Are royals good role models?
I’ve spent the past hour reading about Kate Middleton and it’s numbing my brain.
The truth is, I really don’t have much interest in her. But, here I am, educating myself with such facts as:
– William and Kate are 12th cousins once removed.
– She enjoys tennis.
– She once worked as a part-time accessories buyer for the fashion chain Jigsaw.
– Her parents are multi-millionaires as a result of founding a highly successful mail-order party goods company.
And so on, and so forth.
It’s the somewhat uninspiring story of a privileged girl who mixed in the same upper class circles as a prince. They then fell in love and got married.
So, why am I reading about the now Duchess of Cambridge?
Last night, I posted a link on my Facebook page to a blog post written by someone who says Kate Middleton is no role model for her daughter.
The original post received a lot of comments – many from outraged royalists who view criticism of Kate as akin to blasphemy.
One person on my Facebook page commented that it was “a shallow piece of writing with no regard for Catherine as a person or the work she does.”
I think, though, that perhaps that is precisely the point.
Who knows anything about the ‘real’ Kate? The duchess we see in the media is someone who rarely speaks, often walks two steps behind her husband, and… well… looks beautiful.
The broader public really has no idea who Kate is as a person or even what work she does.
So, what are we basing our opinions on when we and our children decide to look up to her… to aspire to be like her… to want to be a princess?
Her current role, which is a blur between professional and personal, is one that was achieved not through any identifiable talent. She is the Duchess of Cambridge because she married Prince William.
She may be a lovely person, she may be well-mannered, she may be a wonderful mother, she may be intelligent, she may be secretly talented at something amazing. But, we don’t know that.
The fact is, millions would love the life of Kate Middleton because she married well, she is extremely wealthy, and she is beautiful.
If my children were to choose role models with high profiles, I’d prefer for them to look for those whose accomplishments are the result of old-fashioned skill or real hard work. Not luck, social privilege, or marriage.
When Kate appears on your TV screen tonight shaking the hand of a child in hospital, take a look in the background at the doctors and nurses wearing themselves thin, the scientists searching for a cure, the parents continuing to smile while living with the heartache of knowing they could lose their babies… those are the people who will earn my admiration.