Special notice: The writers we are celebrating in today’s post — best-selling novelist Jane Green and expat blogger Karen Van Drie — have kindly agreed to “come in” and respond to your comments and questions on the topic of the hour: yesterday’s royal wedding. Don’t be shy!
A cheery hello to you all. We have a special treat in store for Displaced Nation readers: a royal wedding-themed party in honor of two expat writers — one an acclaimed author, the other an acclaimed blogger — who take very different views of yesterday’s “wedding of the century.”
Jane Green is the author of a dozen novels dealing with real women, real life, and all the things life throws at them. She is also an expat. Born in London — she spent her early career as a writer of women’s features for the Daily Express — she now lives in Connecticut with her husband, six children, and assorted pets.
Karen Van Drie is an American who decided to travel the world after her youngest daughter left for college. Based in Istanbul and Prague, she travels extensively and records her observations in her award-winning blog, Empty Nest Expat. The blog was called out last year in the Wall Street Journal as a “fun read for anyone looking for reassurance that change can be a wonderful thing.”
No in-betweens, even (especially?) among expats
Vogue magazine editor Alexandra Shulman observed that Britain’s “wedding of the century” divided the British nation into lovers and loathers — so was a “perfect Marmite moment.”
Well, she could have been talking about the Displaced Nation just as well as the British nation. Over the past few weeks, we English-speaking expats and repats have divided into two opposing camps.
If anything, we tend to be even more passionate about our views because of the distance factor.
GREEN: “A modern fairytale”
As explained in an April 13 blog post on her newly released e-book for ABC News* on three generations of royal love stories, Jane Green knew little about Kate and William before starting her research but came away impressed:
I loved discovering just how unusual William and Kate are: grounded, humble, and thoroughly modern, eschewing much of the pomp and circumstance that surrounded the wedding of Charles and Diana.
Her book, which blends text, video, still images and interactive features, celebrates Kate for achieving the seemingly impossible feat of bringing an age-old fairytale up to date.
VAN DRIE: “If princesses didn’t exist…”
In the overheated countdown to the Big Day, Karen Van Drie resurrected a post she had written in February about the evolution of her personal views on royals, especially princesses.
Van Drie was prompted to write on this topic during a week-long visit to Sweden, where she noticed that the Swedish Royal Palace gift shop was packed out with tourists snapping up merchandise related to last year’s wedding between Princess Victoria and her personal trainer, Daniel Westling.
Somewhat to her surprise, Van Drie could not get into the spirit. This apathy marked a change from her twenties when she’d fallen head over heels for the fairy tale of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and studied every detail of their royal wedding. When she got married herself, she asked the florist to reproduce Diana’s bouquet exactly.
What’s more, after reading an article about the Swedish Republican Association, Van Drie decided they were thought leaders on the subject of monarchy elimination. She wondered aloud on her blog:
If princesses didn’t exist, what would young women dream of being? Could it likely be a healthier idea for humanity and relationships? A more realistic idea? Can you imagine people of the future laughing at us for even allowing the idea of undemocratic monarchies to exist? For needing the “idea” of princesses?
Where do you stand?
Dear readers, it’s your turn now. While we put out the bunting, pour glasses of Pimms, make pots of tea, and prepare plates of crustless cucumber sandwiches, scones, and Tiffin, for our feast in honor of Green and Van Drie, we’re hoping you will tell us: what do you see when you look at the relationship between William and Kate close up? Do you share Green’s picture of a modern fairytale, or are you more inclined to Van Drie’s notion of a gothic horror story?
* A Modern Fairytale is ABC’s first e-book and Green’s first-ever work of nonfiction. It is available through top etailers — Apple’s iBookstore, Kindle, Nook, etc. — and through the new ABC Video Bookstore app.
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