A couple of months ago (June, 25th) Suzy Menkes published an article on Vogue.co.uk about how in today’s world, we fixate more on the fashion (and all that includes) and diets of the European Princesses and Queens. Her reasoning? Well, to my eyes leaves a lot to be desired:
I blame Diana – although it is about her legacy, not her fault. The Princess of Wales did so much good work, from campaigning for treatment for AIDS, through the removal of mines, to helping children with leukemia, yet she was defined more by her charismatic persona than by her deeds. And especially by the way she looked and dressed.
Diana, aristocratic, poorly educated and needy for love and support, was smart enough to use her clothes as a message board. The transformation of “Shy Di” into a young mother, a scorned wife, a confident divorcée and ultimately a superstar was deliberately played out in her appearance.
Firstly, the Diana who married the heir to the British Throne, was barely out her teen years. Suzy fails to notice that a 19 year old is not the same person who was at 30. Diana basically grew up in front of the public and yes, she was shy because no matter how much attention she might have gotten from her loved ones, it is not the same as getting world wide attention. Becoming a mother certainty changed her perspective on thing, it wasn’t about herself anymore. Diana’s own words on not leaving are “I have my children.” At the point of the famous Versace black dress, yes, it was pure publicity, showing a big “Look at what you lost” towards Charles the very same day he admitted to having had an affair.
Now, moving onto some other Princesses/Queens:
Letizia, visiting the Prado Museum in Madrid this week, in her first official role as Queen, looked super-slender. But seeing her in real life, as with Queen Rania of Jordan, is to view tiny little birds, dieted down to a silhouette made for TV.
It seems a sad shame that in this day and age, Miss Menkes can’t seem to google beyond a certain timeline. I have followed Letizia from her marriage announcement to this day, and let me tell you, she hasn’t lost nor gained too much. Letizia has always been slender, I remember her struggling to walk in her wedding dress, which seemed to swallow her whole. Rania has always maintained a slender figure too.
All the current young royals – Mary of Denmark, Mette-Marit of Norway or the newly crowned Queen Máxima of the Netherlands – are slim and trim to different degrees.
Again, miss Menkes should google Mary Donaldson. Why her, you ask? Simple, because it is her who has truly gone a massive weight loss. She wasn’t fat, not by any stretch, but she certainly had a fuller figure back then and she also had a tan (worth nothing that a famed Danish spa owner spoke about Mary using his face bleaching creams). Mette-Marit, Máxima and Mathilde aren’t willowy, they’re more on the curvy but slender side of things.
Some of the blame for the focus on clothes, rather than deeds, must lie with ourselves – fashion editors who are quick to criticise, egged on by a blogosphere of shrill, smartphone critics.
Yes indeed, some blame must also fall on the culture of today as a whole. When we live on an era of models who are so thin you can count their ribs or see protruding bones, when celebrities (women mostly) are blasted to the seven hells when they dare to gain a pound; when we have the same celebrities later on magazine covers proudly proclaiming they lost X amount of pounds, when we are constantly bombarded with weight loss shows, pills, diet programs; when bigger sized clothing leaves much, oh so much to be desired, I say it’s due time we have to check our priorities and realize that a woman (and men) are worth more than what they wear and how much they weight.
Yet that is not enough in a world of selfies and Instagram. Once she has produced a child, a princess feels that she has to wave a magic wand to recover after pregnancy her former silhouette – just like the Hollywood stars. Staying skinny for the camera has become an obsession.
See my small rant above.
Gossip has claimed that Letizia is anorexic. And her present light-as-a-bird look is very different from the powerful television presenter Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano before her marriage in 2004.
Letizia has alway been thin, just do remember that she had the chance to cover more skin because, well, she was a news reporter for heaven’s sake. The only time I have truly been worried about Letizia was during the sad loss of her sister, the loss of a loved one and the pressures from both public and press seem to almost defeat her.
“It’s the first generation for everyone,” she says. “It’s the first time magazines only talk about ‘It’ bags. That Cannes is all about the red carpet. These girls are like coathangers with diamonds in their ears.”
Pringle, who made the magazine more intelligent and more political than a traditional royalty publication, saw Carla Bruni morph from being France’s First Lady to a walking advertisement for Bulgari jewels. Colombe even admits that Kate Middleton’s mane of hair looks to her more like an advertisement for Head & Shoulders shampoo than a royal ‘do.
Please remind me, wasn’t Carla Bruni a model & singer to begin with? So, the woman stalled her career for a while and has apparently now re-started it and people act surprised. And let’s be honest, the reason why people talk about Kate’s hair, fashion and jewels is because one simple reason, she doesn’t work enough. Now that they have announced she’s expecting her second child, I am afraid the story is already repeating itself and we’re not going to see her much.
Ah, but you don’t get this stories about the Queen, Princess Anne, Sophie Wessex or the Duchess of Gloucester do you? Of course not, because they are hard working people and we see them so often that we’re just glad they’re working. On a personal note, I love that Sophie is becoming a fashion powerhouse, you show them girl.
Remind me again, how many times has Kate visited her charities that didn’t include some sort of fashion? She has barely met them but has no problem in getting all dressed up for giving sports awards or a dinner.
And let’s us not kid ourselves, the reason why we (nor the people in the UK it seems) hears about the other royals is because they don’t write about them. I a royal watcher, have to make sure I google the royals I follow to make sure I haven’t missed it. So, let us not pretend that people are going to magically know about the causes the royals champion if no one writes about them.
And we’ll never hear about them, specially if the ones writing the articles do focus more on the fashion than the charity at hand. A sad but true state of affairs nowadays.
Does that mean that a new group of little girls will grow up to be confident princess royals and ultimately queens known for what they do – not how they look?
We can only hope the people writing the articles will care about the causes they champion instead of their waist lines. I hope.