Last Wednesday, 28 November 2012, a 15-year-old student from Cambridge stood in front of members of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, five hundred of her peers and representatives from the World press and proudly declared that she is a lesbian, whilst doing the 'rock' sign.
This bold statement demonstrates not only how far the Royals have come in terms of their perceived accessibility, but was also a tribute to the confidence and bravery of the young woman in question. It was a moment in history I felt privileged to have watched.
Of course, you won't have read or heard about this anywhere in the press coverage of the event the next day, for our media were FAR too concerned with speculating on Princess Catherine's ever-so-slightly different haircut. What could her newly cut fringe be hiding, they wondered? A spot? A wrinkle? A pregnancy? And on and on they blithered - WHEN will the Royal couple produce their heir? Are they shagging ARE THEY?
This sort of twee nonsense isn't just irritating, it's disrespectful to the Duke and Duchess and the caring, intelligent people I found them to be when I met them two days ago, as well as all the people who shared their stories in a candid performance at The Manor School thereafter.
Over the past few months, I have been working with teenagers at The Manor to write, rehearse and perform two spoken pieces which would represent them, their lives and their city. Many of these young people are from challenging backgrounds. Their school is in one of Cambridge's rare less affluent areas. The Princess reportedly requested specifically that their mandatory school visit on Wednesday not be to one of the city's many private institutions and that they got a glimpse of something less privileged.
The student's pieces touched on the issues which permeate their lives. Worries about bullies both within and outside the school gates. Concerns about weight and body image. Questioning prevailing social values which deify celebrities. Most of all, however, they expressed gratitude that someone had asked them their opinion. The final line was "I can make a difference and I will do this. I just have to be me".
William and Kate were enraptured, drinking in their every word. Afterwards I went backstage to congratulate the group on their performance. Some were elated and dancing around the room in their Body Gossip t-shirts. Others were in floods of tears. All agreed it was the single greatest moment of their life to date.
As I scoured the evening news and next day's headlines my heart sank. Some blithering idiot had presented William with a baby-gro outside a shopping centre. Two precious minutes of airtime were dedicated to this hormonal moron issuing a statement which essentially amounted to "he wasn't so overwhelmed by my gift that he forgot himself entirely and gave me an exclusive as to when they think Kate might be up the duff". But lo! Nevermind, for until such time as we have an update on the contents of the Princess' womb, there is her hair to examine, endlessly.
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