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

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.

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