As the Queen turned 90 in April and her official birthday is usually celebrated here in June it seems like a good time to revisit our mystery paper doll outfit from a few weeks ago. As we now know it came from a set featuring the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as children and was printed by Saalfield in the late 1930s. The gown in question was actually the one that Princess Elizabeth wore to her father’s coronation when he became George VI so we can date the paper dolls to after that. I believe 1939 was the year of publication.
Once we knew what we were looking for Naomi was able to find a vintage set of the dolls in good condition on eBay. The seller sent her a nice note explaining that the dolls had belonged to his mother. Naomi sent it to me so I will quote it here.
My mother told me that her mother was very much an Anglophile, having been born in Canada. She made my mother and her sister get up in the middle of the night to listen to the abdication speed of King Edward on the radio.
I guess that’s where my mother got her interest in the dolls you now have. Enjoy!
We thought that was a nice story. It’s fun to collect reproduction dolls and paper dolls but when you get the vintage ones you also sometimes get the stories and for me that is a big part of doll collecting. I know that Naomi feels the same about the things that she collects too.
Now I’m going to show you the dolls and some of their outfits.
The first thing we noticed is what beautiful art work this is. The girls and their pets look as if they were hand coloured, they are like portraits. It would be interesting to know what the artist had to work with; probably photographs. We haven’t found out who the artist was yet so we’ll need to do a little research on who was working for Saalfield at the time. In 1939 Princess Elizabeth was thirteen, this was the year that she met Prince Phillip then a young naval officer.
Princess Margaret, born in August 1930, would have been about nine years old but possibly the girls are portrayed as a little younger here. I am glad that they are well covered as the sight of the Queen in her knickers would have made me a bit uneasy.
Princess Margaret, or Margaret Rose as she was often called with a selection of her wardrobe.
Finally the infamous Coronation Robes. They are really long and the trains we think are meant to be folded on the ground in front of the doll as that seems to be the only way they will fit. When I first saw the gown I thought it was for an adult doll because of its size but I was thinking of the wrong Coronation. I was thinking that it was worn perhaps by the Queen Mum at her daughters Coronation in June 1953 but it was really at the coronation of George VI in1936. One night a week or so ago, after I had written this post I was watching a documentary about King George VI and they showed old footage of the King, the Queen and the Princesses on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after the coronation and yes, they were wearing the very same robes.
It does seem strange to think that Queen Elizabeth II has been our Queen for longer than I have been alive but not as strange as it will seem when she is gone.
Anyway I hope you have enjoyed this right royal post.