From Hair to Eternity: Enjoy Royal Hair on a Budget

Until this week I had relatively little in common with the Duchess of Cambridge.

Yes, we both come from a long line of coal miners and sure, we’d both bought pieces from Hobbs’ Dalmatian print range back in 2013, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Until this week.

As of last Tuesday, we share a person.

The same lips to graze Kate’s cheeks have now grazed mine. The same hands to tousle Kate’s hair have tousled mine.

Before you get excited, I didn’t ambush Prince William on the school run. This has nothing to do with His Royal Highness.

No, what I’ve enjoyed and what Kate gets regularly is a bloody good blow out from Richard Ward.

Richard is the Duchess’s preferred hair stylist. It was he who wrestled her thick, coal miner’s locks into a princess style demi-chignon for the Royal Wedding back in 2011.

It’s thanks to Richard that Kate maintains consistent colour even though, with two children, one on the way and a husband in receipt of state hand-outs, it must be turning grey.

My hair has always been a source of disappointment to me. Yes, I’m naturally blonde, but blonde hair is naturally fine.

That’s the polite term. The term hairdressers use to comfort you.

What they mean is ‘thin.’

Thin hair is difficult to style and your hairdresser has to pretend that it isn’t.

When I was little I had very long, white blonde hair. It was the sort of hair that Greek taverna owners went mad for.

I was handed over to strangers many times by my parents who were flattered to hear me described as an angel. The strangers would take me off to their homes to show me to their friends and relatives for good luck.

When I was twelve, I decided this state of affairs could not be allowed to continue.

Lady Diana was on the scene, rocking her short hair. The term ‘layers’ became part of our schoolgirl lexicon.

I went for some of Lady Di’s short layers.

That’s when I learnt my first lesson about fine hair.

Long, fine hair has a certain weight which, working with the laws of gravity, keep it straight and controlled, if a little flyaway in humid weather.

Short fine hair goes curly.

My hair went curly. But not in a cool, tight, ringletty way. More in the Mollie Sugden-straight-outta-bed way.

It took four years to grow it out. That’s four years of upsetting school photos and one decade-long passport regret.

By the sixth form I’d regained long, blonde hair and thus I remained until I had children.

Children give short hair  a new appeal.

“To hell with the Rapunzel look,” I thought. “It’s time to reject the patriarchal ideal of long-haired femininity!”

Rapunzel had all day to wash and dry her hair. Rapunzel wasn’t followed to the bathroom by two toddling boys. Rapunzel was being wooed by a prince and didn’t have to worry herself about domestic chores.

My life was no fairy tale.

So I cut my hair. I went for what was known in the early noughties as the JBF. (Look it up if you need to; I told my mother it stood for ‘Just a Bit Flustered’ when she asked.)

It was easy to maintain and I loved it.

When I took on a small TV presenting role, somebody made the observation that short hair is ‘awfully ITV.’

I grew a bob as fast as I could.

That bob took me into my forties. But it always looked better on the telly than it did in real life.

So I’ve let my hair grow again.

My long hair may not be as thick as Kate’s but it is fun. I can do messy up-dos, French plaits and pony tails.

And, since I was last long-haired, some great products have come onto the market.

Richard Ward has created some himself. And he literally showered me with them on Tuesday.

When I left his reassuringly expensive Chelsea salon I left with volume and soft curls.

I’d gone in with hair and come out with style.

And I am here to tell you that the stuff he put on my hair which made it feel royally gorgeous is affordable and available in Waitrose.

At £5.99 for the shampoo and the same for the conditioner, you don’t even have to tell yourself it’s a treat.

How about that for Happy Ever After!

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