Risky Regencies

Princesses and Such

Once again, my life seems to be taking on a theme (though not on purpose!). This week the theme is Princesses, both fairy-tale and not-so-much.

Last week, of course, saw the 10th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana on August 31st. I was always something of a Diana-phile. The royal wedding happened when I was a little kid, and it was my first taste of “romance” (oh, the slippery slope! It started with a tiara…). I remember snuggling with my mom on the couch in the dark early morning hours to watch Diana make her way up the aisle of St. Paul’s with that monster train. (I then played Dress-Up Princess with my mom’s bathrobe and a bedsheet for days after, though really ‘princess’ never supplanted pirate/archaeologist/ballerina in my career plans). It was so completely enchanting, and that sparkly storybook atmosphere of it all just made the sordid fall all the sadder. And 10 years ago (was it really that long ago?) I again got up in the dark early morning to watch much more tragic pomp and pageantry (and those sad little boys) on the TV.

Recently I read Tina Brown’s dirt-dishing book The Diana Chronicles, which left no gossipy stone unturned. Majorly dysfunctional families, tragic ignorance on all sides, the worst judgment in men I have ever seen –it was a train wreck, for sure, but it kept me turning the pages all night. A very sad story indeed.

And, tonight, I’m going with a friend and her two daughters to see the Disney Princesses on Ice! I’m probably just as excited as them because (confession time) I love Disney movies. Especially Beauty and the Beast, with Belle wandering the village with her nose in a book. These same girls and I went last summer to see a road show of the B&B musical, and they wore their yellow tulle Belle dresses. I was jealous, though I have a large Disney princess pillow I lean on while I’m writing that is just as nice. Tonight they’re coming dressed as Snow White and Cinderella (maybe–the younger girl keeps changing her mind. Cinderella or Jasmine? Or Belle again?). There will undoubtedly be junk food and caffeine galore, vast quantities of princess merch, and a fabulous time had by all. (And, after all that sugar and grease, there’ll be hell to pay at bedtime, but I will be gone by then!). It’s a striking contrast between “real” princesshood, and Disney princesshood.

When I browse the romance book shelves, too, I often find myself drawn to titles with “princess” or “prince” in them. I do enjoy a good royal fantasy, though I haven’t yet had an idea for a “princess” book of my own. What about you? Do you like princess stories? And what’s your favorite Disney movie? (C’mon–you can tell me…)

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Keira Soleore
15 years ago

Princess Bride is my favorite romantic story. I used to love Snow White and Cinderella as a kid. My favorite Disney movie of all time is Jungle Book, and my favorite princess of all time is Diana.

Amanda McCabe
15 years ago

Jungle Book was the first movie I ever saw! I still love listening to the soundtrack 🙂

Diane Gaston
15 years ago

I always loved Cinderella, whether it be the Disney version or any other.

Keira Soleore
15 years ago

I still watch Jungle Book. In fact, I had to go on eBay and bid for a copy of the DVD couple years ago.

And Sher Khan’s voice (Jeremy Irons), when he sings, “And that’s what friends are for…” Va-va-voom basso.

Cara King
15 years ago

I love the Disney animated movies — almost all of them are really superb (barring a few like Oliver & Company — and just the fact that I’ve seen that will prove that I’m a fan!) 🙂

I like the Walt Disney classics, of course — Dumbo is darling, Cinderella’s very funny, and as a kid I thought Aurora’s dress in the forest parts of Sleeping Beauty was the prettiest thing possible…

Though for rewatching, I probably lean toward the more recent ones, that started with the Ashman & Menken renaissance. In some ways, A Little Mermaid is my favorite — I love the music, and the underwater animation is gorgeous… However, the prince was so boring! And I was never sure Drusilla quite succeeded (to me, somehow her vocals and her visuals don’t quite go together)…

I like all the ones other folks like, of course — Beauty & the Beast, Mulan, Aladdin (VERY funny, and really good music, though IMHO Tim Rice’s lyrics were iffy) — but I have a special place in my heart for the ones I feel are underrated.

In particular, I love Hercules! I think it’s very funny, and daring, and very meta. And the heroine is like a sophisticated heroine from an old black & white rom com flick — very non-Disney!

I also will go on record saying I quite enjoyed Atlantis and Treasure Planet.

(There, bet you didn’t expect an essay in answer to your question!)

Cara

AndreaW
15 years ago

I’m not a fan of “Princess” books, but am a HUGE fan of Disney Princesses as is my little girl. Our favorite movie to watch together is The Little Mermaid.

~Andrea

Lois
15 years ago

When I was a kid, everything had to be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I loved it, even if it took a long time to actually see the movie (I was a kid in the early 80s when movies where just coming out on VHS LOL). And somewhere it was Snow White’s 50th anniversary and I think I saw it rereleased in the movies, I’m not really sure.

So this lasted, oh, until high school when I saw Aladdin. Move over Snow White, loved that Genie!

Then somewhere after high school, I saw Sleeping Beauty again (it was one of my first tapes, but didn’t watch it a whole lot) and I fell in love with her — I just never really got it when I was younger, hence why I didn’t watch it a whole lot. But once I got older, it clicked, I understood it a heck of a lot more, and she’s now my number one, all time fav. 🙂

But while I don’t like some and love others, I just love Disney Princesses. . . they simply are not ordinary Princesses. 🙂

Lois

Todd
15 years ago

I must admit to a sneaking fondness for Beauty and the Beast. But really I like most of the Disney animated movies. I’ve always had a bit of a grudge against The Little Mermaid, because the original is my favorite fairy tale, and I was shocked that they would give it a happy ending. It’s sort of like doing Hamlet with Claudius slipping on a banana peel on his way to watch the duel at the end. (OK, OK, maybe not quite like that.)

Todd-who-thinks-princesses-are-all-very-well-but-wouldn’t-dress-up-like-one

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