Darlene Foster's Blog

A Book Birthday and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House

Posted on: August 14, 2022

It has been ten years since we published Amanda in England: The Missing Novel. So I thought we should celebrate with some cake!

I based this book on my numerous visits to England, a place I love. On one visit we stopped at Windsor Castle. The Queen was in, but we did not see her as we explored her fascinating home. Although I thought I saw a curtain twitch as we watched the changing of the guard.

I enjoyed the castle very much but one of the things that really caught my attention was Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House. It was well worth the wait in line to view it. A few months later, when browsing a local bookstore in Canada, I found an amazing book all about the Dolls’ House.

I have spent hours pouring over this book and its wonderful pictures. It clearly depicts the details that were put into creating this miniature palace.

The doll’s house was built between 1921 and 1924 and presented to Queen Mary (the current Queen’s Grandmother) as a gift in 1924. It is now a piece of history. It depicts life between the two World Wars and has a very Upstairs Downstairs/Downton Abbey feel about it. There are forty rooms and vestibules on four levels, with two staircases, two elevators that stop on every floor, hot and cold running water in all five bathrooms, toilets that flush, electric lights, a cellar, a garage and a garden. No detail was missed; from the tiny books in the library, paintings on the walls, toys in the nursery and cars in the garage. It is a delight and I’m so glad I have the book to revisit it as often as I want to.

The elaborate entrance

The opulent dining room
My favourite room – the library
I also love the nursery
Toys in the nursery
Items in the pantry
In the housekeeper’s room, a Singer sewing machine
a motorcycle in the garage
and a baby carriage in the garden
Of course, there is a throne room!

I found this delightful video which will give you a better idea.

I just had to include a visit to this place in Amanda in England: The Missing Novel

Here’s the excerpt:

Amanda squealed with delight. Before her stood a replica of Windsor Castle, in miniature, completely furnished. The entrance with the marble staircase, the dining room with the long table set for dinner with tiny dishes, the paintings hanging on the walls and the sparkling chandeliers were all there. A library with mini books on the shelves, the nursery with toys scattered about and even a puppet theatre, caught her attention.

“Look here,” Liam shouted. “There is even a garage with six fancy cars, a bicycle and a motorcycle too. They’re all in perfect scale too. Blimey, I bet they even run.”

“There is so much to look at,” said Leah. “Look at the little paint box and book of nursery songs, the teeny mirror and hair brush set. It’s so adorable.”

“This would have been so much fun to play with. Do you think the princesses were allowed to play with it?” asked Amanda.

Rylee looked at the miniature garden with three-inch trees and small shrubs. “Here’s a baby pram and look, birds in the trees and – even a cat.”

“Oh, I do hope Rupert is all right in the car,” said Leah.

Mesmerised by the scene before her, Amanda felt like she had entered the land of Lilliputians. She wanted to disappear into the miniature building or become a princess who could spend hours playing with it.

“Amanda, Amanda,” Leah tugged at her sleeve. “We should go now.”

The sun shone fiercely when they emerged from viewing the doll house. Amanda rubbed her eyes. “This is bright, isn’t it?” She rubbed her eyes again. “Is that her?”

“Is that who?” asked Liam and Leah at the same time.

“I swear I just saw that weird lady go into the castle.”

“Well, I don’t know what you saw, but I saw those two blokes who were at the hospital, sneaking behind a statue in the garden,” said Rylee.

“And there’s Rupert. Now, how did he get out of the car?” Leah ran into the garden after him.

Join me in wishing Amanda in England: The Missing Novel a very Happy Birthday!

53 Responses to "A Book Birthday and Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House"

Thanks, Darlene! I first saw the Doll’s House around 35 years ago with my pen-friend Peggy from New York. We were both mesmerized! The workmanship is amazing. Great that you included mention of it in one of Amanda’s books! xx

It really is something, isn’t it? I was so glad I got to see it.

You can be so proud of what you started, Darlene. Congrats to you!

Thanks so much, Jacqui. You are so encouraging!

Happy book birthday!! What an amazing journey, Darlene!

It has been quite the journey! Who would have thought? xo

Happy Book Birthday. What a series you have borne, Book Mommie! We did visit WIndsor, England, and observed a jolly good parade in the streets. I believe it was in Windsor that I bought a wooly, plaid wrap apparently woven in Scotland. Write on, Darlene! You are obviously inspired by the romance of “place”!

How great that you got to visit Windsor as well and came away with a nice and useful souvenir. I’m sure the parade would have been quite something.

Thank you, Amanda and Darlene. Lovely post.

Happy tenth birthday to Amanda in England!

Thanks so much, Priscilla.

Congratulations, Darlene! Amanda a is now a part of our reading adventures. I am celebrating with you and look forward to the next adventure in Paris. I was overwhelmed by Queen Mary’s Doll house exhibition at Windsor Castle. So finely and delicately made. Thank you for being a writer and for giving us Amanda.

Since you have seen this amazing dollhouse, you know how special it is. Every little item was made with such care and an eye for detail. Thanks for your kind words.

HI DArlene, I love this doll’s house. I’ve always wanted a Victorian dolls house but bringing one all the way home from the UK isn’t very practical. A terrific post and congratulations on your books birthday.

Thanks, Robbie. You would love this dollhouse. Perhaps you could order a Victorian dollhouse and have it delivered. Or you could make a cake resembling one!

Happiness is a doll’s house. We all love them. Be well and enjoy summer. Congratulations! oxox

Oh yes. I loved mine as a child and I know my daughter loved hers. Not that they were anywhere near as spectacular as this one.

We made them spectacular with our imaginations! oxox

WOW! I just watched the video. The doll house is absolutely incredible. Happy tenth birthday to Amanda in England!

Isn’t that doll house something else? Glad you enjoyed learning more about it.

Happy Anniversary, Darlene! Thanks for the snippet. The dollhouse too — that fascinated me. Hugs on the wing.

I thought you would love that dollhouse. Thanks for the comments. Have a fab day!

Happy Birthday Amanda in England. I greatly enjoyed that novel.

Thank you, Donna. So pleased you enjoyed the story.

Happy tenth, birthday! How wonderful. And what a gorgeous doll’s house. So elaborate. More than most little girls would even dream of.

Thanks, Norah. I have a feeling this dollhouse was a look but don’t touch one.

It is pretty elaborate.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!

Thanks so much. You have been with me on this journey from day one!

And it has been my pleasure.

My daughter was a doll house kid and we had one of the several books. So amazing, Darlene. She and I browsed the details and marveled. What fun. An excellent excerpt. Congrats on ten years since Amanda visited England. I’m starting to plan a trip. I’ll have to get some details from her. 🙂

You will enjoy England. Every time I go there, I discover interesting places. So much history, so perfect for me.

I’ve started my research and I’m already a little overwhelmed with all there is to see and enjoy. Can’t wait.

Happy book birthday, Darlene, and what an incredible doll house! I love all the delicate details. Thank you for sharing with us.

Thanks so much, Lauren.

Happy anniversary. What a decade you’ve had! The Dolls’ House is amazing!

Thanks! It’s been amazing!

Happy book Birthday Amanda in England. ❤

Congratulations on hitting the 10 year mark for the series!! How awesome. Also, thank you for sharing the pictures of the doll house….the detail work is so unbelievable.Wow!! Again congrats on the 10 year mark…well deserved!!

Thanks, Kirt. It has been a great ten years.

Congrats on the ten year anniversary of your Amanda in England book. What better way to celebrate than with some cake and more context about the inspiration for part of the story involving the replica miniature Windsor Castle. It’s incredible how much work must have gone into crafting and creating the dollhouse.

Thanks so much. The details in the dollhouse are amazing.

This was delightful! The doll house is hard to believe. Now I have a new Amanda book on my TBR list!

Should you ever get to Windsor, you must visit this dollhouse. It is amazing. You will enjoy Amanda’s adventure in England.

Thank you, Darlene!

Hearty British cheers for this special anniversary, Darlene – I saw the dolls house many years ago, it is incredible. Toni x

Thanks, Toni. It was about 20 years ago that I saw it. I was fascinated.

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