Real Life Princesses – an Interview with the Author

Hey GirlMoguls – we recently told you about the treasury of Real Life Princesses – a new book series about real life queens and princesses.  We got to ask a few questions about the series with the author Shirin Yin:

1.       What do you think girls can learn about leadership from this series

Well, in a way these princesses leave us without excuses. Some of them came from times and cultures where the barriers against women being able to lead were enormous compared to those we still face today. When Artemisia was a child, girls were supposed to stay inside the house. Nur Jahan came from a culture where she was never supposed to even show her face. Even in Ancient Egypt, where women had many rights compared to other parts of the ancient world, and where there had been many powerful queens, Hatshepsut was the first queen to say “I’m doing the work, I should get the recognition” and declare herself Pharaoh.

2.       These princesses were important because of who they, but they never would have gotten a chance to “shine” if they hadn’t been born to or married the “right” person – what can the modern girl take away from this?

Well, I’m not sure that’s quite true. It would be unfair to think that these girls had it easy—that their paths were greased just because they were princesses. No doubt there were many advantages to being a princess, not least their proximity to power, but, you also have to remember, for example, that of all the Ancient Greek princesses over hundreds if not thousands of years, Artemisia is the only one that we know of who found a way to learn how to sail a ship! She is the only one we know of who led a navy. And then, as the sole woman surrounded by a cohort of men, she outshone them, not only with her prowess, but with her courage and honesty. In fact, in Ancient Greece, as in many cultures, the higher your birth, the more secluded you often were.

 

So I think the point here is that each one of these princesses did what even other princesses had failed to do. The modern message is that whatever the limitations you face, however much or little is expected of you, however hard or easy your particular position in society makes it, you can do more than that. You can do what nobody might expect of you—and everything that you want and expect for yourself.

3.       Do you have a favorite princess? If so, why

I think Qutlugh is my favorite princess because she betters the traditional fairy-tale. Here’s a princess who was beautiful—so beautiful that wars were fought over her. But better than that, she was wise—so wise that the people overturned tradition and asked her to stay on as their ruler. How fabulous then that what she is remembered for is neither her beauty nor her wisdom. Instead, she is remembered for her compassion, for proving time and again that there was room for mercy. I love that! In my opinion, beauty’s not a bad thing to have, wisdom’s even better, but the best thing, surely, is to be kind.

4.       Do you think there are things girls can do – even when they’re “young” to get themselves ready for success, or greatness?

I’d say, pay attention. Look around you and think about you see. What is good? What is fair? Why are people doing the things they’re doing? And look inside you. What do you like? What interests you? It’s easiest to be successful when you are following a passion. And to be great, I think you need to know what you stand for.

5.       Anything else you would like share or highlight?

For those of your readers who might not have heard of us before, I’d like to invite them to check us out at www.goosebottombooks.com. For those of your readers who are already fans, I’m happy to share the news that we are launching a new series, The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Dastardly Dames, this October!

 

Princesses for Real

Hey GirlMoguls – unless you have been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard that there’s a pretty big wedding happening over in Merry ole England. Prince William, the heir to the throne of England is marrying Kate Middleton (who is not a princess or royalty of any kind – ’cause she wasn’t born that way).

While everyone is speculating over the flavor of the wedding cake and what the bride will wear (we’re umm guessing it’s a dress), we thought you might want to hear about some real princesses – (ok so Kate will be a real Princess, but in case you haven’t noticed, royals these days don’t have that much to do — most countries with princes and princesses also have other forms of elected government.)

Maybe when you were a little girl, you dreamed of becoming a princess – by marrying a prince…or being discovered by a fairy godmother or some other sort of magic.  And well, then you grew up, and you probably realized that the openings for princesses are pretty few and far between – and it looks like one is just about to get taken.

Besides – do you know what princesses do all day – well neither do we…in fact, being a princess today seems a lot less interesting than it used to be.  In case you haven’t noticed, most kings and queens – and princesses – and been pushed aside in favor of presidents, premiers and prime ministers…all forms of elected government.

Good news is that you don’t have to be born a president – or marry one to become one – you can get there all on your own.  But it takes hard work, skill, brains…you know real stuff.

Which is why we thought you might like to take some lessons from the past – from real queens and princesses – who ruled lands, directed economies, negotiated treaties and led armies – pretty cool – huh.  Sure they probably had nicer clothes than everyone else, but that wasn’t all they cared about.

To help us learn all about these power women of yore, we’re digging deep into a new book series for tweens, called the Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses by ShirinYim.  In this series, she profiles 6 kick booty rulers from the past.  So in honor of the royal wedding, we’re featuring  the 6 princesses in this series.  Each is the subject of a book by Shirin Yim Bridges that you can buy on Amazon or at any fine bookstore.

Princess Hatshepsut of Egypt

Princess Hatshepsut was the daughter of a Pharaoh, born around 1500 BC. She had two older brothers, but both died before they could claim the throne.  Her father, the king had quite a problem on his hand…in Ancient Egypt women couldn’t rule.  So he married her to one of her half brothers (icky to us, but normal for Egyptian royalty).  After the death of her “husband” Hatshepsut became Pharaoh in her own right, even dressing like a man to make sure her subjects got the idea who was really in charge.

Hatshepsut ruled for many years and helped make Egypt one of the richest countries in the ancient world – by building up trade with other countries instead of fighting wars.  She ruled for 22 years, but after her death, her name mysteriously vanished from history, until it was uncovered by modern scholars.

While there are many theories about why, the most probable is that the Ancient Egyptians weren’t too keen on having another Queen – so they pretended like it had never happened…Well, thanks goodness for modern day Egyptologists and their unveiling of Hatshepsut….you can get the book here….Hatshepsut of Egypt – The Thinking Girl’s Treasury of Real Princesses

Nefertiti – lost to history?

The famous bust of Nefertit gets a CT Scan
The famous bust of Nefertit gets a CT Scan

Hi GirlMoguls – it’s Rose, and I hope you’re close to wrapping up Sphinx’s Princess – we’ll be posting some more about the actual book but I wanted to follow up on the Truth or Fiction part of Nefertiti’s life…In my last post I gave you some deets on what historians think they really know about her life – how her father was probably Ay (who later became a Pharaoh himself) and her sister really was Bit-Bit…and how she married the Pharaoh Akhenaten and changed Ancient Egypt’s religious practices.    Nefertiti was a powerful queen – she is often shown in paintings in poses usually reserved for pictures of a Pharaoh.  Historians and scholars think this means she was revered as one powerful lady, perhaps even considered a co-regent (or ruler) along with her husband.

But then something happened….After the 14th year of Pharaoh Akhenaten’s reign, all historical references to Nefertiti disappear – like she was totally forgotten.  At first, a lot of historians thought that she fell into disgrace (nobody knew why) and all references to her were erased by later Pharaoh’s – pretty harsh if you ask me.  Now, though, most scholars think that it was different wife of Akhenaten (Pharaoh’s usually had one main wife and many “minor” ones, though regular Egyptian men seemed to stick with just one wife at a time…)

Anyhoo…now people believed that Akhenaten probably died and that Nefertiti changed her name to Ankhkheperure Neferneferuaten and then to Ankhkheperure Smenkhkare  (no one is sure why…)  and ruled on her own, while getting her daughter and her daughters husband Tutankhamun (yep, that King Tut) ready to become the Pharaoh.  And as it turns out, Tut was her stepson too – apparently the ancient Egyptians didn’t have a problem with princesses and princes marrying close family members…

Well, even with her being the stepmother of King Tut, possibly the most famous mummy in Egyptian history, no one knows for sure what happened to Nefertiti – some scientists think they have identified a mummy found in tomb known as KV35 (in the Valley of the Kinfgs) as Nefertiti.  Others aren’t so sure – claiming that mummy is really a man.   It doesn’t look like this mystery will be solved any time soon, as there isn’t enough DNA from a mummy of say a known daughter of Neferititi with any of these unknown mummies – thereby proving that one of them could indeed be the Queen…Did you know they could do DNA testing on mummies – pretty cool if you ask me….

So that’s what happened to Nefertiti – sort of – in other words, we might never know for sure all the little details about Nefertiti, but I think we can pretty much conclude from what we do know that she was one powerful lady.  So next time you’re looking for a girl power hero, you can go back, way back in time.

Stay tuned for some more fun posts about Sphinx’s Princess…

GirlMogul Rose
GirlMogul Rose

Posted by GirlMogul Rose