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Royal Wedding Girl (a.k.a “Royal Kiss Girl” and “Frowning Flower Girl”) is a nickname given to Grace Van Cutsem, a 3-year-old bridesmaid who was seen pouting on the side as Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the UK royal wedding ceremony. Along with Princess Beatrice’s gaudy pink hat, the photograph instantly spawned a series of photoshopped images depicting the girl placed into loud or obnoxious situations.
On April 29th, 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton officially got married and gave their first kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. When the couple decided to go for another kiss, a little girl was shown to their left, looking very displeased with her hands covered over her ears.
The girl was soon identified as a 3-year-old Grace van Cutsem, Prince William’s goddaughter who accompanied Kate Middleton as the bridesmaid. The UK media reported that she appeared so miserable in the picture because of the heavy commotion and applause surrounding the palace.
On Twitter, people started posting tweets by saying things like “somebody on the balcony wasn’t impressed by #TheRoyalKiss.” The first #RoyalWeddingGirl hashtag associated with the meme was tweeted by Andrew Spearin, who photoshopped the girl into the bottom left corner of a photo of Donald Trump giving a speech.
Buzzfeed posted one of the first photoshopping contest threads at 10:07 a.m. on April 29th:
3-year-old Grace Van Cutsem, the goddaughter of Prince William, was by far the best person at the Royal Wedding. Where else have you seen miserable little Grace?! Use our image overlay tool to photoshop her into various situations.
The news of frowning bridesmaid at the Royal Wedding was also picked up by internet culture blogs like The Daily What and Mashable, helping the photoshop meme propagate in similar fashion to Disaster Girl and Chubby Bubbles Girl. Similar image captioning contests were launched by Huffington Post and Perez Hilton all on the same day.
Shortly following the blog coverage, Royal Wedding Girl Tumblr blog, Official Facebook Page and novelty Twitter account were set up to compile and document the meme. In addition to several Facebook fan pages dedicated to “Royal Wedding Girl,” the official Facebook page for Grace Van Cutsem was launched to showcase more cheerful photographs of the girl.
Within hours of the ceremony, a slew of photoshopped images flooded online; the girl was superimposed into various situations that would cause anxiety or distress.
The Google Insights analysis of search queries for “Royal Wedding Girl” yields a highly visible spike across the months of April, May and June 2011, though its overall search volume was approximately half in comparison to queries for Princess Beatrice’s Royal Wedding Hat:
NBC Today – Digital Life – Royal wedding’s ‘Frowning Flower Girl’ rules Internet / Posted on 4-29-2011
Mashable – The Royal Wedding’s Best Meme? We Pick Frowning Flower Girl / Posted on 4-30-2011