Marry a prince? Is that really the best girls can hope for?

April 25, 2011

When I was growing up I wanted to marry Han Solo. Then Adam Ant. And briefly, Bruce Willis from Moonlighting.

Strangely, it never occurred to me that I could marry a prince – nor, indeed did I want to. Yes, I may act like a princess sometimes *cough*. And let’s face it, there wasn’t much to choose from anyway as far as eligible royal bachelors went when I was growing up. Charles, Andrew or Prince Albert from Monaco? Do me a favour.

But I can honestly say I never envied Diana, or Fergie, or wished I could be them. I liked Diana’s hair (I even had a Diana flick), but I didn’t want to swap places with her.

I wanted to have a career, and income, of my own.

And yet the impending Royal Wedding seems to have sent the media into a time warp. Last night there was a ridiculous programme on Sky Living called ‘How to nab a prince.’ I’m not making this up.

It was tongue-in-cheek (I think, I hope) but at the same time I have no doubt that some girls, like Kate and Diana, do dream of marrying a prince.

It’s hardly surprising, I guess, when you have dinosaurs like Simon Murray suggesting that women like bringing up children more than the boardroom. If that’s the kind of attitude still prevalent in many industries then the glass ceilings will never be smashed.

I’m not knocking anyone who decides that having a family is more important to them than a career. But it’s about choice.

My mum and her friends marched so that their daughters and granddaughters could have the freedom to make the most of everything life had to offer.

It would be such a shame if we’ve come full circle.

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  • Monika April 30, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Never wanted to marry a Prince or anyone famous in fact. I did want to have a career and a family. I was dead certain that I would never be a SAHM, a kept woman. Thatis until I was given the “choice” by my employer that I could work 5 days a week or 5 days a week. With my commute that would’ve meant I saw my daughter in her sleep in the morning and evening and then on the weekends. Leaving other people to raise my child. … so I reluctantly chose to put the career on hold. Not an easy choice by any means! I’d love the boardroom, but not at the cost of not seeing my children grow up. … and there is just not enough flexibility in employers to want to keep this huge talent pool that dibbles out of the workforce constantly. It’s a pity! We SAHMs are capable of so much more. (But now I rather stay at home than go back, giving my soul to an employer for a starter salary pro rata-ed!) Have we come full circle?
    I would suggest that no- we have achieved that women are expected to fit into the man’s world. Taking on all the rules they play by and then having to fulfil our traditional roles (motherhood, housekepper, cook, etc.) to lesser, but mostly greater degree as well.
    So I would suggest there is a long way to go till we can actually go full circle. That time will come when there is full equality in the workplace, properly shared responsibilities between men and women of childrearing, housework. Utopian you may say! But that is when women will have a realistic choice: marry the prince (or the pauper) and stay at home, or have a career or have both.

  • Chrissie April 30, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Our grandmothers marched so we could have choice. The freedom to be what we want to be whether that was raising children, aiming for the boardroom or simply drifting along with whatever life throws at us.

    My ambitions have always been career focussed but for a very brief period when I had my children, I seriously envied those mums who were able to stay at home and devote themselves to their families – it seemed so natural even if it wasn’t the path for me.

    Is it wrong to aim for this? No, how boring would life be if we all shared the same aspirations? I pity more those who have no idea of what they’d like to do rather than those who follow a dream, whatever that dream may be.

  • Kitty April 30, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I really think that people are just wishing to marry a prince like in all the movie cinderella and stuff because it looks so romantic. It’s just a wish- not anything to serious I think. It’s just one of those things little girls sometimes dream of. I really don’t think it’s a show of wanting fame or money. It’s just the thought of being cinderella or like those girls in those movies and seriously I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s just a dream.

  • Jennifer Howze April 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Everybody I know agrees that being royalty these days is a burden. There is loads of dosh and property portfolios, but there are so many strictures on how you can live your life and you absolutely can’t be seen to be having too good of a time. Much better to be a Russian billionaire with no constituency.

    Anyone who envies Kate Middleton doesn’t have true picture of the responsibilities and rules that come with being a modern-day British princess. She can’t have a “regular” career and ever cut loose.

    It’s pathetic the way some media outlets simper about all women wanting to snag a prince.

    By the way, Liz, I’m afraid that Adam Ant thing was never going to work out, since he’s obviously in love with me. Or he will. When we finally meet.

  • spencer April 26, 2011 at 9:05 am

    love the post. I do not personally know anyone who wants to marry a prince or footballer or other celebrity (or at least they do not admit). Hopefully that will be enough to keep my daughter aspiring to greater things than wanting to be from marrying fame/money…time will tell

  • MellyBentley April 26, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I had a rant about this the other day. My sister in-law got very defensive. I hit the nail on the head I think.

    I wanted to be a Graphic Designer, work for myself, buy my own house, have my own money.

    Could this be the difference between daughers of the Thacher period & the daughters of Blair’s?

    I am in no way a fan of Thacher, but I remember growing up believing that I could be anything I wanted to be. Especially if we had a woman PM.

    These girls seem to be missing out on a lot these days. Even Jordan is an independant business woman. Again, not a fan of her either.

    Great post, thank you.

  • Kathleen April 26, 2011 at 8:24 am

    I wanted to marry Matthew Pinsent. Must be the Olympic champion thing. I thought he was just lovely. But very safe

  • nazima April 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I was more of a Luke Skywalker girl… maybe that says something about our personalities! Seriously though it is worrying that fame and marrying a rich man (prince or footballer) is one of the highest ambitions of teenage girls today…

  • Liz April 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I wanted to marry David Addison from Moonlighting *sigh* I think I still do!

  • mum of all trades April 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I suppose its a step up from the ‘wanting to marry a footballer’!!