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The Fairytale Princess

They said it was a powerful moment of modern feminist independence as Meghan Markle walked alone down the aisle. But all I could think of was how profoundly it reminded me of Cinderella. The bride presenting herself with dignity, beauty, and a pure heart, to her prince. For that matter, it made me think of the earth after night, rising to her sun, becoming luminous and warm with his light - the goddess coming before the god, the soul before the divine. That bride entering alone into the church was sacred; she was all of us approaching Love. The sight of her touched something deep in my soul.




For days there has been social media commentary about how not every girl wants to be a princess. Clearly, people have lost the old understanding of what being a princess meant in stories. In most of the classic tales, the heroine was a strong character who worked against adversity and risked all to bring change to her life, while all along staying true to herself and keeping a good heart, until at last she won for herself Love as represented by the prince. I can not, off the top of my head, think of any passive fairytale princesses - even Sleeping Beauty had some agency in the original version of the tale (especially if you view it as an allegory of the divine marriage, as the goddess bestowed power and wisdom on the king through their union.)

When I first heard that Meghan was going to walk the aisle alone, I felt a little disappointed - for I love tradition, and this seemed one step too far towards modernity. But when I saw her enter beneath the roses, my heart swooned at the romance and feminine magic of it. For that moment, she was an image of the fairytale heroine, having gone through her own dark woods, hurt by her step-siblings, abandoned by her father, and yet so strong, brave, luminous with love.

The wedding was of course also a happy-ever-after story for the fairytale sad prince, and there were moments that made me cry with joy for him, just as I did for William at his wedding. So many people have negative things to say about the royal family but I am grateful for the way they give us, through their sacrifice to tradition, history, and duty, a living loom of story. A reason to share happiness as a community, and tears, and love.

But most of all I was transfixed by the heroine of the tale, the bride. If women want examples of female agency and power, they could do no better than to look to the old-fashioned fairytale princess.



(There was also all that heart-melting love between the couple ... the elegance, grace, and emotion of the bride's mother ... the fact Harry picked the bouquet flowers that morning from his mother's garden ... the kiss ... the beautiful veil ... I do love a wedding!)



Comments

  1. i always find weddings very moving. brides *are* princesses in every way, in the ancient, totemic, liminal, magical traditions of princesses in tales. they represent so many things, and function---and look--- like the focal point of so many hopes and dreams... their own, their families', even their communities. a royal family is a totemic focal point for a nation, and a royal wedding brings all this old magic together. so weddings are moving atavistically, intrinsically. but also personally, to me, as it puts a dream of love front and centre. a marriage is a theatre piece about love, hope, trust, esteem, and risk... tears and smiles, a little catch in the throat, seem the only appropriate response, even for one like me, who has found little happily ever after in marriage. and so i wish them well...

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  2. Yes to all of this.

    And that photo! The sunlight on her as she walked along...just one bit of the beauty and passion and goodness expressed in the ceremony and between so many there. Inside and out. I rewatched it after a nap this morning and feel such sadness for all of the negativity and unkindness I understand is bandied about by many around these people who give so much.

    I must read and listen and visit in careful circles to have missed most all of it except a bit that was shared with me. Yet I also know what is going on in Yemen, in response to your truth-speaking yesterday.

    So glad that you shared the picture of your watching, with popcorn and hot chocolate and all the memories of previous royal weddings. xo

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  3. Beautiful.

    It is sad to me that she is walking alone, but it is also simple and sweet and...hopeful.

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  4. Can I add a bit more?

    Something in this scene makes me feel that the way things have "always been" is no longer the way they are...

    I think that is a good thing.

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  5. I loved the symbolism in her beginning her walk alone, and then she was met and accompanied the rest of the way by her soon to be father-in-law. I found that so moving, such a powerful moment — 'Welcome to our family!' It was beautiful.

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  6. Thank you all for your lovely comments :-) It has been so nice sharing this with you.

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