For those who have been counting the days, it does seem like an eternity since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement. For me, who has never missed a chance to connect a pop-culture moment with a possible plush-life keepsake, it has been well worth the wait. Back on November 30, I pondered if Ms. Markle would be given a teddy-bear testament. Well, I’m happy to report that the possible “future highness” has been given an ursine likeness–quite a few, in fact. (Yes, I know it’s a long shot that Meghan will ever ascend to the throne, but she’ll immediately become a People’s Princess, much like the dearly departed Diana.) For royal watchers and teddy bear collectors, this is a love affair made in huggable heaven!
With the Royal Wedding set to take over the airwaves on Saturday, May 19, doll companies are lining up to replicate her gown, which is very hush-hush, and bear companies are able to pay tribute in a more huggable and adorable way. While a royal portrait doll has to struggle to be as authentic and lifelike as possible, a teddy bear company can pay homage with a furry, friendly face, a big, bright ribbon or bow, and an embroidered bit of calligraphy. In the world of princely collectibles, plush creations can beat dolls to the finish line by weeks or months.
For this particular Anglophile-meets-arctophile union, many manufacturers have unveiled Royal Wedding bears that truly are impressive. One of England’s last remaining bear companies, Merrythought, naturally has a lovely duo to represent the beloved lovebirds. (Yep, Prince Harry and Meghan have captured the covers of fashion magazines, weekly journals, and even a Lifetime Channel movie. You know that means the viewing public is standing behind you!)
The Merrythought pair measures 11 inches, and are five-way jointed. The designers have decided to distinguish the groom from his blushing bride by way of their neck gear. Prince Harry is adorned with a neck ruff; Meghan is accentuated with a satin ribbon. Limited to only 200 sets, each pair is presented in a gift box, which is quite stunning in its regal black-and-gold design. Their footpads are embellished with their first initials and the rendering of a golden crown. They really are fit for a king or queen.
In addition to the Merrythought salute, Germany’s Hermann-Spielwaren GmbH has debuted a curly white mohair ursine that commemorates both the bride and the groom. Limited to 250 pieces worldwide, their official Royal Wedding bear has its connection boldly emblazoned on its feet. Honoring the transatlantic nature of this union, the Hermann-Spielwaren version has a pair of hearts on one of the bear’s footpads. One heart is decorated like the English Union Jack; the other is a facsimile of the American “Stars and Stripes.” It’s a sweet way to show how this marriage truly is a reaching across the continents, a bridge between two very different backgrounds, upbringings, and ethnicities.
Another great German company, with a sterling reputation worldwide, is Steiff. For more than a century, Steiff has always been on the scene when a licensing moment demanded to be captured, or a great cultural event was transpiring. The Royal Wedding is no exception. Partnering with the Danbury Mint, Steiff has rendered a bear that is truly breathtaking. The bear is fully jointed and is russet-colored. The names “Harry” and “Meghan” are embroidered in golden thread upon its paws, giving the tribute bear an elegant touch of class.
The teddy bear is decked out with a golden bow around its neck, and a gorgeous medallion is suspended from the bow’s knot. On one side of the medallion is an etching of a castle and its turrets, alongside the words “Royal Wedding” and “2018.” On the reverse side is the date and the actual nuptial location. It is a masterful touch from the company that has long been synonymous with sophistication and high-quality craftsmanship.
The Royal Wedding has garnered much attention because it is a blending of two lives—and two hearts—that seem vastly different at first glance. Separated by an ocean, a culture, and their biographies, Harry and Meghan seem to be two stars in their own right who were not fated to cross paths. But love has its own calendar, its own time clock, its own agenda. As this very modern pair prepares to tie the knot, royal watchers—and the world at large—become well-wishers.
May Harry and Meghan have as many hugs in their future as bear collectors have in their present! Cheers to the bride and groom, the prince and his consort, the husband and his wife!
Related Plush Life post:
Meghan in Mohair: Will the future American princess become a teddy bear?
Read about more Royal Wedding collectibles:
Meghan Mania: Which doll will be first in the new Royal Wedding race?
Royal Romance: Ashton-Drake Unveils Look at Meghan and Prince Harry’s Dolls