....and the baby Cambridges. Really. Did you see the Royal Variety Show? Why did this year's show seem so, I don't know, different? It wasn't just Bette Midler, the Divine Miss M. reviving the Sixties, Dame Shirley Bassey (how does she do it?), One Direction's hit song or the Amazing Man with the Pole, nor was it just Michael McIntyre, who always makes the truly ordinary situations in life seem so hilarious (he really packs them in to his venues, doesn't he?)
It had a lot to do with the cleverness of the host finding that delicate balance between addressing the Royals and not addressing the Royals, knowing someone very significant is watching and listening, but pretending, too, that they are not really there. He solved this dilemma simply by just talking to the Royal Box from his place at centre stage, like they were Real People. He asked them (rhetorical) questions; he looked at them and included them in his jokes. McIntyre was both personal and suitably respectful. A masterful stroke which was oh so natural,and funny.
But the difference really had much to do with the particular Royals who were seated in that Box. They were so natural too. When you're the future King and Queen of England, when do you laugh and when do you not? How stern is too stern and how much laughter is too much laughter? Do you guffaw or do you giggle? Think of all the possibilities: throw your head back uproariously, slap your thigh with downright hilarity, or titter behind a gloved hand? And so forth
The Cambridges solved this very simply by doing what they always do best: they act natural, look happy, beautiful and in love. And the Duchess's laugh was both genuine and lovely. We looked at each other whilst watching: how does she do that? Just lights up the place. As India Knight wrote this weekend in the Sunday Times, "It's what we, the exhausted public want...."
And need. As I write, innocent shoppers are being held hostage in the civilized town centre of Sydney. Can anyone feel unequivocal joy in the run-up to Christmas re the state of the world this December 2014? And yet, as Jon Stewart on The Daily Show commented on the Royal's visit in New York last week, in his inimitable way of combining humour with despair, "They are pretty, they are shiny, and they are more fun to look at than the shame that lives inside us all".
I know that Baby George is well-fed, privileged, and wealthy, but he is a beautiful baby, born of a charming couple whose role is to represent the country and the Commonwealth. And don't they do this well and isn't Princess Catherine a gift? Even the "eye-rolling", like her laughter in the Royal Box, was perfectly appropriate, not scandalous.
Hardly a "negative reaction" to a somewhat unexpected instruction for her to "keep wrapping", rather, I interpreted it as how sharp she is in seeing the humour in everything. That, too, was charming.
Why does it make us happy just to look at no-drama Kate? It's not just the magnificent mane, the perfectly tailored clothing on a to-die-for slim and fit figure, and the stunning and genuine smile, but I believe something else that money and breeding can't always buy. The Duchess of Cambridge has a unique inner radiance that exudes a niceness and a settled integration of self that is so rare in the world today. Whether she be royal or not, we really must applaud these qualities and what she has brought to the Royal Family, the nation and the world which, by the way,is in sore need of some good cheer on the front page.
If I was LeBron James, I probably would have wanted to put my arm around the princess too. Or not. I don't believe she minded; maybe a bit shocked because it doesn't happen often.
Again, it's the media that makes the fuss, not the Royals themselves. So I hope the world will give them a break. They're not lauding it over anybody, nor would you ever hear a Cambridge say, as some celebrities have been known to, "Do you know who I am?" And if their loveliness is due to being "boring", really? Then give me some more "boring" to counter our high-drama, high-octane lives.
Commendations are due to the equally affable future King of England, the Duke of Cambridge, a credit to his parents and especially his mother who wanted him to be in touch with "normal". You want to applaud Wills for choosing so well (Kate, that is) and shining forth as he has through difficult times, to become a significant and most likeable and kindly figure on the world stage. God Save the Gracious Cambridges. I'll take an untroubled princess and a happy family anytime. Then, back to Homeland.