Mattel's newest Barbie doll is literally fit for a queen. Sculpted in the likeness of Britain's longest-reigning monarch, the new Barbie Signature Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Doll celebrates her 70 years of service and reflects her love of fine jewelry. The toy company released the collectible on the Queen's 96th birthday, April 21.
Jewelry lovers will notice right away that Mattel's designers paid extreme attention to the miniature queen's blingy accessories, which include a replica of the iconic headpiece called the "Queen Mary Fringe Tiara." Elizabeth wore this tiara on her wedding day in 1947.
"I loved working on the accompanying jewelry, being a fan of the Crown Jewels myself," noted Robert Best, Senior Director of Barbie Design. "I've been fortunate to see the actual Crown Jewels in the Tower of London Museum! It was a cool opportunity to recreate some of them in miniature. I worked closely with (Product Design Manager) Monica LaValle, who did the technical drawings that were then translated by our sculptors."
Mattel explained on its website that each of the jewelry pieces has a history and a meaning, which was important for Robert, Monica and the sculpting team to get just right.
"The tiara is based on Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara, and the little medallions on ribbons are the Royal Family Orders," Best said. "The pink ribbon was given to the Queen by her father George VI, and the pale blue by her grandfather George V. Creating miniatures of all the jewelry did have some challenges, as capturing the details becomes increasingly difficult at such a small scale. I think Monica and the sculpting team did an amazing job and I love the way they turned out!"
The actual, full-size Fringe Tiara was originally crafted in 1919 for Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary, by royal jewelers Garrard and Co. The diamonds adorning the 47 vertical bars of the tiara were harvested from diamond necklaces given by Queen Victoria to Mary on the occasion of her wedding in 1893.
Fun Fact: In 1947, a hair stylist accidentally snapped the frame of the Fringe Tiara while assisting Elizabeth with her wedding attire just before she was scheduled to head out to Westminster Abbey for the ceremony.
Fortunately, a jeweler from Garrard and Co. was standing by in case of an emergency. Legend has it that the jeweler was rushed back to his workshop via police escort. There, he quickly mended the tiara and returned it to Elizabeth just in time.
During the Queen’s long reign, she has generously lent the Fringe Tiara to the young brides of the royal family, including Princess Anne and Princess Beatrice.
Best added that the miniature gown is not a copy of any one dress the queen wears, but rather a gown inspired by the style and color of gown that she's favored in royal portraits of herself for the past several years.
He said, "If you look at those portraits or how she dresses for important events, she very much has a signature style and look – always a very simple design in white or ivory, which makes sense given that she must then wear all the accompanying jewelry and sash as befits her rank."
The Gold Label Queen Elizabeth II Doll is available for $75, with a limit of three dolls per person.
Credits: Barbie Signature Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Doll images courtesy of Mattel. Queen Elizabeth II portrait Photograph taken by Julian Calder for Governor-General of New Zealand, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.