Wellington Scoop

The prince, the princess, and the frogs

by Lindsay Shelton
The six-year-old knows all about princes and princesses. But her experience of them is skewed towards the Disney versions. When we went to see “The Princess and the Frog” (charming, by the way) she enjoyed it but nothing surprised her.

What a surprise to have all those great songs (by Randy Newman) I said to her as we walked out of Reading’s. “They always have songs in princess movies,” she said. It seems I’ve missed several of them.

She was out of town during the visit by a real prince. I wonder what she would have made of it all.

Would she have wondered whether turning into a frog was part of the expectation for a royal life? In fairytales it’s usually only the prince who turns into a frog, but in the new Disney movie there’s equal treatment, and the princess becomes a frog as well. It then takes more than a kiss – and several songs – before they get to their happy ending.

Of course, there was no happy ending for Prince William’s mother. TVNZ made a point of this on the first day of the Prince’s visit by showing a feature film (a good one, with Helen Mirren directed by Stephen Frears) about the events surrounding Princess Diana’s death. Not surprisingly, viewers complained. “Nobody in TVNZ cross-checks our schedule with royal travel itineraries and there’s no reason why they should,” said a spokesperson dismissively. Which confirmed the belief here in Wellington that the state broadcaster’s Auckland-based programmers haven’t got a grip on what they’re doing.

But back to the 24-hour royal visit to Wellington. Kissing – though not involving frogs – seems to have been a part of it.

A Wellington mother was reported to have taken her baby from its pram, held it up and shouted “kiss her, kiss her” at Prince William during his walkabout on Lambton Quay. He stopped to say hello. “Oh my God, my daughter has just met a prince,” screamed the mother, presumably after the prince and his grim minder had moved on. But though the baby didn’t get a kiss from the prince, “he did touch her hat … that was just so fantastic.”

Not everyone missed out on kisses. The Dominion Post reported that princely kisses were given to girls from three high schools who met Prince William on Kapiti Island, where he was shown a kiwi. “I won’t wash my face for a while,” said one of the girls, after receiving a royal kiss.

Schoolboys were also quoted. After they kicked a football with the Prince in Auckland, they said he was “pretty cool” and “pretty chilled,” according to the Herald. The DomPost thought the boys weren’t familiar with the royal visitor and reported that one of them said: “He’s with the King of England.” All Black Richie McCaw got things back on track. “He’s a genuine bloke,” he said. Did we have any doubts?

Of course, those of us who didn’t meet the prince can console ourselves by seeking the most clichéd headlines. The DomPost tried really hard: “So charming, even the sun came out.” The New Zealand Herald was runner-up with “royal magic captures the crowds.” It’s tough when Disney has monopolized all the best lines.