Once Upon A Millionth Time

Thirty some years ago, I woke up with the roosters (the kind that crop up on a regular basis in suburban Havertown) and watched as a radiant Diana married her noble prince. The fact that she was a full six months older than me added a certain magic to the affair, and even Charles looked unusually dashing that day. Of course, it could have been the fact that I was sleep-deprived. Actually, that could be the only reason he looked vaguely attractive. A few years later, the not-so-happy-but-we-didn’t-know-it-yet couple produced a sweet little thing named William, and the fairy tale seemed complete. And indeed it was a fairy tale, but not of the Disney variety. While Walt and crew sanitized the stories of the Little Mermaid and the Snow Queen and Cinderella, those who actually had read Grimm and Anderson knew that happily ever after only comes ‘after’ a lot of blood, strife and betrayal. It also counts death among the sordid details. And the saddest of all deaths was that of the Princess of Wales, who-because of her own bad judgment and the merciless demands of a public life-left the earth far too soon. Now we have another chapter being written, filed under “second chances.” Little Prince William grew into an admirable young man, and he found a lovely Cinderella to fit the pre-fabricated shoe. Together, they seem happy (although how anyone could be happy in the hats that poor girl has to wear is a mystery.) And they have written a lovely paragraph in the story that began on an April day several short years ago when Kate of Cambridge wore the dress that launched a thousand copies. A little baby, nameless as yet, was born on July 22nd. He will one day become King, and continue the story started centuries ago by his ancestors. Some think it’s chic to make fun of our obsession with this family. It makes them feel superior, I suppose. But as a woman who dragged herself out of bed in the darkness of a July morning many years ago to watch a commoner marry her prince, I have no problem wishing the newest addition to the fairy tale a warm and eager welcome. For his sake, I hope there’s a lot of “happily” in the “ever after.”