QUESTION: Which of the following princesses is not actually a person?
A) Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree
B) Sylvia Renate Sommerlath
C) Madeleine Therese Amelie Josephine
D) Sofia Kristina Hellqvist
The Collegeville Costume Company provided quality Halloween outfits for thousands of children over their seventy-plus years of operation just down the street from the B.F. Goodrich Tire Factory that would one day become the location for the American Treasure Tour. Alas, when they closed their doors, their former inventory wound up in Oaks, Pennsylvania and part of our collection. We happily include them in our Toy Box experience, and we are going to talk about the inspiration for one of them in today's blog: the princess.
Much of history is about people striving to dominate those around them. Once an ambitious leader conquered a region, they might take claim to royal titles. After that, their children would gain new titles as princes and princesses. Traditionally, royals seclude themselves from the "common folk" and prohibited marriage between different social classes. Rather than mix blood, they married cousins and, occasionally, siblings. A little weird by our standards, it was common into the eighteenth century. Of course, sexism had an impact, too - princesses rarely received the right to run a country. Their destinies more likely found them being married off by their parents to princes from other countries in an effort to tighten alliances. That is not to say the allure of their lives of privilege was lost on the poor. In fact, fairy tales like Cinderella are all about poor, suffering women whose charms woo princes, after which they live happily ever after.
As recently as the 1930's, for a royal to marry a commoner was regarded as more than just a scandal - when Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, married American divorcee Wallis Simpson, it inspired controversy that led to Edward's abdication of his right to become King of England (yes, that is a simplification of the story). Well, times have changed, and there are now a handful of commoners who married into royalty. In fact, there are more American women who have become princesses through marriage than have earned seats on the country's Supreme Court. But don't let that dishearten you! We encourage all women to pursue a legal career and, once you have achieved the highest judgeship in the land, you can borrow one of our Collegeville Costume Company princess masks for Halloween. Promise!
ANSWER: B) Sylvia happens to be the Queen of Sweden. The other choices were: A) Victoria is the Crown Princess of Sweden, C) Madeleine is also a Swedish Princess, D) Sofia is a third Princess of Sweden. Clearly, a knowledge of Swedish royalty would have helped profoundly with this question.