Royal dolls get their car back 50 years on
By Caroline Davies

Der Bericht stammt aus dem "electronic Telegraph" der online Ausgabe des britischen "Daily Telegraph"
http://www.telegraph.co.uk

  Two remarkable dolls, symbols of Britain's strong alliance with France on the eve of World War Two, were reunited yesterday with their custom-made sports car for the first time in 50 years.
  Mlle France and Mlle Marianne, modelled by Jumeau, one of France's most famous doll-makers, were presented to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to mark a four-day visit to France in 1938, the first state visit undertaken by the new King and Queen. Complete with 350 haute couture outfits designed by the leading Parisian couturiers of the Thirties,along with accessories and their own miniature Citroen cabriolet,they were gifts to Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret from "all the children of France".

Both 3ft dolls, their car and a selection from their wardrobe are now on display at Windsor Castle. The dolls, part of the Royal Collection, were presented by the French foreign minister, Georges Bonnet, during a visit intended to consolidate the alliance of the democracies against the fascist threat.

At the time, newspapers eulogised about their significance. "If their fame has hitherto been a little overshadowed by the grosser and noisier links that bind the two countries together, their influence will spread far and wide," wrote The Times.

The dolls' 5ft Citroen 7B Traction Avant cabriolet, in French racing blue, was a symbol of French innovation, being a two-seater version of the first front-wheel-drive car invented by Citroen in 1934. It has been kept at the Queen's Norfolk estate at Sandringham for the past 50 years.

But it was the wardrobe that caught the imagination of Princess Elizabeth, then 12, and her eight-year-old sister. The elaborate trousseaux included outfits for all occasions - floaty dresses for garden parties, Ascot gowns, dazzling party frocks, yachting outfits, negligees and silk mackintoshes - all in different colours to suit Mlle France, a blonde, and Mlle Marianne, a brunette.

Accompanying the dresses were hand-made lingerie, parasols, umbrellas, raincoats and bathing costumes, as well as 22 pairs of shoes fashioned from satin, crepe de Chine and gold or silver kid, matched with handbags and 56 pairs of gloves.

The dresses were exact replicas of the Parisian season's biggest successes. There are outfits by Worth, Lanvin, Rochas, Rouff and Vionnet Cartier fashioned the jewellery. There are cases by Vuitton, handbags by Hermes and perfumes by Lancome and Guerlain.The huge crate in which the dolls were delivered to Buckingham Palace also included perambulators and a dressing table set of tortoiseshell and ivory.

Faith Eton, a doll expert who has spent years researching the items, said: "The Princesses were delighted with their gift, but did not have much opportunity to play with the dolls as they immediately went on exhibition for charities."

The dolls were commissioned by the Societe Francaise de Fabrication de Bebes et Joulet. The bodies are wooden and fully jointed, and the heads are of porcelain. The eyes were specially made by M Peigne, the Parisian maker of artificial human eyes.





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