Zara Phillips looks on during the Magic Millions barrier draw at Surfers Paradise
QUEENSLAND’S Gold Coast has always been the playground of nouveu riche playboys and glamorous woman with million-dollar smiles and faces that have not conveyed a legitimate emotion since the early 1990s. It has a reputation as a haven for ‘new money’: developers, club owners, retired sporting superstars and those that describe themselves with the dubious title of ‘entrepreneur’.
This week, however, a touch of international elegance and refinement has descended upon the city by the beach. Two princesses — one legitimate, one self-described — have made waves on the Gold Coast social scene, albeit with very different results. As a legitimate British princess continues to make a positive impression on the Australian public, a fallen princess of pop struggles to claw her way back from what many have described as a ‘disastrous’ performance on the Gold Coast last week.
Mariah Carey rang in the New Year on the Gold Coast with husband Nick Cannon and their two-year old twins as the troubled songstress continued the Australian leg of her world tour. It was here that the pop star made what anyone would consider a ‘rookie mistake’. Most people know not to schedule themselves to work on New Year’s Day, content to recover in a dark room with plenty of hydration without facing a single soul. Mariah, on the other hand, scheduled a concert in which she was described as being ‘out of breath’ and needing ‘regular rest breaks’.
Carey went on to continue her tour after the debacle of the Gold Coast show, and returned to the city for some rest and relaxation following the culmination of the Australian tour in Melbourne on 5 Januar. Instagram photos posted by the self-confessed diva show her tanned and toned on a local beach — 30 kilograms lighter after becoming spokeswoman for Jenny Craig following the birth of her twins.
With Mariah now working closely with fellow Queensland boy Keith Urban, we can only assume that it was his stellar recommendation that kept the allegedly difficult-to-please star coming back to the Sunshine State for more. The only other explanation is that Mariah thought she could possibly take lessons in how to impress from another ‘princess’ that flew into the Gold Coast this week: Olympic silver medallist and granddaughter to Queen Elizabeth II, Zara Phillips.
In a coup for the annual event, co-owners of the Magic Millions racing carnival Gerry Harvey and Katie Page-Harvey lured the British princess to the Gold Coast as ambassador for the Magic Millions Racing Women bonus, a $500 000 race within the carnival exclusively participated in by horses owned by women.
Despite the fact that Phillips is an actual princess, her down-to-earth attitude and easy-going nature has already proven to be a major hit with Gold Coast locals and those in the racing industry. Mid-way through making a speech at the Magic Millions barrier draw, the event’s MC interrupted the royal to remind the audience that the ‘grandmother’ she was referring to was, in fact, the Queen. Did Zara get her nose out of joint at the interruption? Did she storm off in a huff, as one would imagine a princess would?
She let out a loud “woo-hoo!”, laughed and continued on with her speech.
‘Our Zara’ has proven to be completely unaffected by her royal status, and the fact that she comes from one of the most famous families in the world (aside from the Kardashians). When asked what she was wearing to the Magic Millions on Saturday she responded by saying, “I don’t know, hopefully someone has got me something”. When asked by The Today Show presenter David Campbell whether the royal family spent Christmas together, she replied “We all get together and eat too much, just like normal people.”
Zara met husband Mike Tindall in Australia during the 2003 Rugby World Cup, where Tindall played in the English team that ultimately defeated Australia in one of the most crushing sporting defeats in Australian history. When told by an interviewer this week that Australians did not like to talk about that particular moment of defeat, Zara rolled her eyes and laughed before saying it was time Australians “let it go”. Even after growing up inside the bubble of the British royal family, a conversation with Zara is the kind of conversation you would expect to have in a pub rather than a palace.
Two princesses have spent the past few weeks on the Gold Coast. One is royal by birth, the other has ascended to the pantheon of musical royalty throughout her career. It is unfair to compare Zara and Mariah, as both come from entirely different worlds and backgrounds. Yet the question may still be asked: why does a British princess seem so much more approachable and fun than an American musician that was not born into a world of privilege? What turns an average person into a diva, and what keeps a princess’s feet tethered to the ground?