Apr 27 2011 12:00pm

If Only for a Day: The Pleasure of Being a Princess

The Inherited Bride by Maisey YatesPrincesses have long been a top choice for romance heroines; take a look at some current and upcoming Harlequin titles: The Inherited Bride by Maisey Yates, whose Princess Isabella does not want to marry a sheikh; Expecting Royal Twins by Melissa McClone where the heroine discovers she's a princess; and The Disgraced Princess by Robyn Donald, where the heroine marries a prince bent on revenge.

What is it about these, dare I say it (ok, I will, since I read them myself), “fairy tales for adults” that has us so captivated? The back blurbs tell of secrets pasts and never wanted imposed duty, the rescuing of a feisty maid and the melting of a ruthless man’s frozen heart. Then there’s also the tale of a surprise virgin (funny how that happens) and two secret babies who cause love to blossom. If only (says the mother of twins—ed.'s note)

So what’s the draw? Is it the idea that love conquers all? Sure, I think that’s a big pull in all romance novels. But I feel in these stories where you’re dealing with royal characters there is something else at play here. I like to think it’s a little bit of the Cinderella/Disney effect, though some may fault me for that too.

Expecting Royal Twins by Melissa McCloneIt’s the idea of being taken from the ashes and exalted to something much higher than your wildest dreams without care of the consequence (babies do happen quite a lot, though) or care of the cost (of daily living expenses, in most cases). And hey, in these turbulent times is that such a bad thing?

Just imagine you could live, for a few moments, in a fantasy where there is a handsome prince who can save you from the troubles of this world. One not too far removed from the same one you dreamed about when just starting out with Grimm fairy tales.

(And before there is the backlash from all of those who say we women are living in a fantasy world with our romances, or somehow not coming out of childhood, or some other such nonsense. I will just say this and then get back to my post: How many more remakes will be made into blockbuster movies of male Superhero comic book characters?)

The Disgraced Princess by Robyn DonaldNow after a poor segue back to the post at hand…Yes, you may be willing to deal with a less-than-perfect prince who is a little rough around the edges for the opportunity to be pulled from the ashes. You can be the Beauty to his Beast and work to tame him (the taming may be half the fun, if you know what I mean). And don’t they always need a bit of taming anyway? Being the “magic of the heroine's love” or lovemaking, for that matter, which I have to wonder if that taming is temporary at best and usually it is. But no worries, it all works out in the end.

Another draw is the thought of feeling protected and safe by the clear alpha heroes in these stories. They may be extremely tough, highly arrogant brutes at times, but there is always a feeling of safety; he may be dangerous, but the heroine is always safest with him against the rest of the world. Another good feeling in these times. Another “if only," and maybe the biggest, is the thought of the faraway dream. It’s a bit like the feeling you get when buying a lottery ticket; that “hey you never know” feeling. And I wonder if it could ever be ME made so special.

Princess Diana in her wedding gownIt’s what got me up so so early in the morning to see Princess Diana wed Prince Charles back in 1981. Sure, I didn’t have the slightest crushy feeling for Charles and even as a young teen I wondered what a young cutie like Diana was doing marrying a straight-laced stiff like Charles. But still I thought, “Wow!” That carriage, that dress, “she’s now a princess. If only.” (Little did I know the rest of the story).

But even now as an adult, I’ll still watch for Kate Middleton the same way, though with more jaded eyes and a more hopeful heart. And I’m sure my daughter, not far from the age I was when Charles and Diana wed, will watch and think, “Wow cool, she’s a princess. If only.”


Kwana Jackson is a writer of Women’s fiction and Young Adult, a former fashion designer, a wife, and a mother of teen twins who have a love of knitting and a strange obsession with “reality” TV.

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Keira Soleore
1. KeiraSoleore
Kwana, I was a wide-eyes young'un when Diana married and she's been in my heart ever since. I'll be watching the wedding this Friday and hoping that my daughter will feel the same awe.
susan leech
2. sue L
I am not sure if I can find words to say how a Royal Wedding is from any other wedding. It has a special spot..maybe because it won't end at the will be public knowledge all their lives and we become a part of it by following their lives. I too will be watching the wedding and no way will I be without the tissue box...after all it is a wedding!!! susan Leech
Donna Cummings
3. Donna Cummings
Great post. I think you're right about the desire to be exalted above the daily mundane things in life. That's what a fantasy is about (which is why I cackled about the superhero remake comment!)

I know some folks are tired of the constant media attention to the royal wedding, but it's a chance to see a lavish spectacle, something we don't often get to experience in our daily lives. It doesn't mean we don't care about all the suffering in the rest of the world--it just means our hearts need a little respite from it so we can continue feeling hopeful for the long run. :)
K.M. Jackson
4. kwanawrites
@KeiraSoleore, @Sue L and , @Donna Cummings thanks for your comments enjoy watching on Friday.
Keira Gillett
5. Keira
I think there's a parallel appeal between vampires and royalty fairy tale romances. Both are alpha in the extreme and both take you out of the world you're in and into a whole new one which has a sparkle that's surreal and fantastic all at the same time.
Saundra Peck
7. sk1336
I was 16 when Charles wed Di, so she was only 3 years older than me! I watched what snippets of the wedding that I could, as I worked a summer job in the nursing home that my great-grandmother lived dvr back then!!! I dashed from room to room, trying to drink in every detail. I believed in the fairy tale at the time.

I cried when Princess Diana died, as did my young daughter. We had fallen in love with the People's Princess, regardless of the divorce and sadness (or perhaps because of???). We watched the dignity of her sad young sons, walking behind her casket, looking so much like her.

So, even at the age of 46, I will get my jaded self up at 3:45 a.m. to watch Prince William marry his bride. (I wish my daughter lived closer!!! I would love to make it a party with cocktails!!!) I want to forget, for a few hours, the danger and sadness of the real world. I want to watch live, the pageantry of the beautiful horses, carriages, soldiers and flowers. I want to see a magnificent church that last held a tragic funeral once again become a symbol of unity and joy. I want to hope that a prince and new princess will live happily ever after...for all of us.
Jennifer Savage
8. JenSavage
I have mixed feeling about watching the wedding. On the one hand, I'm not that interested in the royals, but on the other I want to see the spectacle. I even like watching on c-span when they open parliament--which has weird thinks like "Before the monarch departs her residence, the Crown takes a member of the House of Commons to Buckingham Palace as a ceremonial hostage." (via wiki).
K.M. Jackson
9. kwanawrites
@sk1336 enjoy watching and I hope your daughter watching with you via phone.

@JenSavage the pageantry is so much fun because we don't have that here and it's so nice to watch those traditions being held to.
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