There are many types of princess.
Some, like Caroline of Monaco, are born into it. Others, like Caroline’s own mother, or Lady Diana, fall into princessness via their beauty and the desire of some princes to marry someone who is not their second cousin, in an attempt to limit the number of toes that their children have.
Some princesses are brave and resourceful, joining with Luke Skywalker to fight the forces of evil. Others are girlish and swoony, and so dumb that they will eat an apple given to them by a little old lady no matter how often the dwarves tell them not to.
A true princess, though, is rarely one who wears a tiara. A true princess does not sleep on a hundred mattresses (though it would certainly keep the boys away, well done that dad). A true princess does not wear slippers made of glass, kiss frogs or throw her long hair out of the window. A true princess does not spend all her time trying to guess someone’s real name (although that particular one would have loved bloggers). A true princess does not fall into a deep sleep for a hundred years, though it might feel that way when you’re trying to get her up for school in the morning.
A true princess is funny, and kind, and earnest. A true princess has deep, deep friendships with other princess-like creatures. A true princess stands fearlessly in front of an audience at her drama school’s end of term show,as happened last Saturday, and passionately delivers the monologue from Stardust, this one:
You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate… It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves… You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and… What I’m trying to say is… I think I love you. Is this love? I never imagined I’d know it for myself. My heart… It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it’s trying to escape because it doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange – no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.
Tingirl is 14 today. She may never rule a kingdom, but she will always rule her dad’s heart.