Just one generation ago someone like Kate Middleton would have been tasered for getting too close to the British Royal family.
The only problem with such superb forward thinking is that the Royal Family is still very much backward and old fashioned when it comes to some matters, namely rules and etiquette.
And as the first normal woman to enter the Windsor fold, Kate will feel the changes to her life on a higher level than many past princesses.
Here are ten things the bride-to-be will no longer be allowed to do once she walks down the Green Mile – ahem, aisle – in Westminster:
1. Be referred to as ‘Kate’
When Kate Middleton joins the House of Windsor this year, her official title will become ‘Her Royal Highness the Princess William of Wales’.
She can be addressed as ‘Catherine’ or ‘Ma’am’ (pronounced like ‘ham’). But ‘Kate’ isn’t going to cut it anymore by Royal standards.
Clarence House officials will probably wine and dine London’s Royal correspondents and then ask them to please refer to Kate as ‘Catherine’ in the future. But we think they will refuse to do this.
Technically, the Queen and other members of her family are allowed to vote, but they do not do so because in practice it would be considered unconstitutional and not in accordance with the need for neutrality.
This is in keeping with the Royal Family’s public role, which is based on identifying with every section of society, including minorities and special interest groups.
3. Run for political office
For the reasons stated above, this is also a no no.
4. Escape the scrutiny
As arguably Britain’s most dysfunctional family, the Monarchy provides the British public with a generous source of voyeuristic entertainment, and an opportunity for heartless slander.
Having already been under the media spotlight for the best part of nine years, Kate has copped her fair share of criticism from the media over the most mundane and insignificant of things.
She’s a commoner. She’s an outrageous social climber. She’s not outgoing enough. Her mum is an air hostess who uses the word ‘toilet’.
The public watchdog will be on Kate 24/7, so when she slips on that tiara come 29 April she will damn well have to make sure it’s a pretty one. But not too pretty. That would be exhibitionist.
This scrutiny will grow existentially and extend to all aspects of her life. Did you know the Middleton family can only trace their roots back to the mid 1500s? So what were they up to in 1413 then?
5. Play Monopoly
In 2008, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, said that the Royal Family was not allowed to play Monopoly at home “because it gets too vicious”. No member of the family has yet revealed what they play in its place during the Christmas holidays.
6. Say or do anything controversial
This includes accepting large amounts of money from ‘businessmen’ for access to your husband and getting your toes sucked in public by your financial adviser.
But it also encompasses Kate’s expression of her preferred political position, social position, sexual position – basically anything within the realms of personality.
So far she has succeeded seamlessly in this, not putting a foot wrong in any situation.
Granted though, the world has only heard her speak once after her and William’s engagement and that was a heavily rehearsed affair.
7. Eat shellfish
British Royals are apparently never served shellfish, because of a fear of food poisoning. So if Kate can’t live without crustaceans, she will have to seek them out in her own time.
It is well known that Royals and careers don’t mix well. As proven when Prince Charles’ plan to work part time in a factory failed and Countess Sophie Wessex was forced to abandon her PR firm.
In Kate’s case though, the whole unemployment scenario shouldn’t be too difficult to handle. At 29 years of age she is the oldest spinster ever to marry a future king, and though she has a History of Art degree and years of life experience, Kate has spurned work wherever possible.
This is unless you count seven months as a casual accessories buyer for clothing chain Jigsaw and a short time working for the family company, Party Pieces.
Pinned by some as the unemployed woman marrying into a welfare family, we’re reckoning the guys at Buckingham will keep her busy by sending her to lots of boat launches and pancake flipping gigs.
9. Sign anything unofficial
As a potential future counsellor of state if William becomes king, Kate might at some stage have to sign government papers and brings legislation into force in her husband’s place.
People in this position are strictly not supposed to sign anything that could lead to their signature being copied and forged.
Last year Prince Harry was in hot water when he flouted this rule by signing the plaster cast of a girl who had fractured her arm, a media report said.
The 17-year-old from Leicestershire was so excited she said her cast would be “going in a glass box”, which the Queen might not have been too happy about.
10 Finish her dinner
If she is a slower eater than her grandmother-in-law, Kate could go hungry. In Britain, when the Queen stops eating, you stop as well, fork in hand.
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