Monday, September 13, 2010

Introducing Princess Prep

"All little girls dream of being a Princess"
- Princess Prep web-site

Thanks to About, I just learned that a new summer camp for girls 8-11 will be opening next year in London. It is called Princess Prep and it was founded by author Jerramy Fine who wrote SOMEDAY MY PRINCE WILL COME, a humorous look at her royalty fixation and her love of Princess Anne's son Peter Philips. Princess Prep has already been endorsed by author Meg Cabot whose books THE PRINCESS DIARIES was also an inspiration for the sleepover camp.  Miss Fine will be hosting a reception in 2011 at Soho House in New York for perspective parents who are interested in the concept.

Checking out the web-site, I was reminded of the WE Television series, AMERICAN PRINCESS, where 12 American girls are whisked off to London for etiquette lessons with Princess Diana's former butler Paul Burrell.  The girls compete in challenges, and the winner wins a real title as well as the title of AMERICAN PRINCESS.  The web-site provides an intinerary for the 'elite' week long 'camp' which is really not an actual camp since there is no sleeping out doors, or making 'smores by the campfire at this camp.  The girls are taught Philanthropy, Culture and History, Manners and Kindness, Charm and Compassion, and Presence and Poise. From the prospectus: "Filled with palaces and pageantry, London is the epicentre of royalty and the perfect fairytale setting to study the art of being a princess. The 7-day itinerary is packed with magical outings including:

  • Tea at Kensington Palace
  • Horseback riding in Hyde Park
  • Visit to Hampton Court Palace
  • Trip to see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
  • Volunteer Work at a Royal Charity
  • Night at the theatre and much more!

The girls will be housed in a luxury flat in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea which is a really lovely area. A butler named Jeeves (seriously?) will serve the meals and a different etiquette lesson will be featured at lunch and dinner.  Each evening the girls will be encouraged to write in the Princess scrapbooks before they watch a Princess-themed movie which will probably include : Roman Holiday, The Swan, Princess Diaries 1 and 2, Enchanted, and Sleeping Beauty. There is also no TV allowed, which is okay, since British TV doesn't have all that many shows suitable for their age at night, and they are encouraged to read books from the library which include princess themed books. I wouldn't be surprised if The Little Princess was one of them as well as The Princess Diaries!

I know that I should be all feminist and say that this type of thing is a throw-back to the 1950's of white gloves, and debutantes, but there is a part of me that's a little envious. This is exactly the type of thing that I would have wanted to go on when I was 11, but then I'm an unrepentant Anglophile.  My parents would never have let me go at that young an age. When I did eventually get to go to England, I was sixteen and I had to pay for the trip myself.  Since I'm an easy sell, I asked some of my friends that had daughters what they thought.  One friend thought that 8-11 was a little young to be traveling abroad without their parents, even with the presence of night-nannies, and she worried that her daughters might end up like the kinds in that kiddie pageant show on TLC. For me the word 'elite' bothers me, it smacks of over privileged rich kids. On the other hand, teaching kids about manners and etiquette is a great idea. They may never have dinner with a Prince but they may be invited to the White House someday, and it would be nice if they knew which fork to use! Also, it's never too early to teach kids to be compassionate, and to be charitable.  However these are things that one can easily learn in the Girl Scouts (not so much the etiquette part). I have a feeling that this program might benefit girls who are a little older say 12-14 more than really little girls. Personally, if I could afford it, I would fly over with my little darling, and spend a week in a hotel in London just to be on the safe side. But that's just me, clearly I would be the world's most over protective mother, but then I had the world's most over protective mother!

Princess Prep will be running three London sessions during summer 2011. Each session costs $3,995 per princess (excl flights). The web-site says that places are filling up, so clearly this is a concept that has legs.

I wish Miss Jerramy Fine well on her venture.  It does sound like it could be fun for those lucky 8 little girls. And I can already see the Princess Prep pre-teen books (are you listening Scholastic?). I'm sure that Meg Cabot is hard at work on the first one right now. Each book could feature a different etiquette lesson or moral that the girls have to learn.  Since 8 girls are going on the inaugural program, I see eight books. Have to include the tomboy and at least one multi-cultural girl (perhaps the daughter of a pop star?)

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