Apparently so. And there are a ton more of them running around than one might imagine as the coverage of the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden to her former fitness trainer Daniel revealed.
It was interesting to me how they collected so many royals in one place. Of course, you’d expect all the European royals to be there considering they are all related and godparents to each other’s children etc but the Crown Prince of Japan and royalty from Jordan were also invited.
Those of you who are familiar with the British royal family will know that royals have their own way of dressing. It’s almost like a genre of its own where the emphasis is on stately though sometimes a little over the top, grand enough to stand apart and consistent. The older royals at least tend to find a style that works for them and stick with it (like Queen Elizabeth). Generally, they don’t tend to do high fashion and possibly this is because they are not always stick thin enough to fit into those clothes, or maybe they are older.
At the wedding, they had some conventions to observe too. No black for the women, sleeves, sashes, and tiaras. Some of the men had uniforms with lots of insignia.
My picks at this wedding:
Margarethe II and Prince Henrik of Denmark – both of them looked like fun. Clearly a genuine smile is the best accessory. Plus, loved the colour on her. Some people felt that these dresses looked like prom dresses from the 80s but as I said, royal fashion ticks to a different beat and also, why should she be condemned to wearing a sheath just because she’s old.
Queen Silvia of Sweden – this woman must’ve been a stunner when she was younger. Her dress was perfect for mother-of-the-bride.
Favourite dress: Infanta Elena of Spain in the bolero thing. The colour was awesome and the bolero was both very Spanish and somehow added a fashion element.
Hottest royal: Carl Philip, brother of the bride. Is he still available?
Royals I didn’t like:
a) Letizia of Spain – my first instinct is to find her pretty but she is really too thin.
b) Raina of Jordan – have always loved her but her dress was really disappointing. She neither did couture nor royal dressing and thus just fell flat. Or maybe the misshapen sleeves (more obvious in other pictures) on her dress were added on as an afterthought. 100 points though for having a husband who is not intimidated by the height of his wife in heels.
Thought the bride and the groom looked great. Her dress wouldn’t have been my pick but it was very Swedish in a minimal Ikea sort of way (hee!). I liked the veil and the long train and ooh, the carriage. Their story is also rather sweet, with a nice role reversal to the fairytale that is appropriate for Sweden which was picked as the best country for women to live in.
On such occasions, there will be the handful of commenters who think they are saying something completely earthshattering by mentioning that the monarchy is irrelevant or that the queen looks like the sweet old lady down the road. Well, to the latter, the royalty are human beings after all so obviously they look like people. And it’s heartening to see that they come in regular sizes mostly and actually go grey and have lines on their faces as they grow older unlike some of our regular celebrities.
Now, to the former. There are very few of us who actually believe that the monarchy were the appointees of God and should be ruling over us. Despite this, a greater number of people can’t help finding the royal lifestyle a tad exciting and looking at pictures of royal weddings fun in the same way that one follows celebrity events, marriages etc. It’s like looking into a fairytale, except with real people.
Of course, one might claim that celebrities actually do something to earn their way as opposed to royals who (it is assumed, though not necessarily so) funded by the state.
My attitude to royalty has changed over the years. First, let’s remember that many of these people actually work. I have also come to realize that people need idols, icons, someone they can set apart from themselves and put on a pedestal. These people are sport stars, actors or even beauty pageant winners. Miss Universe contestants seem to be very similar to royals in their arguable functions (goodwill, humanitarian work etc) though they have to go through a contest and are funded privately.
Many countries also have ceremonial heads of state like the President whose function is very close to that of the monarchy in some countries. That is, given the President’s function, which could just as easily be absorbed into some other role or position, is it really necessary to keep them in such style. But they are, because these countries felt there was value in having a ceremonial head.
A royal’s function could be similar – brand ambassador, diplomat, fundraiser for humanitarian causes. They already have a vast network of contacts, influence and social cache which could be constructively used by their countries (think the King of Thailand).
The downside is that it is hereditary so no guarantees if the heir to the title is capable. However, many of the assets of being a good royal can be instilled through training – for example, they have to learn several languages and the history of different countries in addition to etiquette etc. Moreover, a fair bit of nepotism seems to be the norm in all societies even democratic ones – with children from political families having an easier run as also the kids of business tycoons. The fact is that every society has its exclusive cream, even communist societies in the real world; just that the royals solidified their position thousands of years ago.
So, in my view, propping up a royal family might not be such a bad thing IF the country can afford it. If they get too snotty, Parliament can always nip them in the bud. In the meantime, we have pretty pictures to look at and royal scandals to amuse ourselves with.