When the song 'Royals' was a big hit earlier this year, it was easy to imagine the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge singing the chorus with a large dose of irony. Following the grandiose pomp of their wedding in Westminster Abbey, it appeared that Prince William and Kate Middleton had decided they wanted their lives to be low key and ordinary. This begs the question: is it possible to be Royal and ordinary? Can these contradictory elements ever be reconciled or should the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embrace their exceptional circumstances?
Days after walking down the aisle in the splendid surrounds of the Abbey, 'Kate' was seen in the aisles of a supermarket pushing a trolley. Kate has followed this course of trying to be ordinary, by sourcing her clothes from high street fashion brands, causing websites to crash with consumers clamouring for the same outfit or dress.
The Duchess's photogenic looks and beautiful long hair is a proven fashion hit and has certainly added some glamour to the Royal family. There have been some dissenting voices, with the author Hilary Mantel likening her to a 'shop-window mannequin' and academic Mary Beard suggesting she is a 'prisoner' of her public image. However, William and Kate's approachable style has so far seen their popularity soar and they are viewed as successfully modernizing the royals.
Still, some cracks in the public image are beginning to appear and the love affair between the British public and the Royal couple has suffered a few setbacks. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have come under a lot of criticism recently for the small amount of Royal engagements that they have undertaken and they certainly haven't done themselves any favours by jetting off on exotic holidays without George. In July last year, the Royal couple stated that they wanted a hands-on approach to bringing up George; less than a year later, it's 'look no hands' and they've appointed a top nanny.
Over the years, the Royals have struggled to find their position in the modern media obsessed world (anyone remember "It's a Royal Knockout"). The only Royals who seemed to be able to find the balance between being Royal and have the common touch, were the Queen Mother, and Diana, the Princess of Wales. Unfortunately, with the loss of significant power, the Royal family has had to continually justify their existence; so ensuring that they garner positive public relations has become the main focus. So what course of action should William and Kate take next? They need to accept the fact that they are extraordinary. Their tour of New Zealand and Australia is a huge media affair and it is time for them to embrace being Royal.
For Kate this means ditching the short skirts, which have an embarrassing tendency to catch the wind à la Marilyn Monroe, and adopting a more sober wardrobe befitting of a future Queen. Although one fashion blog has started a campaign to Free the Kate Middleton Knees in response to this more regal style; Diana, the Princess of Wales never wore high-street fashion, choosing to wear British couturiers like Belville Sassoon, the Emanuels and Catherine Walker. They made Diana into a Royal star, creating clothes for her that were 'dignified show-stoppers'.
Kate is no ordinary young woman, she is the Duchess of Cambridge, a future Queen; let's bring on the glamorous 'show-stoppers' and maybe an updo for a change, although full marks for the pony-tail by the way!