Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Royal kitsch

Pieta, William and Clancy, Feb 2003
Eleanor Ferret (my youngest sister) gave me the above birthday card a couple of weeks ago and it is the inspiration for this post. She knows me very well, because this is about the best birthday card ever. So cheesy, so kitsch, so wrong - yet so right.

I have been a fan of Wills since I bought a calendar featuring ridiculous (read: very serious) portrait shots of him, circa 2002. It was total hipster irony before hipsters were even hipsters, let alone before they were ironic.

Ted, Wills and Sandy dining
al fresco under the hills hoist in
the backyard of 36B
That year Wills attended a party with me - it was a dress up party and you had to go as what you wanted to be in the future. I went as HRH Helen, with Wills (plucked from my calendar) as my beau.

He was then added to our dinner invite list - and these are a couple of photos of him enjoying a party in the good-old-days of "36B": our student share-house in Carnegie. The thoughtful person who hung William out to dry also put up a sign: "I shall NEVER marry a lady by the name of HELEN". At least my funny friends thought I was a lady. But how about that - they were right about him not marrying one.

In actual fact, my love of royal kitsch reaches beyond my student days - well beyond.

These Will stamps from my Mum and are from the same era as the calendar
I still remember that in my baby album there was a 50c commemorative coin from Charlie and Di's engagement. It always fascinated me when I was younger and flicking through the album. That little piece of royal kitsch was gifted to me as a baby just because the royal couple happened to marry in the year I was born - and it has had a lasting impact.

So, of course, within my stamp collection, which reflects so much about my life, there is a sub-section for royal kitsch.  But it is not just William who captures my imagination - the whole fairy tale turned nightmare of Charles and Diana mesmerises me - just like a train wreck might. What strange lives these royals must lead. And at this point I should probably disclose that I am a republican. So - see - this royal kitsch thing is 50% hipster irony, 50% actual delight.

The British stamp pack for Charlie and Di's Royal Wedding is brilliant. The photos are gorgeous. Diana is beautiful and oh, so young. This is the fairy tale stage. (And I love a fairy tale.)

The back of the stamp pack half opened out. And Diana in a sailor suit! Ah! The 80s!
The Australian stamp pack celebrating the wedding is a tad boring by comparison:

My collection is incomplete (aren't all collections); I still need to get the Wills and Kate stamp from their actual wedding. Although that still might be on my shopping list, very importantly I do have the William and Katherine paper dolls set, so I can cut out costumes and dress up the royal pair anytime I want. Ah - the simple pleasures in life!


  1. Love the Royal kitsch- my thimble collection has a Charles and Di as well as Fergie and Andrew! Love the memory lane taking us back to 36b as well.

    1. Oh wow - Fergie and Andrew memorabilia! That gives you some serious royal kitsch cred right there! I will have to search out some Fergie and Andrew post! x

  2. Ha ha, Prince William - destined to rule the Commonwealth. I think you would have made a much better princess than - dare I say it, Kate Middleclass.

    1. Oh shucks, Sandra! Thanks... but I did give up my ambitions on being Queen of the British Empire quite some time ago. William may have married a commoner, but I don't think he would ever have married a colonial! (As if that was the only problem in that whole scenario!)


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