Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Engagement of Wills and Kate: The Ring

I was all ready to do a blog post about my need to Stop, Drop and Plot - you know a writerly kind of post that examines my process through that dreaded middle and my need to outline and plan ahead to the coming climax but I'm instead going to do a very silly post about the just announced engagement between Prince William and Kate Middleton. For no other reason beyond the fact that despite my trying to stay away from stories about the Royal Windsors I can't. WHY am I so fascinated by this Royal Family?? It goes beyond my understanding.

So, okay. Here's probably the genesis of my obsession. I've always found the history of the British royal family interesting. My goodness, all those betrayals, beheadings, abdication, duty, loyalty, wars, romance - the sheer vast scope of being able to trace your entire family back to William the Conquerer. Whew! What's not to love? It's a thousand year old soap opera! So when way back when the romance of the century (or so it was spinned) happened between Lady Di and Prince Charles I was a naïve, impressionable teen much like the naïve Lady Di. I was definitely caught up in the romance of the thing. The Fairy-tale (which we found out later wasn't so much a fairy-tale as a carefully concocted marriage of convenience). So of course I watched the engagement, got up early to see the wedding, celebrated the birth of the young prince, read with fascination the increasing rift between the two parents, remember with horror the news of the crash and death, and wept with abandon at seeing her two boys following her coffin and the close up shot of the envelope with the word "Mummy" written on it. I still remember how much I cried when I heard Sir Elton John singing Candle in the Wind at her funeral. Argh.

Whatever people think about Princess Diana and her troubles I don't believe anyone can doubt her love for her children (as I don't doubt that Prince Charles loves his boys as well. From all accounts he has been a kind and caring father and his sons seem to adore him). So now as 'Wills' becomes engaged I admit I will follow the story and watch the wedding but not with the naïve eyes of a teenager who believes love will conquer all but with a slightly more jaded view. I'm glad Will and Kate have been living together so they know exactly who they are committing to, glad they are in their late twenties before taking the leap and taken their time to come to this decision. I hope their marriage will be a strong one but there is no doubt they must be aware of the pitfalls that might be ahead of them. One only wishes good things for a young couple starting out on a long road together. Still, for all the celebratory happiness surrounding this story, for some reason, I have one question that all the media hasn't touched on (or maybe I just didn't see it): the engagement ring and the negative connotations it has.

I understand that the blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds is inextricably linked to Princess Diana and her son honours his mothers memory with sharing it with his fiancee. And that's lovely. But a part of me cringes at seeing Kate wear it. Am I too superstitious? Do I see this ring as a symbol of a young love gone bad? If I were her, would I want to wear it given it's turbulent history? Or am I putting too much stock in an inanimate object? It's a beautiful, valuable ring and many families provide their sons/daughters with these items to pass along to the next generation. But, for me, that ring is Diana's - not Kate's. I know it will be inevitable that the next Princess of Wales will be compared with Will's mother and what a burden for the poor girl. I was kind of hoping Kate would have at least gotten to establish her own style with her own ring. But, what do I know? Perhaps she loves it and is honoured that Will has given her something he finds so evocative of his mother.

So, for all you British Royal watchers out there (if there are any :) ) what do you think? Should Kate have gotten her own ring or is family tradition more important?


  1. I might be living in the UK, but unfortunately can't help you much, as I'm not a royal watcher at all. Sorry. =)

    But I did learn that Di supposedly picked out her own ring. Which lends credence to the argument that Kate should be able to pick out hers. But it also makes the ring much more Di's and not so much about her relationship. And I do think it's a little touching for William to give his mother's treasured item to a woman he loves.

    You are very right, though, that the poor girl will be compared incessantly to Di.

    The best reason I've heard for the ring? The British media would freak out if news came out that he spend half a million on an engagement ring in this economy. =)

  2. Hi Anne: It makes sense for those economic reasons you mentioned - but that makes me feel even worse for Kate. I mean, they both, have money of their own right? Good grief, they should be able to spend their own (not taxpayers) money to get the ring she wants. Gah. Love and marriage is so much more complicated when your a royal I guess.

  3. Yes! One of the many reasons I'm so happy to be a commoner! =)