The niceness of being a princess used to be one of life's certainties, as unarguable as the joy of springtime and the handsomeness of George Clooney. It meant a life of beautiful dresses, golden carriages, handsome princes and happily ever after.
I still remember watching an old Hitchcock movie and being told that its star, the angelically beautiful and elegant Grace Kelly, had later become a real life princess. Implicit was the understanding that, given the superior credentials she had been born with, entrance into royalty was Kelly's natural fate
How things have changed. And no one has put it more bluntly than Prince Harry himself, who said this week that his 'job' put off a lot of sensible girls. (It was reportedly the thought of a stifled life dictated by official duties which caused Harry's ex, Chelsy Davy, to break off their five-year relationship.)
"I'm not so much searching for someone to fulfill the role, but finding someone that would be willing to take it on," Harry explained, summing up his quandary rather succinctly.
He admitted he and his brother often just wished they were 'completely normal'. I'd guess there are times when Kate Middleton, penned, probed and papped on a daily basis, wishes the same.
I wouldn't think this marks a change in the reality of royal life. We just know now how suffocating, uncreative, identity-consuming and often ridiculous princess-life really is. How strong can the argument for maintaining the monarchy be when even the monarchs-in-waiting wish they could dump it?