Posts Tagged ‘Disaster Girl

When Royals Go Bad: Prince Charles Chases Bubble Girl

- August 3rd, 2012

Charles-chases-girl

This photo is getting lots of attention on the Internet at the moment — and rightfully so: There’s a demented, surreal charm to the image of an intense little girl outrunning dodgy old Prince Charles to save her bubble-maker.

 

But, of course, the whole thing’s a fake.

 

The image of the little girl was busted first. She’s apparently known as “Bubble Girl” (her real identity is a mystery) and, according to the website knowyourmeme.com, her picture has been used to create memes of various kinds since it first appeared Aug. 22, 2009.

Bubble-girl-Aug

Here are some Bubble Girl creations:

bubble-girl-zombies,jpg

bubble_girl-dinosaurs

Her close-cropped figure (sometimes with bubbles, sometimes without) is usually Photoshopped onto scenes fraught with danger,  much like the better-known “Disaster Girl.”

disaster-girl

But we actually do know who “Disaster Girl” is: She’s Zoe Roth of Mebane, North Carolina, and her dad Dave took the photo in January 2004 when the local fire department held a training exercise by burning down a derelict house.

Photoshoppers around the world have taken care of the rest:

Disaster-girl-hindenburg

disaster-girl-courtney

disaster_girl_pepper_spray_cop

Disaster-girl-national-debt

But back to the prince and the bubble girl.

Charles-chases-girl

As Richard Lawson of theatlanticwire.com notes, “It’s an amazing image, full of glee and silliness with an odd dash of mystery and menace.”

Lawson (a wonderful writer on all things trash-cultural, I might add) goes on to say:

“We really wish Prince Charles had once chased a little bumblebee girl around some field while bubbles filled the air, but he didn’t. At least not this girl and not this field. Though, Prince Charles did, at some point, make that face and do that run-dance, so this is still in some ways an important, valid image.”

Well, I decided to track down the original source material of daffy Charlie for Richard. Here’s what I found (and passed on to theatlantic.com):

Charles was photographed July 19, 2012, running under a colourful parachute canopy while attending a youth rally on Guernsey in the Channel Islands during Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Here’s the original picture, taken by a royal pool photographer:

Charles-Guernsey-July-19-2012-QE2jubliee

And here’s a blow-up:

prince-charles-run-closeup

Note the hankie in Charlie’s breast pocket (and, of course, the fact that he’s running in the opposite direction) — the image has been flopped from the original to the Bubble Girl meme.

UPDATE: According to commenter Olly Cambridge, I’ve used the wrong frame of Prince Charles running: He’s absolutely right. Boy, is my face red — but then it often is (high blood pressure, you know). Thanks for setting me straight, Olly, and I apologize for not getting your comment up for a couple of days. I’ve been out of the country and haven’t been checking my e-mails. Here’s the right frame of Chuggin’ Charlie:

111-prince-charles

Sadly, in the real photo, Charles looks like a spry but addled elder being chased by his indulgent keeper, the Duchess of Cornwall. A case of life imitating art?

prince-charles-run-final

Run, Charlie, run — she’s gaining on you.