What little girl doesn’t love princesses?
When I was little, I resented the fact that I wasn’t born one or two hundred years earlier so I could live in a luxurious castle and wear giant frocks.
(Granted, I didn’t realize that I would have had to wear a corset, potty in an outhouse, brush my teeth with wood, and marry some old git to help my family’s reputation or whatever. Which would have really sucked, by the way.)
I used to dress up in old dresses and prance around making decrees to my loyal stuffed subjects. I pictured myself riding in horse-drawn carriages and dancing the day away.
So, when the opportunity to see a real princess presented itself on our next trip to Shetland, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t wait to see Princess Anne, Prince Charles’s sister and the Queen’s only daughter.
At the age of eight (ish), the image of the princess had been well-developed in my head, thanks to Disney’s Belle, Cinderella, and Aurora. I just knew that when Princess Anne stepped out of her horse-drawn carriage to greet the loyal subjects of Shetland, she would be wearing the most gorgeous, flowing ballgown. She would wave to the adoring public with her tiara perched on her glossy updo.
Well, I can’t even tell you the disillusionment that befell me when I finally saw the much-anticipated real, live princess.
She arrived in a town car. On her head there was no tiara, but instead a huge hat. Her dress? A fitted dress like one would wear at a high-profile office.
I honestly can’t remember what happened because all I remember thinking is, “where is Princess Anne and who is this lady in the hat?” When I learned that they were the same person, I was crushed. My princess fantasies had been deflated to nothing more than a lady in a dressy suit in a Rolls Royce (which, at that age I didn’t even know were fancy).
It was one of those defining moments where a little piece of your childhood is chipped away and you become slightly less innocent than you were, like learning the (horrible) truth about Santa Claus.
What a let down.
This didn’t mean I stopped wearing the dresses my mom made or wearing a tiara. Nor did I stop loving Belle in her yellow gown or still kind of wishing I’d been in the court of some past King or Queen. But deep inside, I knew the truth. I realized that maybe things aren’t always what they seemed.
I have to admit though, it definitely sounded cool to tell my friends that I saw a real princess, even if I had to skew the details a bit.