Of princes, fairy tales & mortality

July 25, 2013
Queen Victoria had an interesting take on babies.

Queen Victoria had an interesting take on babies. Snapped this display at Kensington Palace last month. Yes, where the young royal couple will live.

Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale?  Even as we grow up and realize how rarely they come true, most of us never lose our appreciation for the happy story, the romantic tale, the travails of true love which, after peaks and valleys, finally prevails.

George Alexander Louis & parents

George Alexander Louis & parents

Britain has a new king-in-waiting and the excitement generated by this baby’s birth puts the lie to any idea that the monarchy is dead.  In fact, the whole Kate+Will story is a classic fairy tale come true. Beautiful “commoner” (don’t you love that word?) falls in love with handsome heir to the throne and eventually has a fairy tale wedding in which she becomes a princess and then births a son who will be king. Can you even imagine what that’s like for this young, vibrant woman?  It’s a story that gives hope to every young girl who has ever fantasized about becoming a princess. And yes, despite modern times and feminism, it’s still a fantasy. And why shouldn’t it be? Happy stories about kings, queens and romance bring us out of our every-day-lives for a bit, and in that spirit I watched the coverage of the baby’s birth incessantly.

First king-to-be to carry a baby car seat, install it & drive his family away. Normal stuff.

First king-to-be to carry a baby car seat, install it & drive his family away. Normal stuff.

Yes, the stuff of fairy tales, but with a modern twist. William and Catherine seem like a charming, modern couple, trying hard to be normal, at least as normal as a couple can be when they know they’re playing a role in history and will join a long line of monarchs that include Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

Readers who were here two years ago remember that BFF and I watched the royal wedding together by phone and TV, since we were 3,000 miles apart, a feat that involved staying up all night so we wouldn’t miss a single thing.  A couple of my blog posts from that day are HERE and HERE. 

Again this week, I avidly followed the television coverage of the next step in the royal fairy tale: a baby’s birth. This time, though, and for the first time, I was aware that I was looking at future history that I would not experience.  This little baby boy would be king, but it’s not likely that I’ll be here to see him take the throne.

I would not be here? How could that be?

The young royal couple, just past 30 years of age,  is just starting their life together as I enter the sunset of my own. When they’re my age, chances are, I’ll no longer be here.  The world will go on without me? That’s a staggering thought.

Events ignited today will happen and I won’t see them? Sobering.

When commentators talked about this new prince bringing us “into the 22nd century” I thought, “we just started the 21st!” And then remembered how quickly time passes.

Moments like these in which I’m aware of my age come more often now, as I view everything now through the lens of my mortality.

Who thinks about mortality when they’re young? It’s not even on our radar screen.  And then one day we realize at gut level that more chapters lie behind us than before us and that, in fact, this story will end.

It will end.  This life is a temporary assignment.

time waitsAnd so, even as I smile at the joy of this moment in the lives of a young public couple, it marks a moment in mine when I remember how important it is to make every bit of the time given me count. To stand up for what I believe in. To do the things I want to do.  To treat people as I wish to be treated. To let go of things and people that do not serve me.

I’ll watch this little prince grow up, at least for a while, and every time I see him in the media, I’ll be reminded that life is long and then it isn’t, and to make this one count.


8 comments on “Of princes, fairy tales & mortality
  1. While I’m not much of a royal watcher, I love your last paragraph about focusing on your own life. Particularly letting go of those who don’t serve us–things, hobbies, bad habits, people. Good advice for us all.

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    Your last sentence really strikes a cord with me. “Make this one count” that is one thing we must remember. There is no rewind button on life. 🙂

  3. ElaineLK says:

    I was thinking exactly the same thing about the new prince. Before he was born I was wondering whether I would actually see William become king. I said to a friend yesterday that we won’t be around when little George takes over. It makes you appreciate the flow of history even more.

    • admin says:

      Isn’t it funny the way mortality pings us when we least expect it? On the strangest of things. You’re right about history.

  4. Life is a temporary assignment. So true.

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