I stopped at a Target store on my way to work a few days ago, and I saw the above book on the shelves. They’re not even married yet, and you’ve already got a “bestselling” author writing books about them.
This is something I’ve thought about for years, and came to mind again last week when I watched THE KING’S SPEECH In the beginning, there’s a scene where the King’s wife (before they were crowned King and Queen, so they were just a Duke and Duchess then) goes to see the speech therapist, and tells him that her husband needs his help, because he has a job that requires public speaking. When the therapist says that maybe her husband should just get another job, she says he can’t, and the therapist asks if her husband is an indentured servant, she answers that he basically is.
It’s true, when you’re born into that status, the majority of your life is already mapped out for you, and there’s not much that you can do about it. I’ve followed the news of Prince William and Prince Harry a bit over the years. And part of me has always felt kind of sorry for them. I know that sounds ridiculous. They’re almost literally born with a silver spoon in their mouths. They’ll never have to worry about money, or anything like that, and whenever they get sick they’ll have the best medical care in the country. So what’s there to feel sorry for?
But, still, you’re living in a constant fishbowl. Your every move is watched, recorded, and talked about. And you didn’t actually do anything to deserve that. It’s not like celebrities, where if you choose to become a professional singer, actor, athlete, whatever, then you’re actively seeking the spotlight. They were just…born.
I recall watching some news program, I think it was on the E! Channel, on Prince William’s 18th birthday. It was like a little documentary on this life. And the gist of the reporting was about how “the gloves can come off now”, because he’s officially an adult. So now the press no longer has to show restraint like when he was a child (as if there wasn’t plenty of reporting on him before that anyway). They were practically salivating about the prospect of following him around for the rest of his life. It was sad to me. And the thing is, from what I’ve observed, as bad as the American tabloid media is, what I’ve seen of the British media is that they’re twice as bad. They’ll go after you for anything. If a member of the royal family gets caught picking their nose, that will be a front page picture, with derogatory headlines, for weeks. I can’t imagine what that’s like to always feel as if you’re being watched, every time you’re in public.
And I give credit to Prince Harry for when he insisted on serving on active duty in the military with his fellow soldiers, even though he didn’t have to. But, still, there’s the fact that both of the Prince’s had to serve in the military at all. I’m not saying that either one wouldn’t have done it if they had a choice, I have no idea, but I’m just pointing out that I don’t think they really had a choice in the matter. It was expected of them to do it, especially for Prince William as the possible future King. It’s expected that you have military service. The press would have probably criticized them if they didn’t serve. And, again, this is all because their parents happened to be royalty. It’s not because of anything that Prince William or Prince Harry actually chose to do. Plus, both of them have to live with the knowledge of the crap their parents did. I’d hate have to see old interviews where both of my parents admit to cheating on each other. Not to mention all the various books written about their parents, especially their mother.
It’s worse than being the child of a celebrity or a politician, because then it does eventually become possible to live a mostly normal life, if you want to. When you’re a baby, and as you’re growing up, you’ll be followed by paparazzi with your parents, but when you become an adult and go off on your own, you can choose not to follow in your parents’ footsteps. And if you don’t get into trouble, you’re pretty much left alone. We see Jaden and Willow Smith in the news because they’re trying to be actors like their parents, but Will’s oldest son Trey is just living his life, so he’s not in the spotlight. Like I said, if he gets in trouble, like gets arrested for drunk driving or drugs, the headlines will be “Will Smith’s Son Busted!” But if he just becomes an accountant or something, no will care about him. Eventually when Maddox and Zaraha Jolie-Pitt grow up, if they don’t choose to enter show business we won’t hear about them. Sure, there will always be the possibility of press attention but, like I said, that depends on how you live. After President Clinton left the White House you didn’t hear about Chelsea anymore until she got married. The wedding became news. Now there are rumors that she’s getting a divorce, so you hear about that too. But she’s not being followed 24/7 by TMZ. The same goes with President George W. Bush’s daughters, they’re out of the spotlight unless they choose to enter it. And, more importantly, I don’t think any of them feel pressured by the public to become politicians like their parents.
And that has to have an effect on all of their relationships up to this point. Not only in terms of dating, but just when it comes to making friends. How can you really trust anybody? You never know who’s being nice to you for real, or who just wants to take advantage of you somehow. You never know when someone is going to try to sell you out to the tabloids. That has to be hard.
In regards to Kate Middleton, she is now, and forever, going to be a 24/7 press target. Her privacy is gone. And, unlike Prince William, she is volunteering for this lifestyle. As I said to my brother soon after the engagement was announced, she must either really deeply truly love Prince William and is therefor willing to sacrifice her privacy to be with him…or she’s just the world’s biggest gold-digger.
Time will tell.