Something About Mary: From girl about town to crown princess
Pluto, $32.95 pb, 210 pp
One of the contestants on television’s Australian Princess last year was a stripper, the oscillation in whose carriage was queried by the judges. ‘Of course I wiggle when I walk,’ the young woman protested, ‘I’ve got booty.’ Another competitor found that the going got tough when she was called upon to make a cup of tea. ‘I’m more of a bourbon girl,’ she shrugged. We were meant to laugh and cringe, and we did, but the show, for which nearly 3000 hopefuls had auditioned, was also a ratings success, reinforcing the widespread belief that anyone can become a princess. After all, it seemed as though anyone had.
Before her fateful encounter with Crown Prince Frederik at the Slip Inn during the Sydney Olympics, Mary Donaldson wasn’t just normal, she was positively ordinary. At least that was the impression gained by the private investigators hired by the media as they sifted through the trash in her wheelie bin, a ritual that commenced as soon as the royal relationship became public knowledge. According to Emma Tom in one of the most entertaining sections of her book, among the treasure that was salvaged during this operation was Mary’s Victorian driver’s licence, which is reproduced in the plates section of Something about Mary. A rather more flattering portrait appeared subsequently on the cover of Australian Vogue and was responsible for the biggest-selling issue in the magazine’s history.