Monday, 22 November 2010

Wouldn’t it be great if… Kate Middleton had a job?

Okay, so my point isn’t as harsh as it sounds, but in the name of short-snappy column titles, I’m trying to be succinct. After the news last week that Prince William has (finally) proposed to Kate Middleton, it emerged that they would begin their married life in their house in Anglesey, North Wales. His majesty will go out and continue his training with the RAF and Kate will spend her time… cooking his meals.

Now, I’m not a staunch feminist who believes that every woman should sell herself to a corporate machine whilst accidentally forgetting to feed her small, token baby, but in these modern times, I feel that a future Queen consort should be relevant to the women of her day. In many ways, as the future King’s bride, Kate has bagged herself a job for life, but that doesn’t accommodate the eight years she spent sat on her bum waiting for him to pop the question. What if that day had never come? Did Kate go out and carve herself a career? No. Miss Middleton has effectively advocated that one needs to be continually on hand and readily available should the whims of one’s working other demand. By taking on part-time work for both her family’s mail order party firm and Jigsaw (the high end, high street store that friends of the Middleton family own) she ensured that she had the flexibility to be the girlfriend of a future king. She prioritized William above herself.

Some might say that obviously, her ‘investment’ in not investing paid off- after all, she finally got her guy. But she didn’t even give their relationship a chance to see whether it could function with both of them fashioning independent careers. It takes a certain kind of woman to wait (both on and for) a man whose devotion will always be to his country, first and foremost, and it’s not the kind of woman I’d trust myself to be.

Imagine a different scenario, where Kate is a doctor and they met a university whilst she was completing a degree in Medicine. Would she be in the position she is now? It would take a brave woman to find out, but at least she’d be self-sufficient and ready to earn her own living should the Prince she’d been dating decide to gallop off and spread his royal seed.

Women (and men) may choose not to work for a variety of reasons: disability, looking after children, being in the midst of a career change and illness to name but a few. But Kate’s mistake has been to dismiss the notion of building up her own career whilst being very well placed to do so. Hardly unemployable, Kate graduated with a 2:1 in History of Art from the University of St. Andrews. She is attractive, articulate and well-connected, so how did a girl from a rags-to-riches Berkshire family manage to dismiss any prospects of a potentially flourishing career? Pretty and prim does not a modern royal make. Whilst I will forever be in awe of THAT blow-dry and THAT Sapphire-hued Issa dress, I would want to feel like I had chosen my partner, instead of them choosing me because I had preened myself to mirror his ideas of perfection.

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