"An American woman who dreamed of becoming an English princess is setting up a luxury summer camp for little girls who want to be the next Kate Middleton." Can we get an "oh dear?"
So here's the deal: this woman, "Jerramy Fine, 33," is an American obsessed with the royal family. "She spent every spare minute studying the perfect etiquette, styling her hair like Princess Diana, and swooning over Peter Phillips. In her determination to become a 'royal', she even left her home in western Colorado, USA, and moved to London." (In fairness, she was, incidentally, studying at LSE.) She's also written a book about her attempt to escape her "hippie" parents via royal rebellion, entitled Some Day My Prince Will Come.
That didn't happen. So now she started a camp, "Princess Prep," in which children pay £3,995 plus airfare to "live in Kensington, have their own butler and chef, be taught etiquette, and visit the royal palaces" for a week. In case you can't tell, royal wedding route notwithstanding, it all sounds a lot more Princess Diaries than Princess Di. (Presumably the girls are not hounded by the paparazzi, denied a private life or rigidly confined by protocol — although they do spend a day volunteering at a royal charity because "t's very important for the girls to give something back to the community.")
What's problematic about this — besides the fact that it's yet another expensive way to entertain kids who could probably be happy with something a lot less pricey and elaborate — is the end-game. I'm all for fostering fantasy in children — and certainly loved the considerably more low-key summer programs I did at local Westchester historic sites — but this is an odd mix of fact and fiction, the goal of which is, implicitly, to marry royalty and be ready when you do. Fairytale princesses are so appealing to children because they're heroines, agents, often dealing with moral issues in a fundamental way. Aspiring to be "royalty" in its current — but romanticized! — sense, is more problematic altogether. Then too, the element of servitude is unnerving: do children do not need to be waited on by a butler named "Jeeves" or attend an "elite" program in "a luxury flat located in the heart of Kensington & Chelsea, London's most expensive and sophisticated neighbourhood"? The values these little princesses are absorbing are hazy at best.
But for those of you who disagree, take heart: says Fine, "I'm considering setting one up for grown-up women!"
Want your daughter to be the next Kate Middleton? American Who Dreamed Of Becoming English Royalty Sets Up Luxury 'Princess Camp' For Girls [Daily Mail]