About 3 billion people watched Kate Middleton marry Prince William. Some watched for the hype, some for the tradition.
And plenty of people around the world watched so that they could see the exact moment a young woman turned into a princess.
This week, I had my own experience of watching little girls turn into princesses. For years, I have covered the pageant circuit around Middle Georgia. But last week, for the first time, I went backstage during a pageant.
It was the Miss Warner Robins Princess Pageant -- part of the Miss Warner Robins Pageant -- held Saturday for girls 2-12.
I was a little leery about being backstage, figuring most of the moms would be like the psycho pageant moms on television and on Internet message boards, and the children would be spoiled and pampered little brats.
But what I found is as much a lesson for you as it was for me: Dont believe everything you see on television.
Backstage at the princess pageant, I never saw any fits or temper tantrums or heard any ugly remarks by moms like you see on TV pageant shows. What I did see however, was strangers offering the loan of a curling iron and sharing snacks. I heard plenty of advice given from pageant pros to their competitors, all in an effort it seemed so that each child could do their very best.
In any group of children, one or two are going to stand out, and, for me, the belle of the ball backstage was Miss Mary-Margaret Waddell, a 3-year-old blonde with an angelic face wearing the prettiest dress I have ever seen.
I asked her mother, Crystal, about entering her child in pageants.
We have a lot of fun doing them, she said, and when they quit being fun we will stop.
You hear that pageants are fun a lot, and part of me has doubted that statement somewhat. But watching all those women interact with their daughters, to me, a mother who has only boys, it did seem like fun.
Crystal -- a pageant alumna herself who held several titles, including Miss National Watermelon Queen -- said that Mary-Margarets participation in pageants was not a mandate.
Right now, it is something that she enjoys doing and it is fun for her -- dressing up, doing her hair. She is a girly-girl and loves the Disney princesses, and actually thinks she is a princess too. When she says she is done, then we will be done.
Doing pageants for a lot of moms and daughters is just girl time similar to dads who take their sons fishing or to the ballpark.
Pageants, especially those for little girls, are controversial, but as with any controversy, it needs to be taken in context.
Sure, there are crazy, psycho pageant moms out there -- just like there are crazy sports parents, crazy drama parents and crazy Scout parents. But there are also plenty of moms and daughters who are in it for the fun, for the dressing up and for the opportunities to meet new people
Crystal Waddell explained it best.
Any activity your child participates in should be about having fun, not about living through your child, she said.
So remember that the next time you judge a pageant parent and remember that they arent all like the TV ones.
And remember the name Mary-Margaret Waddell. Anybody that has the kind of looks and personality she already has at age 3 will go far in life.
Miss Georgia one day, perhaps?
Absolutely. It will look great on her bio when she runs for president.
Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or email@example.com.
Miss Warner Robins Princess pageant The 2011 Miss Warner Robins Princess pageant was held Saturday afternoon at the Homer J. Walker Jr. Civic Center. Girls in four different categories were crowned and will represent Warner Robins at various events during the upcoming year. Teeny Miss: Millie McKenzie, winner; Willia Wren Amelia Elizabeth Littlefield, first runner-up; Mary-Margaret Waddell, second runner-up Tiny Miss: Brynn Elizabeth Owens, winner; Abbigale Maye Forbus, first runner-up; Caitlyn Emily Banks, second runner-up; Mary Katherine Cross, third runner-up Little Miss: Kinley Ann Pridgen, winner; Sidney Lyn Street, first runner-up; Carleigh Chastain, second runner-up; Halle Madison Green, third runner-up Junior Miss: Alyssa Forham, winner; Morgan Greir Glaser, first runner-up; Madison Elizabeth Jones, second runner-up Compiled by Alline Kent