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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Royal Nurseries and Toys

This will be the final royal themed post of a weeklong series marking the celebratory birth of Prince George of Cambridge. It was, far and away, my favorite post to research and write. 

His Royal Highness Prince George whom I wish I could smother with cuddly kisses.

The safe hands of the Duchess of Cambridge with her son who was born on Monday, but was thrown into the spotlight yesterday

The first ten years of Prince George’s great grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, life was fairly normal. There was really no thought given to Princess Elizabeth inheriting The Crown. It has been suggested that because her head was not filled with the prospect of grandeur she had a lack of ego which in turn is what makes her so good as the ruling monarch.

The Queen was born at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was raised at 145 Piccadilly in London. It was a town house in Hyde Park which was destroyed by bombing during WWII.

145 Piccadilly suffered the same  fate as many in London during the  war, being destroyed in the blitz.

The Queen and her sister Princess Margaret loved their home which was filled with toys. Perhaps it was this rocking horse that helped instill the Queen’s loved of horses.

At the age of six Princess Elizabeth’s parents took over the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home. Here the girls enjoyed real ponies and horses…

1939: Princess Elizabeth with a pony in Windsor Great Park, Berkshire

… as well as several dachshund and corgi dogs.

1936: Princess Elizabeth hugging a corgi dog

The princesses also had a miniature car of which their governess, Marion Crawford, would supervise the drives.

Like most other little girls Princess Elizabeth had her favorite dolly’s and carriages.

1933: Princess Elizabeth playing with a doll in a toy pram outside the Welsh House, a miniature house presented to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret by the people of Wales in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor

The Princesses also enjoyed wee gardening tools scaled to a child’s size.

But there is one gift that still remains and is enjoyed by Royal children even today.

The Little House At Royal Lodge

The Queen and Princess Margaret were given a grand playhouse known as Y Bwthyn Bach (which means “The Little House” in Welsh) in 1932 by the Welsh people when she was six years old. It sits on the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge.

Princess Beatrice recently helped remodel the small house, as a tribute to her grandmother's Diamond Jubilee.

The house was modeled after a traditional Welsh cottage featuring a thatched roof and whitewashed walls. Inside is 1930’s period furniture and decor.

It was originally done in shades of blue.


It has now been made over in soft shades of pink.

You can see the sitting room from the doorway. The portrait over the mantle is the Duchess of York, later known as Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

It is two-thirds the size of a real house and features plumbing and lighting.

An infant Prince Charles was photographed in his elaborate bassinet by Sir Cecil Beaton.

But he also played in an “off the shelf” playpen.

Prince Charles had a floral couch in his nursery where he enjoyed playing with blocks.

Prince Charles appears excited while the Queen looks relaxed in these intimate shots of the pair

Prince Charles often enjoyed a stroll with his nanny, Mabel Anderson, in a glorious pram topped with an ermine fur lap blanket.

He loved his push pedal car…

…in racing green.

A young Prince Charles plays with his toy car

His father, Prince Philip carted him down a small hill in a regular red wagon.

Hold on: Prince Philip pulls Charles down a slope on a toy cart

Of course he too enjoyed the playhouse.

Prince Charles as a young boy in 1954 (© Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images)

As well as sweet corgi’s…

…and ponies and horses as pets.

Home life: Exercising the ponies at Balmoral in 1955 are (left to right) the Queen, Charles, the Duke of Edinburgh and Anne

Prince William had his share of stuffed animals.

As well as a simple plastic rattle.

You can spot a glimpse of Princes William and Harry’s red and green nursery which was quite posh.


Yet they still enjoyed dressing up and playing on a traditional swing set.

Not much is known about new Prince George’s nursery. The rumor is that the primary pattern is herringbone brown. The young family is currently living in Nottingham Cottage. They will soon settle into apartment 1A at Kensington palace. It was once the home of Princess Margaret and is currently undergoing asbestos removal and refurbishing.

We do know that Prince George’s father, Prince William, has bought him a bear.

Prince William, Kate Middleton, Harrods Teddy Bear

The Duchess purchased a Moses basket from the shop Blue Almonds a few months ago.

She also purchased a Bugaboo pushchair (stroller) in blue.

Royal choice: The Duchess of Cambridge is said to have told fellow Army wives that she bought a babyblue Bugaboo for her unborn baby

I’ll close this post with a toy for the child in all of us:

Queen Mary’s Dollhouse which can be viewed by the public at Windsor Castle.  

It was built for Queen Mary between 1921 and 1924  by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was made to a scale of 1:12 (one inch to one foot) and stands over three feet tall. The top of the doll house slides straight up to open.

The dollhouse contains electricity, running water, an elevator and a grand staircase.

Another view of the lovely marble floors.

The entry has hand painted wallpaper and a gorgeous chandelier.

The throne room includes artwork featuring the likenesses of King George V and Queen Mary.

There was a bedroom for the King.

His Majesty’s loo even has a toilet that flushes.

The Queens bedroom features a tiny clock made by Cartier.

The wall covering in the Queen’s sitting room is made of real silk and the desk sits on a wool rug. 

The formal dining room.

A better view of the painted ceiling.

The dollhouse features a library of 171 books of short works.

Many of the volumes were written exclusively for the dollhouse by some of the leading writers of the day. They include, to name a few, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes series), J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan), Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book) and Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence).

There are exact copies of the crown jewels in the strong room.

The wine cellar contains real miniature bottles of the finest wine and champagne.

Of course there is a Royal nursery as well.

All in all, a royally beautiful childhood.



marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a fabulous post and so interesting. You really did a ton of research, I enjoyed all the pictures and stories. Hugs, Marty

Nancy said...

I love the royals. And I too, wish I could cuddle that cute little George. What a wonderful week of posts and so much interesting info. Thanks.:)

Carol said...

This has been a wonderful series, Laura! You really outdid yourself in researching the Royals. I discovered so many things that I didn't know and found everything so very interesting. I think the young royal family is so adorable, and I can't even imagine how gorgeous this baby is going to be with such a handsome dad and beautiful mother. Let's just hope he doesn't look like his Grampa.....heehee!

The Man and I have been speculating as to why Queen Elizabeth hasn't stepped down and passed the crown. We are thinking she doesn't really want Charles to be King -- hmmm? Any theories?


Karen Albert said...

So Fascinating Laura! Queen Elizabeth looks so happy with her children when they were young! She was also quite beautiful....maybe if she smiled more now.

Enjoyed the miniature house and doll house etc!

2013 Designer Series

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Great question Carol!

When a King or Queen goes through their coronation ceremony they make vows which include they will rule until their death. I for one am happy that the Queen takes her vows seriously. :)

Jill Flory of Sew a Fine Seam said...

I still have a hard time imagining calling that little sweetheart 'George'. But I'm sure it will grow in me! Love that dollhouse!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Wow! Thanks for such a great post and all the time it must have taken you to research all of this. Really enjoyed it!

Louise said...

Isn't that dollhouse AMAZING. I think I could stare at it for hours and if given the chance I dare say actually even PLAY with it, grown woman that I am and all!

I don't know about HRH the Queen not being filled with thoughts of grandeur. Her childhood probably was relatively down to earth, but it certainly wasn't any average childhood. I would say that duty has certainly been important to her, and I would imagine that keeps "one" from becoming overly grand.

bobbie said...

Oh! That doll house is just SO adorable!! Thanks for all the research, and for the sharing!

Joni Webb said...

fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that doll house!

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

you have made me VERY HAPPY with this post!!!!!!!!!! thank you!!!

Patti said...

Thank you for your intensive research and posts. Your posts are always entertaining and informative.

GSGreatEscaper said...

I'm married to a man named George who is worthy of being a king by virtue of his wonderful character and empathy so I think they've chosen the perfect name.

As for Elizabeth not being expected to be Queen, although the public still hoped and expected that 'David' would marry and have children, King George V loved 'Lilibet' so much that he hoped exactly the opposite; although he had long wanted 'David' to marry and have children, he and Queen Mary were so disgusted with him that they hoped he would rule unmarried so that Elizabeth, whom they adored, would inherit.

MFAMB said...

SUPER cool.
that dollhouse is ridiculous.

Dawna Motz said...

what an interesting post! Thanks for sharing it! I love that little cottage and would move in for sure!!! I wish Will, Kate and new baby lots of luck and that they will be a happy family!

Vicki said...

I so enjoyed reading this post. Thank you for bringing the Royals to us!

Debra Oliver said...

Love this! I think we're all interested in seeing how Will and Kate "do" parenting. Love that precious little Bear!

Debra Phillips said...

what a brilliant and enjoyable post. thank you, loved it laura!

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

What an interesting post! Thanks for doing the research and sharing it!

Jen said...

Laura, I just love your royal posts as they are always so informative and interesting! I love all the old pictures and stories you added. I'll have to catch up on them over the weekend, but this one is just fabulous!

Have a great weekend!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

The new Prince is just precious!!

Deanna said...