Go on, be honest, just how triggered were you by that question?
Once upon a time, the suggestion I was either would have enraged me. My association with the two were both incredibly destructive and not representative of the person I wanted to be. Being a Princess was associated with being spoilt, immature and squeaky voiced. Being a Queen was to be vindictive and cruel. Our cultural bias is largely responsible for this and there is a plentiful supply of evidence in stories and movies to support it too.
And yet there was a time in my life when I was a Princess. Completely centred around a sense of self. Discovering the world through a filter that determined certain jobs were meant for others, certain behaviours were judged to be unbecoming, and I had a really strong sense of entitlement. I was also focused on having fun, living in every moment, and blissfully unaware of how dangerous or cruel the real world was. The remarkable thing for me is that, on reflection, I was totally oblivious to any of this!
Fast forward a few decades and I find myself living with a Princess, my daughter. She is an Amazonian-like Princess filled with a fiery energy, a strong sense of self and and impenetrable belief that she is entitled. In all honesty, she can wind me up like no other and there have been times when I have genuinely feared the monster I’d birthed. Bearing witness to her unleashing fury and sense of injustice is impossibly difficult to stomach sometimes and I’ve struggled to be the Queen she needs. My Princess also has a breathtaking ability to find forgiveness and her love of life is intoxicating, she is largely unscarred by life and creates the most beautiful things.
To understand the Princess, is to understand all parts of her. The shadow side of Princess is vitally important for a full expression of Princess to be realised if she is to grow into a powerful Queen. This is particularly useful for the maternal Queen, assisting her with understanding the growth of her Princess. And, of course, Queen remembers her Princess days. A Queen’s role now is to provide a safe place for the Princess (and/or Prince) to grow, especially during the period of transition into her own Queen when she will ultimately create a realm of her own. In the meantime, however, the Princess shines a bright light on the beauty and elegance of life and the world we inhabit. She is divine, lovely and quite captivating. She can be both breath-taking and impossible to tie down. Even a maturing Princess is not yet interested in the needs of the realm and has little patience for telling of stories. She is happiest surrounded by nature and beautiful things and dismissive of people or things of lesser quality. She is loving and caring from a place of innocence and yet has little empathy for those she judges unworthy.
Understanding these conflicting dynamics, has changed how my Queen shows up in my relationship with my daughter. Sure, I can be an “off with your head” Queen who spits rage and seeks vengeance and I feel great pain when I’ve unleashed on her. Sometimes it’s hard to find forgiveness and reset the balance that has been lost. Understanding this has also helped me to see that it’s vital that I remain her Queen until she is ready to be one herself. At that time our relationship will transcend to a new place, where we will seek counsel from each other.
Of course, we’ve no way of knowing when this transition is going to happen. It will be dependent on a number of factors including, time, experience and learning. There are people who spend much of their adult lives as Princesses, transforming into Queen much later in life. There are also a small number of women who spend their entire lives being Princesses. Now, watch your internal bias here. Not all Princesses are unbearable self-serving narcissists.
Think of the energetic, happy, innocent, naïve and delicate women who shine a light on love and laughter and carefree living. They are beautiful and generous and untouched by life’s barbs. We love them, protect them and feel enriched by their attentions. It’s perfectly fine to remain a Princess all of your days, you are part of the balance of life, without you, we’d forget to live, laugh and love abundantly. We just won’t be coming to you for wisdom or to feel safe and that’s ok.
So, are you a Queen or a Princess? Learning the difference could become the catalyst to learning your own leadership style. If you reflect on it, (and perhaps without even consciously considering yourself as a leader) do you find you’ve been in a leading role in pretty much every area of your life?
I believe that the archetypal Queen is a key component in any leadership opportunity. Queens are not born; they are nurtured and so too are Leaders. So, it’s possible to believe then that just as we can transcend from Princess to Queen, so too can we transcend from realm dwellers to Leaders. Each and every one of us have the ability to lead powerfully if we choose to embrace the transition. By accessing our Queen, we can become decisive and wise and lead our businesses, families and communities with purpose and passion. If you’re still a Princess but feel the transition calling you, then I invite you to step into it bravely, and find a Queen to support you while you grow.