NEW YORK (Reuters) - Like many Americans, Shirley Lee fell in love with Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry the day they announced their engagement last November.
Now she is selling to royal fans worldwide dolls dressed in outfits she designed and made that she thinks Prince Harry and his biracial bride might wear when they walk down the aisle at Windsor Castle in England on May 19.
Lee, 64, said that growing up as a black woman she had no royals to look up to.
“Fifty years ago, when I was a little girl of color, there were never princesses we saw, even though they existed. We didn’t see them. Meghan Markle opens up a whole world. She represents an empowered woman, an attractive woman, a smart woman,” the New Jersey computer scientist told Reuters Television.
Lee admits that Markle’s wedding dress is a well-kept secret and that her hand-sewn designs for the dolls are guesses at best.
“If you look at a lot of her outfits, she’s very trendy. I didn’t think she would be wearing a lot of poofy things. She seems to be more sophisticated. So I just kept mine an A-line design with lace,” she said.
Lee already had a line of dolls wearing historical outfits, as well as versions of pop culture characters like Elsa from the animated movie “Frozen,” that are sold on her “History Wearz” shop on e-commerce website Etsy.
“What inspired me to create my Meghan Markle and Prince Harry was seeing their (engagement) interview. I just thought them to be so sweet and in love,” said Lee.
Her Harry doll is dressed in a black Royal Marines dress uniform that the British prince has been seen wearing on formal occasions.
Lee’s 18-inch (45-cm) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dolls retail for $89 each or $149 a pair. Lee already has sold a couple dozen of pairs to buyers in the United States, Britain and Japan, and she hopes to sell about 200 pairs this year.
Her designs for the Markle doll will not stop after the wedding.
“All her outfits I will be able to recreate and sell to my clients who’ve already purchased my dolls, who want her outfits, or who have other dolls,” she said.
Reporting by Elly Park; editing by Jonathan Oatis