shining
It’s Getting All ‘The Shining’ Up In Here
4717207794_7d91f82bb3_b1
My 18 Year Old Daughter Is In Jail And I’m Second Guessing Every Choice I Made
alizagraying_edited-1
I Am Not My Gray Hair. My Hair Is Not Me.
4717207794_7d91f82bb3_b1
My 18 Year Old Daughter Is In Jail And I’m Second Guessing Every Choice I Made
Alzheimer's, medical care for Alzheimer's patients, end of life care
This Is How You Die
reinvention culture, Oprah and reinvention, More Magazine and reinvention, women stop reinventing yourselves
Reinvention Culture is Killing Me
Vintage_Valentine_02
Cupid’s Weekend Cocktails: It Takes Two
hating valentine's day, valentine's day
Dear Valentine’s Day: I Hate You
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades of Grey: I Have Other Fanatasies

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread