The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in the Okanagan Tuesday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in the Okanagan Tuesday.

A royal affair

AT RANDOM: Katherine Mortimer's love affair with the royal family

Many years ago, I had a love affair with the British Royal Family which began when Princess Anne married Capt. Mark Phillips in a lavish ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

I followed all of it in minute detail: the full-colour spreads in the newspapers, the TV coverage. Princess Anne was touted as a very modern royal: she married a commoner! She wears jeans! She drives her own car!

I followed subsequent royal weddings, including the doomed nuptials of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer (although even then I thought her wedding gown was a hideous meringue of a dress).

When the “heir and the spare” were born within a few years, I loved to look at photos of the sweet little princes: toddling in the garden, going off to primary school, their first day at Eton.

And for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, I got up at the crack of dawn and my daughter and I were joined by my friend and colleague, Cara Brady, for a wedding breakfast of pots of tea, and scones with Devonshire cream.

We oohed and ahhed over the dress, her lovely hair and makeup, the sweet attendants and the look of genuine love that passed between the bride and groom, so unlike the wedding of William’s parents all those years before.

And when Prince George was born, I watched with the rest of the world for that first appearance of the heir to the throne. Princess Charlotte, same thing.

And now we have welcomed the royal family to British Columbia, the second visit to Canada for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the first with their children.

They have been welcomed warmly wherever they go, from UBCO volleyball games in Kelowna to First Nations celebrations in the Yukon. It’s a lovely boost for the province, and public awareness for the issues facing aboriginal Canadians. While Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has boycotted royal events, his stand-in, Chief John Kruger of the Penticton Indian Band, asked the royals to advocate for reconciliation for aboriginal peoples.

While media outlets report on tour details and the serious issues being brought forth, many of the British tabloids also feature the obligatory descriptions of Kate’s outfits and hairstyles.

As a life-long Anglophile, I love the tradition of the Royal Family, whose lineage dates back more than 1,000 years. I love the pomp and circumstance and on Christmas Day you will find me and my family watching the Queen’s Christmas message.

But if I’m being honest, it’s all rather silly. Why do we, particularly in Canada, need the Royal Family? I shudder to think of the costs of just RCMP protection, let alone the many other costs incurred at hosting the family.

And then I get sucked into the media vortex once again, checking out Kate’s designer outfits and glossy hair, while trying to spot Okanagan landmarks in the British papers. Not to mention coming over all soppy when I see photos of those gorgeous children cuddling bunnies and playing with balloons.

Will and Kate seem like decent people who love each other and their kids, while attempting to live as normal a life as is possible. And while it’s easy to envy their life of privilege, much of what they do in the course of carrying out their duties seems dreadfully dull. If I had to smile, shake hands and make small talk all day long, I think I would go mad with boredom. To not be able to nip out for a coffee run or to pop to the shops without my every move, outfit and hairstyle being scrutinized is not my idea of a good time.

The private wine tasting at Mission Hill Family Estate might have been fun, though.