Kate Middleton & the Trouble with Fairytales

Originally posted at Female Impersonator

I just finished reading this article, the upshot of which was that

…there are certain undeniable truths about the sacrifices this young woman [Kate Middleton] has already made for her upcoming nuptials in addition to her career in fashion (Kate shortly worked for the British clothing brand, Jigsaw), and her photography (Kate had planned an exhibition she ended up not showing). As Cochrane states, “What’s deeply dangerous about Kate for the monarchy, is that she looks as purposeless as the rest of them.”

In many ways, Middleton has already failed to use her entry into this family as an opportunity to make them more modern. Instead she has convinced the Queen that she will not been reaping havoc and causing scandals galore like Diana, making herself much easier to “manage” (read: control). Kate is more willing to adjust to the royal family’s ways than have them adjust to her, and in the process allowing the monarchy to remain unchanged when what it so desperately needs is to change.

All this being said, Kate clearly loves William and maybe at the end of the day, she is doing all this for love. But something about that doesn’t sit too well with me. Perhaps it’s the whole fairtytale factor thing.

Or maybe, just maybe, Kate Middleton has bigger plans than any one of us could imagine. I mean, Queen Elizabeth is not getting any younger, and guess who happens to be waiting in the wings to be Queen? Perhaps that was the ambition of “Waity Katey”, as the British press famously dubbed Middleton, all along.

Maybe Ms. Middleton will get to have her fairytale, the last laugh, and show us all how it’s done- as Queen of England.

Thoughts? Does Kate Middleton represent a new, more feminist version of women in the English royal family? Is it even fair to use her as a starting point from which to discuss the role of fairytale and marriage in modern society given her exceptional circumstances?

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/secondaura/ Laura

    No I don’t see that she represents feminism at all. I don’t personally even see it as a fairytale wedding and I certainly don’t see what her exceptional circumstances would be.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    She gave up an exhibition of her own creative work (in photography) just to marry a prince?!? Someone’s gonna really have to go to lengths to explain to me how this contains an iota of feminism. Maybe she has some great big plan for the future, but all I can say now is it’s on her to prove me wrong.

    Has her work even been seen by anyone? Is it any good? I admit I know nothing about either of them due to the fact that I just didn’t really care about this until I saw it on here.

    • pdxhopeful

      I don’t think what she’s done is a shining example of feminism, but I do see her as an advance over where Diana was when she married Charles.

      First, she and William have been together (albeit on and off at times) for quite a few years now. Only time can tell how their marriage will ultimately go, but their relationship has already survived a fair amount of testing. There’s been no talk of her having to ‘prove’ she’s a virgin bride. I think both she and the relationship are more mature, and she knows better what she’s getting into than Diana did. Similarly, considering their status, she and William have been leading a pretty down-to-earth life. It may not be feminist, but it does seem more genuine.

  • http://feministing.com/members/toryfeminist/ Victoria

    Laura and Jenny- I think I agree that Kate Middleton should in no way be seen as an example of modern feminism. However….

    pdx- I DO think that this represents a more progressive move for the royal family. Kate is the first future princess to hold an advanced degree and is a “commoner,” which makes me hopeful for the future of princesses, even if this particular marriage seems far from feminist.

  • http://feministing.com/members/secondaura/ Laura

    I think the fact that she has a degree is just a sign of the times to be honest – more people, and a lot more women are able to attend University these days and it is totally acceptable for that to be the case, whereas 50 years ago it wasn’t. This isn’t anything to do with Kate specifically, but society moving away from the ‘Only men to be educated and women in the kitchen’ thing.

    Also – she is not a “commoner”. Far from it, she was born into a well-to-do wealthy family who are middle/upper class. I don’t think that argument either has any relevance to the feminist case.