Yesterday my 9-year-old niece, Lyra, told me that she was hoping that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would adopt a child, preferably a male child that is at least her age. That way, maybe she could one day marry him and become a princess.
I didn’t mention to her that it’s possible for a woman to marry a man that is nine or more years younger than she is. Or that she could also marry a girl. I didn’t want her to get her hopes up.
But I did tell her that I’d done the same kinds of calculations as a child, trying to figure out how a girl from a bohemian Jewish family in New York could land Prince Harry or William. I made careful study of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on Wallis Simpson, the thrice-married Pennsyltuckian who seduced King Edward. He abdicated before they married and then he was only a Duke…but still.
Lyra smirked at my onetime dream of marrying up in the world. “That would’ve never worked out,” she said. Her reason? “You couldn’t have lived in Buckingham Palace. They don’t allow dogs.”
Oh, silly child. Of course they do! She has so much to learn about modern socio-anthrozoology. The queen is famous for always having a pack of corgis in tow… And you know who else loved dogs? Wallis Simpson.
Duchess Wallis was a big lover of pugs. This famous photo of her and her Duke was taken right after Richard Avedon finished telling them a long story about how he’d just watched a dog get hit by a car.
Here is the Duchess with some of her pugs through the years: