We’ve all seen the personal ads, heard the familiar phrases. Brainy blonde looking for my knight in shining armor. Investment banker in search of his queen. Prince or Princess Charming, where the hell are you?
From televised tripe like The Bachelor to essays in The New York Times (where a writer recently lamented that she “would love to experience life as a pampered princess, at least once”), you’ll find some single people clinging to dreams of royal romance as desperately as some folks hang onto their bad high-school-hair.
I’ve got a new piece out on Singularcity.com (the same folks who publish the slick, sensational Singular Magazine) that discusses the pyrite-like allure of fairy tale romance and what life was really like for kings, queens, princesses and those handsome knights in shining armor.
According to social historian Stephanie Coontz, most royal unions were nasty, brutish and short – especially on love.
“Princess Diana’s situation is typical as far as the historic tradition goes,” says Coontz, author of Marriage: A History and director of education at the Council on Contemporary Families. “Once they got the woman to give them their heir, the king or prince went back to whomever they really liked.”
Princesses were usually pampered by their sycophantic servants rather than suitors and those dashing knights weren’t exactly handsome heroes (or all that hygienic).
For the full story behind the “happily ever after” stuff we’ve been reared on all these years, click here. Warning: reading this story may be hazardous to your Disneyesque ideals of romance.