New feature: Princess Kate’s reality TV wedding

// 17 April 2011

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Royal wedding fever has overtaken the nation – or at least, it has overtaken the nation’s tabloids. Ray Filar considers the implications

“It would be extremely unwise of anyone to try and spoil a happy day of national celebration.” – Boris Johnson, feminist icon

Once upon a time, in the far away land of Berkshire, a beautiful little girl called Catherine was born to the nouveau riche Middleton family. As she grew older, she would sit by a wishing well, singing daintily to the mysteriously sentient birds that clustered there. It is said that proletarian residents of the Middletons’ village would hear strains of ‘Someday my prince will come’ floating over the wall of the house where little Kate was confined. Very shortly after Kate began singing about wanting a prince to rescue her from her debilitating solitude, he appeared. Aside from a few minor dwarf-oriented subplots, they were soon conjoined in holiest matrimony and lived happily ever after.

Disney Princess.jpgWait, now I come to think about it, that might be the basic plot of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released in 1937. Nowadays, Disney heroines are very slightly less a misogynist’s wet dream, but you could be forgiven, after reading much of the media coverage of the forthcoming royal wedding, for thinking 1937 has come again (hopefully much like Snow White’s prince. And Snow White, obviously. I do hope that they both managed to come regularly during their happily married lives.)

Fictional characters’ orgasm frequencies aside, the media build up to the royal wedding has slowly but surely lubricated the royalists’ clunky marketing machine, as a result of which Kate Middleton, a rich and privileged but otherwise normal person, is re-branded as the central figure in an odd sort of fairy parable. Allusions to this archetypal story in which a peasant woman marries a prince and becomes a princess buttress the lurid media coverage. The objectionable assumption is that the archetype still has the power or relevance to transfix the nation’s imagination.

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