The Tizzy Over What To Call Kate Middleton


Despite a complete lack of control over the situation, many people are getting weirdly atwitter over whether or not Kate Middleton will score the bona fide “princess” title. And if they’re not concerned with that, it’s the “commoner” thing.

First of all, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, because the Queen bestows the title. And anyway, there’s all kinds of royal precedent for this stuff, it will shock no one to know. Traditionally speaking, she’d be “Princess William” and then become Catherine, Princess of Wales on Charles’ ascension. But supposedly Wills has called in a favor and asked that she be made “Princess Catherine.” In any case, apparently you have some leeway once you get the title, anyway, because Camilla’s opted to go by “Duchess of Cornwall” even though in fact she’s the Princess of Wales. Got that? The upshot is, the queen will do what she wants and the press will probably call her “Princess Kate,” anyway, because that sounds a lot more fairytale-ish and goddammit, people want their fairytale!

The bigger issue, says the Washington Post, is Kate being referred to as a “commoner,” even though technically, not being royal, that’s what she is.

“It’s quite depressing, this word, like we’re going back to a 19th-century theme-park Britain, to an age of deference to the monarchy,” said Evening Standard columnist Richard Godwin, who penned a piece about the term. “But most of all, you look at Kate’s background, and you see there is nothing common about her.”

Oh, but hang on, other people object to the term because it implies Kate’s down-to-Earth when in fact,

“If you look closely, Kate Middleton is no commoner,” commentator Janet Street Porter said in a BBC spot. “She went to [private] school, then to posh university and has been photographed in swanky nightclubs where drinks cost 20 pounds a pop . . . Normal? Not really.”

Well, I have a suggestion for everyone who’s offended by any aspect of this debate. If you don’t like archaic class distinctions and musty protocol, why don’t you stop focusing on the royal family? It seems a bit rich to obsess over a living anachronism, delight in the pageantry of the wedding, and then get upset when — hello! — it’s not exactly in step with contemporary populist mores. If you’re looking for heartbreak, waiting for modern equality with royals is as reliable a course as rooting for the Mets. The real republicans are ignoring the whole thing anyway. And the Cinderella set just want another Princess.

Hers Is No Common Story [Washington Post]
‘Princess Catherine’? Queen Considers Unprecedented Title [Huffington Post]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin