Recognizing and reminiscing previous princesses: A new series sheds some light

Moriah Schervone ('11)/ Eastside Global Commentary Editor

Princesses, tiaras, gowns and fairy tales all seem more like fiction, less like reality. Yet when faced with newfound princesses like Kate Middleton, we are bound to question the job of a princess and what these ladies do.

Today, they appear as figureheads, charity givers, and chairs of boards. As far as we mortals know, they do not seem to be well ahead of the times or to exceed expectations. Rather, the princesses today are hardly well known—unless they wear a $400,000 dress on their wedding day.

A new series of books, geared to and inspiring young girls, teaches us what it truly means to be an honorable princess. The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses proves that at least six princesses do not fit the fantastical mold we give princesses.

The stories of Artemisia of Carla, Sorghaghtani of Mongolia, Qutlugh Cerkan Khatun of Kivman, Isabella of Castile, Nur Jahan of India, and Hatshepsut of Egypt all prove that the title of “Princess” does not discount a life of hardship and perseverance.

Artemisia of Carla in Ancient Greece was a brave ruler who played a key role in the Persian Wars at a time when women were mean not to be listened to, but to listen. Never afraid to speak her mind, she alone was honest with the most feared leader of Persia and won his respect.

Sorghaghtani of Mongolia brought charity to a whole new level. Once given the chance to rule in the 13th century, she was able to turn poor lands to rich. She used respect and wit to gain a platform for becoming a revolutionary leader for Mongolia.

Qutlugh Cerkan Khatun of Kivman went through several kidnappers before ending up as a princess. She became so loved and respected by the people that after her husband died, they requested her as the next leader of 13th century Persia.

Isabella of Castile is the princess with the most impact on our own lives. She brought Spain together through her marriage to Ferdinand and sent Columbus on his journey to find India. She took initiative to become an effective ruler and did not wait in her castle for a knight in shining armor.

Nur Jahan of India became a ruler through love, as the respect and admiration her husband held earned her a very high position in government. She advocated for an increase in women liberties and further organized the country. Nur Jahan was repected so much so that she was the first woman to be honored on a coin in a Muslim country.

Hatshepsut of Egypt was buried in the Valley of Kings instead of the Valley of Queens—she was Egypt’s first pharaoh at a time when women were not considered as rulers. Interestingly enough, a portion of her treasures was in the famous Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Although meant for the targeted audience of 9 to 13, the morals, meaning and images are for far beyond that age range. The depth and detail of the content seems more appropriate for an older age group that would be able to more easily interpret and appreciate the stories. The princesses of today should strive to go above their expected duties, but more importantly, the lessons learned should inspire girls of every ages and status.