Rose Queen Victoria Castellanos presides over her Royal Court, clockwise from Victoria’s left, Princesses Autumn Lundy, Audrey Cameron, Emi Powers, Shannon Larsuel, Natalie Petrosian, Maya Kawaguchi Khan at the 128th Rose Parade on Jan. 2, 2017. c2017 RLM
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Seven 17-year-old girls were chosen for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court on Oct. 4, 2016. Three months later, they glided along the Rose Parade route on seven black chairs that are better than thrones. They represented the Tournament, the City of Pasadena, and in a sense all the girls who dream of riding on the Queen and Court float one day. While the Rose Parade is the crowning event for the young women, that’s not all there is to being a princess.
The young women made some 100 appearances in that brief quarter of a year, and they gave up some of the things that make the senior year of high school so memorable. They learned to get along with each other—indeed, part of the selection process is choosing seven girls whose individual personalities will mesh—and they learned how to walk and speak and eat with the correct utensils. One young woman was chosen to be the 99th Rose Queen, a position that carries responsibilities and opportunities that last years beyond “her year.” Mostly, they inspired people, young and old alike.
The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game mark the end of their time as a Royal Court, but they will be called on occasionally for other events, including orienting the next crop of hopefuls in the fall, and many of them will remain friends. The Queen will take her place among previous queens who get together once a year or more to share experiences and help new queens in the years to come. Enjoy seeing the 2017 Royal Court in their beautiful gowns by Tadashi Shoji (which one former princess pointed out were too narrow to allow for warm clothes underneath) as they waved among the roses.
All photos copyright 2017 by Ramona Monteros