First Lady Jill Biden is meeting the Queen this weekend. She’s already spent a bit of time this week with Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton. And since the announcement that she’ll be hosted at Windsor Castle with Britain’s current monarch, US press coverage has been constant. No doubt, everyone is excited. Yet the tone of these reports seems worrisome, in some cases downright panicked. There are countless quips on etiquette and protocol pointed in Philly’s direction. Citizens from the Philadelphia area have not always had the best reputation for, uh, decorum.
Still, Dr Jill Biden is not exactly Mare of Easttown, roughing it with a ponytail, sans make-up, and missing napkins for cheesesteaks. Though Philly Jill will curse you out if you go after her man (she is said to have fired F-bombs privately towards Kamala Harris during Democratic Primary debate) she is more than capable of switching up for royalty. As a local myself, I’m perturbed about the onslaught of advice being dished out to Philly Jill, as if she can’t hold her own.
There is no need for America to alarm themselves with anxiety-ridden visions of dinner guffaws or pearl-clutching catastrophes. That moment has passed already. Our former leader kept us quite busy questioning his manners. Remember the deplaning and walking ahead of women both domestic and royal? In 2019, Donald and Melania broke major rules by shaking hands with members of the royal family instead of curtsying and bowing, ignoring tradition. One comment from a magazine during that visit compared Melania to a Spice Girl. She wore a yellow coat and magenta mini-dress.
We have other issues to focus on now such as continuing gun violence, getting millions of promised Covid vaccines into people’s arms, and finally reopening our country. It’s exhausting here and we just crave some good news. Our own Jill visiting Her Majesty seems like a safe bet. Plus, it’s a more than a welcome distraction. Americans love distractions.
From Hollywood to Broadway (Hamilton’s King is everything) the royal family has always been part of our culture. The Crown,The Queen and Victoria dominate our television, alongside interviews with Harry and Meghan on Oprah. The announcement of the Sussexes’ new daughter Lilibet led to endless debates about whether it was a charming tribute to give her the Queen’s nickname or unforgivably rude. The latest scoop this week: they got approval in advance.
Before the trials of Harry and Megan, we had Diana. She was our princess, too. I loved her sequin gowns at the Met, her dance with John Travolta and how she gushed about her boys during interviews. She displayed such class and grace during the most difficult times in her life. I won’t speak for everyone but in more than a few households here, we gave her the respect of a queen. Sorry, ma’am.
I took Diana’s children into my heart as well. Harry made mistakes in his youth but we did too and our faux-pas rarely made it to the press before smartphones. Now, multiple generations are invested in the royals. From Boomers to Gen Z, “The Firm” is part of our lexicon now and the US love it some drama.
So, I’m predicting that Philly Jill will do us proud. We’re fairly confident about her and I’d like a royal of my own to represent. We have a good one. Grace Kelly was fine, but Monaco stole her too soon. And Philadelphians are a vocal people. Like most resilient cities, we will forgive but have a long memory. Some of us are less than thrilled that people climbed poles and police cars after our World Series win in 2009. What can ya do? Yes, it happened. Get over it.
Now it’s 2021 and Dr Jill Biden, our First Lady from Philly, is on track to bring dignity and diplomacy back to leadership. She’s more than capable of standing tall in any room, including a regal one.
But please leave Philly out of it. We have enough going on with changing Wawa menus (convenience store brisket, really?), water ice stands turned smoothie shops and — sigh — another Eagles season approaching.
Thank you. Oh, and Go Birds.