Dear China: Leave Kate Middleton alone. That's the message from outraged fans of the duchess after viewing a bizarre Chengdu tourism campaign poking fun at Middleton's royal status.
"I just don't understand why we cannot take the royal limo," complains an actress portraying Kate in a two-minute ad produced by the Chengdu Association for Cultural Exchange with Foreign Countries. "I didn't marry into royalty to schlep around in a taxi."
In the two-minute clip for the Panda Cabs, set to circulate throughout London during the Olympics, actors portraying Kate, Queen Elizabeth, and an uncanny version of Prince William (really, where did they find him?!) wait impatiently for a car to take them to the Queen's Jubilee. The ad goes on to portray Middleton as a royal gold-digger who did nothing to earn her fame and fortune, a criticism she's successfully tossed after a year of charming the public. "People want to see that they can be like us if they just work hard," faux Kate says in the ad.
'Like you did?' responds the faux queen, heavy on the snark.Ever since her wedding, Kate has been credited with reinvigorating the royal brand and heralded as the second coming of Lady Di. She's been praised for her low-key graciousness, her fashion-forward influence and her charitable efforts focused largely on helping young impoverished kids. She's also one-half of a contemporary Cinderella love story the world has begun mythologize.
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So it doesn't help when the actress playing Kate says of Will, "I didn't even fancy him at first."
"I think this is disgraceful," one Brit told UK's Express. "Where is the harmless fun in mocking such lovely people?"
"Only WE are allowed to ridicule our monarchy," said another.
"File this one under 'It seemed like a funny idea at the time…'" wrote The Blaze's Mike Opeka, describing the two-minute spot as "painful."
While the royal family will always have their internal critics, international satirists aren't as easily welcomed to the stage. It's kind of like moms: you can complain about her as much as you want but when other people chime in, they're asking for trouble.
But after recent reports of Kate's $55,000 wardrobe budget, not everyone outraged by the parody.
"The characterization of Kate is spot on," writes a Cambridge-based commenter on the Daily Mail's website. Even the British tabloid Grazia tweeted, "Who doesn't like a spoof?"
Obviously, the Chengdu tourism board agrees. In a response reported by The Express, a spokesperson for the tourism association called the now viral campaign "harmless fun."
But is it a little more than just fun? Relations between UK royals and Chinese officials haven't always been pleasant. Will's dad, Prince Charles, once described meeting China's president as "ridiculous rigmarole." And in 1986, on a state visit to the country, Prince Phillip made an offensive and not-soon-forgotten racist remark.
International relations aside, why would a spoof about the royals ultimately boost Chengdu's tourism?
As the world's number one destination for meeting pandas, Chengdu's tourism board missed a golden opportunity. A two-minute video of pandas on the Internet? Yes please. Will and Kate may have boosted tourism in their own country, but if England had more big cuddly bears, the newlyweds might not have had to work so hard.
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