Whether you're marrying a crown prince--or the blue collar man of your dreams--merging into a new family can be a royal challenge for most brides. So how should Kate (and the rest of us) best handle the reigning in-law court while managing to stay out of divorce court? We asked Regina Barreca, University of Connecticut Professor and author of "It's Not That I'm Bitter: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World" for her top five tips.
1. Pay Homage to the Bloodline.
Translation: You are not part of the Real Family: accept this. You will never been given the exact recipe for any family favorite: there will always been one key ingredient omitted or several degrees altered in terms of temperature. You are close to, but not part of , the original tribe. They will never say as much, but you should not fool yourself. Do what you do best: be a fabulously desirable and irreplaceable addition to the clan. Do not attempt to blend.
2. Respect Most Traditions.
Translation: Although you don’t have to adapt entirely—see #1—it would be wise to be appreciative of the Old Ways. They meet for dinner once a week? Go and eat heartily. They live in what they consider to be a castle? Admire the paintings over the sofa—or the throne. They want you to be a virgin? Tell them to go soak their heads. Some traditions are simply so outdated, so invasive, or so inexplicably controlling that they don’t merit respect. Choose your battles wisely.
3. What Happens in the Family Stays in the Family.
Translation: Nobody likes a tattle-tale, snitch, or a gossip. If you need to address an issue, make sure you do so at the home address before going elsewhere. Unless it’s emotionally harmful, psychologically damaging, or illegal in more than three states, try to deal with it among family members before taking it public.
4. Whenever You Can Manage It, Enjoy Yourself, Have a Laugh, and Smile.
Translation: There’s no reason to be in an intimate relationship with anybody—serf, servant, ruler, or regular guy--unless you’re having a good time. While not every day can be something out of a fairytale (okay, almost none), you should at least be able to get a good, funny story out of most afternoons to share with those you love. Let them know you’re mistress of your domain and that, unlike Queen Victoria, you are amused.
5. Be Your Fabulous Self.
Translation: there is no need for a translation. It’s clear, isn’t it? You’re exactly who you are meant to be and they are lucky to have you in the family. Never forget it.