Thursday, 15 August 2013

Princesses as cover girls

What better way to mark turning forty than appearing as a cover girl on one of the world's best known fashion magazines?  It's certainly one up on buying a load of face cream, drinking too many cocktails and wondering why you don't really look or feel any different the day after the big day than the way you did before.  Mette-Marit of Norway is enjoying her last few days being a thirty something before she hits the big four-oh next Monday and as part of the celebrations, she's now given an interview and exclusive photos to the Norwegian version of Elle magazine.

Mette-Marit of Norway in a very floral dress to mark he 40th birthday
The cover also promises tributes from some of those closest to the Crown Princess on her big birthday.  It's not the first exclusive interview the princess has given this year - earlier in the summer she spoke to the glossy supplement that comes with Norwegian daily Dagbladet about her week long visit to Burma where she was seeing and promoting the work of organisations including the Red Cross.  But this is a more personal chat on a personal occasion - there's a special celebration this weekend as well in Norway for the 40th of the woman who will one day be queen consort.  And magazines in her own country, and around Europe, have been carrying the official photos released to mark the occasion several months ago - so to have new snaps and a fresh chat with the princess is a scoop for Elle.
 One of the official photos taken to mark the 40th birthdays of Mette-Marit and her husband of 12 years, Haakon Magnus.  The snaps have been in European magazines over most of the summer.
But Mette-Marit isn't the first princess to pose for exclusive front covers this summer.  Princess Charlene of Monaco has spent quite a lot of the summer posing for magazines.  First she hit the front of the Japanese edition of Vogue - her husband's mother, Grace Kelly was a Vogue cover girl more than once - and then this month she's on the front of the South African print of Marie Claire.
Princess Charlene of Monaco on the front of Japan's Vogue magazine
The Marie Claire interview is in support of a campaign to find eight women who can go for gold for South Africa in the swimming pool at the 2016 Rio Olympics.  And if they do get a girl on the podium, she'll have gone one better than the princess who finished fifth in her Olympic appearance in Sydney in the 4 x 100m medley relay.
Marie Claire magazine in South Africa features homegrown princess, Charlene, on the cover as she lends her support to a bid for gold at the Rio Olympics of 2016
It's interesting to see such a splurge of royal ladies on big magazine covers.  There's no doubt that royalty really sells at the moment.  There's been a revival of interest in all of Europe's ruling households in recent years, helped by all of them having young, photogenic families coming to the fore.  And the biggest news of all remains Prince George.  Anticipation over the first full face photos of the baby who will be king one day is growing by the day.  Magazines and newspapers, not to mention TV and online, have been showing and reshowing those now famous shots of Kate, Wills and the dark haired bundle attempting a wave for three weeks now.  In the UK, most of the big Sunday newspapers reported jumps in sales, helped by souvenir supplements for two big British occassions - Andy Murray winning Wimbledon and the birth of future king, Prince George - with the Sunday Telegraph boasting a 3.35% rise in copies shifted.

 The arrival of a new prince, as well as a British man winning Wimbledon, helped the Sunday Telegraph sell 436,000 copies in July 2013 - a rise of 3.35% on the month before
But of course, none of the coverage of the royal baby has so far included any exclusive shots.  The new royal families of Europe are quite good at keeping up the stock of official photos but something special that no one else has before you is what all paper and magazine editors want.  It can be hard to come by and Vanity Fair has been the most successful, with plenty of exclusives over the years.  It's still to land the special 'at home' with Wills and Kate although the prince did pose for the famous 2003 edition of eligible princes and princesses that became even more celebrated when several of the single sovereigns in waiting announced their marriages within months of it hitting the newsstands.
William posed for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 2003

There were some already married couples in that Young and Royal spread - among them Marie-Chantal and Pavlos of Greece.  And Marie Chantal is back posing for magazines, gracing the front of the  Hong Kong Tatler for August.  But Marie Chantal is on the front of a lot of magazines quite a lot.  She's had several Vanity Fair front pages and has even cropped up in ES magazine which is given away free every Friday with the Evening Standard in her adopted home city of London. She has a bit more freedom as the queen in waiting of a crown that no longer rules.
Marie-Chantal of Greece is a businesswoman as well as a princess and her design and fashion gets her a lot of press coverage

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