I think we all can agree that Meghan Markle is going to be a beautiful bride. I think we also can find common ground in the observation that Ms. Markle is among one of the busiest people on the planet at this moment. With the fairy-tale wedding swiftly approaching, the actress is most likely drawing upon all of her thespian training to approximate a serene and composed fiancée. Deep down, she is more akin to a nervous Nellie rather than a sedate Sarah. “Stay calm and keep a stiff upper lip” is the British mantra that the bride-to-be has adopted. Right on her heels, vying for second place as busy, scrambling, planning, and nuptial arranging are the designers at Ashton-Drake Galleries. The Illinois-based creative team will have their actual Meghan and Harry Royal Romance dolls online by 5 p.m. on May 19. It is a remarkable undertaking, and one that will be defying all odds as they make the ensembles in record time.
When I heard from Ashton-Drake’s Kathy Wilhelm, I couldn’t believe how the designers would be sketching and stitching, drawing and diagramming in real time. But that is absolutely what they have planned for Saturday, May 19. While royal watchers and curious onlookers view the wedding on TV for escapism and entertainment, the Ashton-Drake team will be viewing it for the template of their dolls’ clothing, accessories, hairstyling, and every other nuanced detail.
According to Wilhelm, the company’s senior marketing manager, “The moment the bride and groom arrive at Windsor Castle, the team will leap into action to meet an incredibly tight deadline. Wielding needle, thread, fabrics, and brushes, they’ll create exclusive dolls with custom outfits inspired by the royal couple’s attire.”
The artists in Niles, Illinois, will be taking note of every piece of jewelry, twist of hair, style of shoe, and floral bouquet. They will strive to make their bisque dolls as close to the real deal as possible. Between noon and 2 p.m. (EDT), the dolls will begin to be revealed to the public. Currently, Ashton-Drake has them available as a pre-order item.
Because of the time difference between Illinois and Britain, the Ashton-Drake team will be congregating to start their day’s work even before the sun rises on the 19th. A videographer has been assigned to capture the office’s burst of bridal excitement and energy. Realizing that the team is under a great deal of pressure, Wilhelm is certain that the professionals will rise to the challenge. Plus, she’s 100% confident that Meghan Markle will not disappoint her fans on both sides of the Atlantic.
“With Meghan’s sense of style, I know her dress and accessories will be breathtaking and talked about for years to come. I can’t wait to see our artisans’ creations,” she told me.
Even though that Saturday will be a workday for Wilhelm and her colleagues, she admits she can’t help but feel the blissful buzz that precedes a storybook ceremony. “This will truly be a magical day of watching a fairy-tale wedding in the morning, and then being a part of the team that will bring the beauty of the day to life in porcelain dolls,” she shared. “I am very excited for the wedding of Meghan and Harry, and more details will be released to the press on May 21,” Wilhelm told me.
I can’t wait to see the finished products as well. And, truthfully, I feel a bit odd calling the portrait dolls “products.” When we have all watched this courtship emerge and evolve, the dolls are more than just collectible. I firmly believe they are part of our collective consciousness—a testament that unexpected dreams and surprising partners can be real. These dolls will appeal to the romantic who resides within all of us.
Related Dolls Chronicle post:
Megan Mania: Which doll will be first in the new Royal Wedding Race?
Read about more Royal Wedding collectibles:
Meghan in Mohair: Will the future American Princess become a teddy bear?
Royal Wedding 2018: A love affair for bear collectors and royal watchers