Back in 1959, Queen Elizabeth had been on the throne for seven years when another global icon made her debut. In the decades since the Barbie doll hit the shelves, she has become a stand-in for the aspirations of young girls across the world. Now that the queen has reigned for 70 years, the pair are finally going to meet. To commemorate this year’s Platinum Jubilee and the Queen’s 96th birthday this week, toy company Mattel is launching a new Queen Elizabeth collectible Barbie doll.
The doll is the second in Barbie’s Tribute Collection series, which launched last August with a Lucille Ball doll, and it comes packaged in its very own model of the Buckingham Palace throne room. The designers reached for realism in dressing her in a silky, ivory dress similar to the ones the real Queen has worn in portraits throughout her life. She features a sash bearing her Royal Family Order medallions, honors given privately from the sovereign to members of the family—blue from her grandfather, George V, and pink from her father, George VI.
In a nod to five generations of Windsor women, she is wearing the Queen Mary fringe tiara, which once belonged to her grandmother and her mother. The queen wore the tiara on her own wedding day and then loaned it to her daughter, Princess Anne, and her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, on their big days.
It’s not the first time that the team behind Barbie has modeled a doll off of a British monarch. In 1995, Mattel released an Elizabethan Queen Barbie in their Great Era Collection, and it wore a metallic ball gown, and a Tudor-era ruff on her collar, and a crown.
According to Kate Williams, a London based history professor and television presenter, the Platinum Jubilee is a perfect moment to look back on the progress women have made during the queen’s unparalleled reign. “Barbie is an icon, timeless, inspiring, recognized around the world and the Queen is an icon too,” she said. “They are two of the world’s most recognizable women—and now they are joined together in this doll. Barbie has always been a queen; now she is Queen Elizabeth II.”
She added that the doll can have a role beyond simply honoring England’s longest reigning queen. “It’s incredibly important for children to see female leaders who have impacted history in their dolls, from Frida Kahlo to Amelia Earhart and now the Queen, it brings home the importance of women’s contribution to the world, the impact of women as leaders, creators and pioneers, that women’s achievements are important and should be celebrated,” she said.
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