PRINCE WILLIAM APPEARED ON A MAGAZINE COVER WITH HIS HAIR LOSS “COVERED UP”, A PHOTOSHOOT FIXED WITH PHOTOSHOP.
Britain’s Prince William appeared on the cover of Hello! magazine in mid-February 2010 and precipitated the kind of snippy press coverage associated with a real scandal. What was the prince’s crime? The unforgivable sin of disguising his balding pate through the magic of Photoshop.
“Prince William’s thinning hair got the royal treatment,” Us magazine crowed on February 16. “Didn’t he have less hair the last time we saw him ? New York magazine wanted to know. “It is all the more striking because it [the photograph] was taken just before his royal tour of Australia, where a gust of wind left onlookers in no doubt about his thinning crown,” according to The Daily Mail. And Dlisted.com weighed in that “it looks like they sprayed the top of his head with canned hair.”
The whole brouhaha is another reminder that royal teacups seem to find themselves shaken by tempests on an alarmingly frequent basis.
Of course, no one knows whether the “cover-up” was done by request of the prince or the instigation of the photographer or because the magazine itself wished it. But assuming for the moment that it reflects the wishes of His Royal Highness, it’s hardly a crime. Every man wants to be perceived physically in the manner with which he is most comfortable. If for William that means disguising any hair loss, that is his personal decision.
For a member of the royal family, however, there are very few decisions that are really personal — witness the flap over whether his duty with the Royal Air Force (RAF) would include time in a war zone. Every action of his is fodder for the press. So let’s take an imaginary look at the possible results of “The Royal Photoshop Ruckus.”
The Royal Photoshop Ruckus
1. A leading British tabloid features front-page coverage with headlines such as “Royal Heir’s Royal Hairs Roil Air Force,” pushing part 278 of its in-depth investigation “Alien Intervention: The Real Story of Michael Jackson’s So-Called Death” to page 2 and causing circulation to plummet.
2. Buckingham Palace is inundated with letters from girls in the upper fifth and sixth form who have read the article and are now tearfully pleading for a lock of Prince William’s hair “while he still has some to spare.”
3. Queen Elizabeth, annoyed that Hello! apparently considers William’s hair more important than her announcement concerning the dangers of improper use of imported tea cosies, tells Prince Charles he bloody better box his eldest son’s ears “till they ring like the chimes of Big Ben.”
4. Prince Charles follows the queen’s instructions, adding an extra boxing out of jealousy because he hasn’t received a fan letter from a sixth former in decades. Prince William responds with an unkind comment concerning his father’s genes, as well as a truly unbecoming comment about Charles’s comb-over. (Not cricket that, Willy.)
5. Though it’s terribly small minded, Prince Charles takes his revenge by ensuring that William’s upcoming RAF operational tour of duty is switched from cushy Bournemouth to the not-quite-so-cushy Sunni Triangle in Iraq.
But what might have been the ramifications of not covering up, of admitting that, like so many other men, Prince William is losing hair? Here is an equally imaginary look at what might have happened had William’s little bald spot been allowed to see the light of the camera flash.
The ramifications of not covering up hair loss
1. Without the distraction of Billy’s hair, the media could have focused attention on the International Pancake Race between the women of Liberal, Kan., and those of Olney in England, paving the way for even greater cooperation between our two countries.
2. Those outlets that did decide to take notice of Hello! on that day could have focused on how incredibly pasty Prince William looked, perhaps leading Parliament to pass a law requiring all English schoolchildren to spend at least two hours each day in the sunshine (or three in the fog).
3. If by chance His Royal Highness’s hair loss was noticed, a truly enterprising tabloid reporter could have expounded on his admiration for the prince’s willingness to simply be himself and how it was commendable for him to demonstrate that a man’s appeal lies in his total package, rather than in the strands upon his head. This would have the added benefit of appealing to the reporter’s boss, Rupert Murdoch, who himself sports a bit of balding pate.
4. William’s superiors in the RAF, who perhaps have heretofore jealously thought of him as a tad lightweight, might now think him “a bit of alright” for showing some scalp and might give him assignments that really challenge him. (They also might treat him to a pint or two of bitter, which I must say is always pleasant.)
5. Queen Elizabeth might see how mature and confident William has become, which would ease her mind about the man who is second in line for the throne. This in turn would allow her to sleep a bit better, which would make her less cranky — and that’s something we can all use in a monarch.
Seriously, the state of the royal pate is a truly minor matter, and the prince should handle his hair loss in whatever manner he deems best. But one does hope that the potential future king of England has the wisdom to see that what is inside his head is infinitely more important than what is on the outside.