Disney has in recent weeks tried to use royal wedding hubbub to further stoke the princess craze that it has been cultivating among little girls for the past decade. In addition to the Royal Sleepover at Disney World last night , see for example Disney’s various directions for making your own Princess Kate paper doll , your own Princess Kate rose tiara, your own royal wedding cupcakes, and your own coat of arms; or its recent update to the Disney Princess Dress-Up app , which now includes 25 new royal wedding-themed outfits and accessories in which to dress Cinderella, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Jasmine, and Belle.
However, having spent the morning watching the royal wedding with the prime target audience for such efforts, a gaggle of 6-year-old, tiara-bedecked, would-be princesses (and a few would-be princes), I can attest that they are NOT terribly impressed by real world princes and princesses. As Olivia’s mother explained over scones, strawberries and clotted cream, and bubbly apple juice, Olivia is sure that she is secretly a princess, and so are lots of her friends. As a result, she doesn’t see why Kate Middleton is such a big deal. Even if Kate is a princess ( a complicated question , it turns out), so are lots of girls Olivia knows.
Olivia was particularly disappointed when, arriving at her friend Lucy’s house to celebrate the royal wedding this morning, she discovered that the wedding wasn’t actually happening at Lucy’s house, and that they would only be watching it on TV. Why get up early if you’re not actually going to be in the wedding or at least attend it, she asked with some logic.
Kate’s dress was nice enough, Olivia and Lucy allowed ("it’s really big" Olivia pointed out, noting the train) but it didn’t seem much more princess-worthy than other wedding dresses. Much more impressive were the princes, who actually looked like princes-Prince William in his red Irish Guard uniform and Prince Harry in his black Captain of the Household Cavalry get-up, abundantly draped with gold aiguillettes.
Curiously, the boys in attendance were far more interested in the proceedings than the girls, perhaps because they had lower expectations. One had brought his own crown. Another, Alex, watched intently long after the girls had scampered off. Still, even he ultimately declared the whole business boring ("too long," he said, "too many prayers").
In the end, however, all the kids returned to the TV to watch William and Kate’s Buckingham Palace balcony kiss, which one boy in particular had been awaiting all morning. "I got to watch the kiss" one of his kindergarten classmates said afterward, with something like real satisfaction. "Let’s go now," said another. And so they did.