Whew! 2013 was a busy year for the Duchess of Cambridge, what with giving birth to the royal heir and all. But as a person who once briefly considered studying abroad at Cambridge, let me just say this: it was a busy year for me, too. Let’s review the year that was:
Kate: Kate Middleton is inducted into Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, because she is a Royal Person. Though everyone agrees that she is staggeringly lovely in person, the painting draws criticism for making her look old, fat, and “like the head bouncer in a security firm.” More charitable Britons call it “straightforward and very pure.” Meanwhile, the palace announces that the pregnant Kate will not undertake any tours abroad until 2014. The Telegraph speculates she may not be able to attend Wimbledon. Kate is overcome with morning sickness.
Me: A friend posts a picture of me to Facebook. Everyone in my apartment agrees it is the worst picture of me ever posted online, and possibly the worst picture ever. For most of the month, I review high school geometry, just in case I decide to take the GRE. I vomit, also. It is the flu.
Kate: Novelist Hilary Mantel upsets the nation by calling the Duchess a “shop window mannequin” in a lecture at the British Museum. An Australian magazine publishes pictures of the pregnant Duchess on holiday in a bikini. Designer Vivienne Westwood announces the Duchess should recycle her outfits more, because that would be better for the environment. It is a difficult month for the palace. Now four months pregnant, the duchess admits she is “nervous” about giving birth.
Me: I take a bag of clothes to the textile recycling booth at the farmer’s market. I am late, and they are almost closed, but the nice textile man accepts my textiles anyway. It is a good day.
Kate: After weeks of tabloid speculation, Kate assures the public that she and William really do not know the sex of their royal baby. She is hoping for a boy, but the Duke, she says, would prefer a daughter. In the meantime, the pair nickname the still-genderless heir to the throne “little grape.” Toward the end of the month, Kate teaches a group of Cub Scouts how to make “dough twists.”
Me: I teach myself how to make naan, and set off the smoke detector.
Kate: The Duchess spends her second wedding anniversary visiting a children’s hospice, though she and William meet for dinner afterwards. The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, the Royal charity that represents Kate, William, and Harry, applies for trademarks to cover clothing, footwear, and headgear, should it ever expand into non-profit fashion. As the investigation into Kate’s topless photographs presses on, a professional Kate look-alike orders a custom baby-bump.
Me: I take a non-charitable job that involves QuickBooks and spend much of April confused. I listen to a lot of podcasts.
Kate: Sister Pippa Middleton throws Kate’s baby shower, the first royal baby shower in the history of royal babies. The event is a “real family affair” featuring “dummy-shaped cake and goody bags.” In honor of the coming heir, a royal composer pens an original royal lullaby, aptly titled Sleep On. Meanwhile, the world takes note of the Duchess’s passion for teeny tiny handbags, much to the chagrin of women who carry things.
Me: I am still frequently confused about QuickBooks. In preparation for a spate of summer weddings, I buy a dress that looks good in the front, but the zipper does a weird thing in the back. It would probably look nice with a teeny tiny handbag, which might distract from the zipper, but I do not have one.
Kate: Sources close to the palace announce that the Duchess will have a natural birth in the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital, the same hospital where Prince William was born. For her last official solo engagement before her maternity leave, Kate christens a new cruise ship the Royal Princess.
Me: I rename a dog I am fostering because the name she came with was a racial slur. She maintains her former identity on Petfinder.
Kate: On July 22, 2013, Kate gives birth to the future King of England, who is eventually named George. Four days later, Kate incites a global frenzy by leaving the hospital in a cornflower crepe de Chine polka-dotted dress, which everyone agrees is both flattering and overwhelmingly appropriate, because “blue” is for “boy,” and because Kate is always overwhelmingly appropriate.
Me: My boyfriend tells me my new dress is very Gatsby. “Like, you look like the cover of The Great Gatsby.”
Kate: After only a month, Kate has shed nearly all of her baby weight, a consequence not of dieting, but of her yoga practice. For her first post-baby public appearance, the Duchess cheers on marathon runners circumnavigating the Welsh island of Anglesey. Prince William, who also cheers on the Welsh marathoners, announces his plans to be a “hands-on” father to his son, although the baby is currently “a bit of a rascal.”
Me: I purchase a yoga mat.
Kate: Realizing that they are “not a super-couple,” the Duke and Duchess hire William’s former nanny to care for baby George. Though technically still on maternity leave, Kate makes an exception to attend the Tusk Trust’s annual awards at Kensington Palace, since the conservation organization is the Duke’s “longest-standing international patronage.”
Me: As a long-standing patron of my local coffee shop, I get my free 10th cup of coffee. It is lukewarm. When I inform the barista, she replaces it and says, “Yeah, I noticed that when I gave it to you.”
Kate: With her maternity leave over, Kate makes an appearance at a charity sports event and plays volleyball in heels. The future King George is baptized wearing a lace and satin replica of the christening gown made for the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria in 1841. Breaking from tradition, Kate and William choose several of their friends to serve as the baby’s godparents.
Me: I also break from tradition, and by tradition, I mean the job with QuickBooks. I use my newfound leisure time to work on the foster dog’s costume for the Halloween dog parade.
Kate: The Duchess causes a stir by re-wearing the same outfit “down to the tights and ankle boots” that she wore over a year ago. At an event benefitting children’s mental health, a gust of wind blows Kate’s skirt up, exposing her “slender pins.” The Duke expresses a royal wish for a PlayStation 4, but is concerned Kate will not approve.
Me: I wear the same outfit six times, also right down to the ankle boots. It is a sweater and pants. When I put on the sweater for the seventh time, I notice it has become huge and asymmetrical. I Google “how to restore sweater shape,” for which there are 898,000 results.
Kate: Kate wears a tiara to a diplomatic reception, the first time she has worn the royal jewels since her 2011 wedding. It is revealed that the Duchess was among the victims of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Transcripts of those hacked calls reveal Prince William calls his beloved “babykins.” Using “handmade texturizing scissors,” stylist Rossano Ferretti gives the Duchess a $984 haircut.
Me: It is revealed I am the victim of identity theft. No one calls me “babykins,” but Toys “R” Us call me to say that someone opened a store credit card in my name. On the bright side, I get a haircut from stylist Rita for $55. Although she uses store-bought scissors, I am pleased with the results.