To see my Marie Antoinette doll, click HERE.
To see the 'Gibson Girl Bride' doll "Gemma", click HERE
And to see 'A Night at the Opera in Paris' doll, "Eveline" click HERE
She didn't have a name (like the others), so I named her "Margaret". This doll was called "Presentation to the Queen".
Margaret must be a lady of importance to be meeting the Queen and if she was being presented at court wearing a tiara and a dress that was not white, we can assume that she is married.
In the Victorian Era, there were fewer exciting experiences for young women than presentation at court. To be presented at court, she had to be of a higher rank, and she had to be "sponsored" by another lady who had been previously presented at court herself; preferably her mother, but any older woman of impeachable respectibility and high rank could be a "sponsor". Divorced women were not allowed to be presented at court.
There were rigorous rules and dress codes for presentation. Preparation for the event took weeks; learning to perform the proper curtsy was most important and most girls took a class on how to do it properly.
Unmarried girls usually wore a white gown, with a full train and usually a tulle headdress with some kind of feather adornment. It was not uncommon for women to have their wedding dresses altered into a court dress. Queen Victoria hated small feathers, so three large ostrich feathers, arranged in the 'Prince of Wales' plume was the mandated headdress during her reign. Court-dresses were short sleeved and it was absolutely mandatory that the dress be low-cut.
Cloaks, shawls, capes or wraps were absolutely not permitted to be worn.
Married women were allowed to wear more color, but they usually chose softer, muted colors for their court dress and they wore a tiara instead of a tulle headdress and feathers.
The excited young ladies and their sponsors lined up outside St. James' Palace on presentation day, and waited for hours in their carriages for their turn to enter St. James' Gallery, where they waited again until they received their summons.
The ladies were lined up in the Gallery in order of precedence; that is, based on their rank and the importance of their father's titles and then they were ushered into the Queen's presence. When it was her turn to be presented, the lady handed her card to the Lord Chamberlain, who would announce her name, and she would move forward to the Queen's throne, which was usually on a dais in the middle of a very large drawing room, surrounded by other royalty.
The lady would perform her full curtsy, praying she would not trip on her train, and that her feathers would stay in place, and would kiss the Queen's hand. Afterwards, she would rise, perform the full curtsy once again, genuflect to the other royal persons in attendance, and would have to exit the room by backing out, but not before reaching behind her to gather her ten foot train and drape it over her arm gracefully. With one more curtsy to the Queen, she then could back out of the room step by step and the ordeal would be over.
Practicing a graceful exit backwards was just as important as learning the proper full curtsy; it was the height of impropriety to turn one's back on a royal personage.
This short ceremony, which took weeks of preparation, allowed young un-married ladies full membership into fashionable soceity and the "Marriage Market" and all it's priviledges. Presentation at court allowed fashionable ladies to attend court functions, balls and parties without which they would have been excluded.
Thanks for stopping by!
I am joining Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday!