The (Stepmother) Princess Diaries

Having ‘Stepmother’ set up as a Google alert presents an endless array of fodder. More often than not it’s a fairly relentless reinforcement of the Disney villain style stepmother stories – women implicated in acts of casual violence, wilful neglect and harsh vengeance. Every now and then though, there’s a shiny little nugget nesting in the Google swamp. This week it was this headline.

Princess Beatrice could become a STEPMOTHER.

Note: I did not add the CAPS. The article had the CAPS, suggesting Princess Bea’s destiny was as astonishing as if she were to become an ASTRONAUT, PLAYBOY BUNNY or the NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Had this publication unearthed the potential for her to become a scientologist, JayZ’s next wife or the host of American idol I feel they’d be less likely to lean on the caps lock.

I am inexplicably pleased at the ability to consider a young princess becoming a stepmother. Neither of these two fates were those that I’d considered a possibility as I contemplated my life plan. One of them did eventuate and it’s not the one that involves diamond tiaras, summer country estates and a brace of corgis.

Could the rocky road to stepmotherhood be less nuts and more pillowy marshmallows if you were a princess?  I think yes. Here’s why.

You are a princess

If you are a princess, dating a man with a little girl, surely you have hit the jackpot. Every little girl wants to be a princess. Very few little girls have a mama, even a faux-mama, who has hived off a portion of the crown jewels, has Phillip Treacy on speed-dial, and has a grandma who happens to be a reigning monarch. Surely it’s easier to impress a new step-girl if you are able to let her parade around the house in actual tiara that’s probably worth more than her actual mama’s house.

Note:  Princess Beatrice’s new boyfriend’s offspring only comprises a son which is just another example of the universe failing to cut a stepmother a break.

You have privileges – the child will pick up on this

Although the new royals are refreshingly modern and are at times spotted doing their actual own grocery shopping, they do generally operate in a cosy cushion of privilege.

As a royal, you don’t catch the bus. You are generally schlepped about in a black Range Rover.

Even if you are too low on the royal rungs to fly private, there is still no fear of being relegated to an egg and bacon burger in an airport Hungry Jacks. The doors of the highest status airport lounge will literally fling themselves open and welcome you in.

The kid’s Instagram is going to be next level.

Surely you can’t fear the bio mum

Stepmothers are innately prone to regarding themselves unfavourably in any comparison to a biological mother. Even on your best day, your most confident day, where all your pros far outweigh the cons, you are still reminded that your new partner had a flesh-and-blood child with this woman.

Princess Beatrice, on her darker days, might feel any of those feelings that she’s not smarter, prettier, or has fewer bad hair days than the child’s actual mother.

But darl, you’re still an actual princess. This is right up there with having actually spawned the child.


No financial fears

As a princess, the monarchy has been funding every frivolity you’ve ever engaged in since you emerged from the womb, no matter how many other heirs stand in front of you ascending a throne. Your mama’s pricey pram, the upmarket education, your time out to do good works and those sparkly earrings you flounced about in at your 21st.

NOWHERE in your future are you likely to experience any of the financial challenges that litter your regulation stepmother’s universe – trying to agree a fair split of school books and uniforms, rationing the extracurricular activities, figuring out who pays for the first passport.

Nor are you going to be subject to any of the vagaries of child support arrangements. You are part of the infrastructure that oversees the child support agency. No one married to a royal ever got garnisheed.

You are very likely to simply shut up the ex by leaping all the waiting lists and swiftly ensconcing your new stepchild in an upmarket, strictly blue-blood school whereupon all financial discussions will just drift away.

Good luck Princess Beatrice, hopefully you’ll pave the way so that the next royal stepmother doesn’t suffer the ALL-CAPS.