WEEKEND columnist Nikki Owen has learnt a lot from the royals
When it comes to life, I learnt a lot from the royals. Teary-eyed and staring at the TV, my chin propped up on the heels of my palms, I watched the wedding of Diana to Charles.
I was instantly hooked. It was a fairy tale, something that had broken free from the page of a book and blasted its way into real life.
I decided there and then that watching these guys, these royal people with their swooshy hair and gold carriages, would be my guide in growing up. And they guided me good.
How to wave properly. How to smile constantly. How to pretend that everything is shipshape when, doors closed, they suck.
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I learnt invaluable lessons, lessons that without Andrew and Edward et al, I would only have picked up by the usual, less glamorous route of the school playground.
The school playground was where we learnt truths. Truths such as bills have to be paid, babies don't come from storks and, if you twizz round someone's coat, their dinner money will eventually fall out of the pockets.
The royals, meanwhile, carried right on. I grew up, as they did. I kissed boys, I passed exams, I failed ones, too. But all the while I thought the royals – much like titanium or the Incredible Hulk – invincible. And then it all fell apart.
Affairs, like worm rot, began to surface, burrowing their way through the royal family like a riddled oak beam. I was appalled.
Heading straight to my shelves, I boxed up my Princess Di books and shoved them in the loft.
From then, it snowballed. Deaths, marriages, ups, downs. And then, one day, sitting watching the Queen declare her annus horribilis, I realised something: we're all human.
Twenty years on and the new Kate and Wills' baby bump shows that we're all only human.
Kate and Wills' baby is an emblem of that new spirit of human. A baby says 'fresh start' like Kate's engagement ring says 'bling'.
Divorce, marriage, public disappointment, utter sadness followed by celebrated happiness – that's what I've learnt from the royals, from this baby bump. Granted, it may not be the best lesson in the world. Although, to be fair, it beats having your coat swung round the playground until your dinner money falls out.
Follow Nikki's blog at http://www.nikkiowen.wordpress.com