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T he R oyal C issys T he Anatomy of a Q ueen Words & pictures by Debbie Foster

The Royal Cissy

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A noted Anglophile, Madame Alexander produced a Cissy doll as Queen Elizabeth or a royal doll at least once a year from 1955 to 1963. This article catalogs these Royal Cissys.

Text of The Royal Cissy

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TheRoyalCissys The Anatomy of a Queen

Words & pictures by Debbie Foster

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The Crown.It signified the wearer’s importance and status by association with precious ma-terials and by making the wearer appear physically taller. Queen Cissy must have gained half an inch.

The Crown Jewels. Their precious materials associated roy-alty with the divine. And what Cissy, regardless of dress, is not divinely


The Sash of the Garter with Star. The Order was originally established as a chivalrous noble fraternity. From the earliest times, ladies were received as honorary members but not surprisingly, this prac-tice died out under Henry VIII. In 1990 the Statutes were amended to allow admission of females as Ladies Compan-ion.

The Proper Wave.Articulated Hand and Arm

for that special ‘screwing in a light bulb wave.’

The Gown. The 1958 brocade gown was

the only one with a true train. The others were pseudo-

trains where the skirt was longer in the

back. This was ac-complished by

a lower back waistline


The Royal Bloomers.

Royal Cissy wore a hoop petticoat. Panties

were often attached. The 1957 petticoat did not have a hoop.

The Royal ‘Do.Her Honey Blonde wig, each

uniquely individual for each year’s queen.

What Makes A Cissy Royal?

The actual Garter Star depicted as circular on Cissy’s Garter Sash.

Seamed Stockings and High Heel Sandals raised her highness to a proper regal height.

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mentation is sparse, varied, ambiguous, with pictures printed in black and white, and research is contradictory. This is an attempt to apply some order to, at least, the Queens. In 1955, Cissy was released as #2099 Queen Elizabeth as part of the ‘A Child’s Dream Come True’ Series. The Ma-dame Alexander catalog pictured seven different ball gowns, including the white brocade of the Queen’s. She was further described as wearing a rhinestone and

ruby jeweled tiara, earrings and bracelets. Long, finger-less mitts covered her arms. No mention was made of her hoop petticoat or the unusual marquis shaped jewel on the toe cross piece of her white elastic sandals.Most available references state the 1955 and 1956 dolls were the same, but the bro-cade patterns were different. The ‘55 pattern was simpler and more of an embossed sat-

Who Were The Royal Cissys? During Cissy’s hey-day from 1955 to 1962, Madame Alexander pro-duced a mere seven Queen Elizabeth Cissys. Mme. Al-exander was an admitted Anglophile as evidenced by her many small scale royal renditions and her pièce de résistance, the 1952 Coro-nation Set. Perhaps Cissy’s marketability as a queen was questionable since her fame was as a fashion diva.

The queens are eas-ily distinguishable from other Cissy styles by, of course, the billowing and regal brocade gowns which bear either the blue Sash of the Garter or the red Sash of the Order of the Bath draped across the bod-ice. Mme. Alexander was historically correct in the Sash color, but the decora-tive embellishments were purely artistic. Another key to identifying even a nude queen is the uniquely styled honey blonde wig.

It seems Queen Cissy never attained the populari-ty or desirability of the more contemporarily dressed dolls. Even today, if your budget is tight, the queen brings the most doll for your dollar. I doubt she was dis-counted at her release so it’s guaranteed you’ll pay more than her original price of around $25.

What better time to declare my purely novice status as a Cissy historian, but this vintage doll and her resplendent wardrobe fas-cinate me. Concrete docu-


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in; the ‘56 fabric was much heavier and more intricately patterned. The skirts were unlined but the bodice was fully lined with organdy. They did have the same style wig, the same rhinestone-studded wheel shaped earrings, simi-lar crowns and dresses cut in the same style with a slim waistline bodice that dipped in the back elongating the length of the gown. The 1956 Catalog described the #2042 Queen as having a ‘bouf-fant and graceful white brocade gown worn over a hoop petticoat of taffe-ta.’ Her sandals were said to be gold, an accessory color choice unchar-acteristic of Mme. Alexander. Sim-ple cap sleeves were caught at the low-er edge, g a t h -e r e d a n d

tacked at the shoulder seam. Both gowns had full asym-

metrical hoop petticoats of a taffeta-like bridal crinoline. The slip’s yoke was longer in the back. Some slips had attached panties. 1957 brought a new

style of court gown that was an unusual

gored A-line design without a seamed waistline.

The bodice was a chemise sun dress with straps that attached

in the front and draped over the shoul-ders, forming a large bow tacked in back. The gown was fully lined with


Because of the form-fitting style dress, the narrow-hipped

petticoat was one piece and asymmetri-


shaped. A full 2-inch

ruffle was attached to the underside but a longer 8-inch ruffle was add-ed in the back to support the pseudo-train. Cissy was not referred to as ‘Queen Eliza-beth’ and was grouped with seven other formally at-tired Cissys. Her gold



#2281 . 1958 ‘Dolls To Remember’#2171 . 1957 ‘Formal Gowns’

Full length slip for the 1957 Gown

Hoop Petticoat

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crown was styled similarly to the ‘55 and ‘56 crowns. The tosca colored wig was an unusual side-part style and seen only in 1957. A spanner bar an-chored longer sections pulled away from the face. The back fell in loose curls.

Dressed in gold brocade in 1958, the Catalog simply described her as ‘regal and romantic’ with her golden tiara sparkling with gems, long white gloves and glit-tering jewels. The crown was

wider and more ornate than the previ-

ous three y e a r s .

T h e f u l l -

length skirt was g a t h e r e d and attached at a natural waistline. The gown had a separate at-tached train with a wide sin-gle loop bow that

spanned the back closure. The bodice was fitted and had what are referred to as ‘an-

gel’ sleeves. They’re actually a double fold, self fabric ruffle attached at the

shoulder seam. Cissy’s hoop pet-ticoat was yellow taffeta.

Cissy’s wig had a center part with tiny spit curls on the fore-head. Longer sections pulled back from the temples to the crown and were held by a spanner bar.

The 1959 Alexan-der ‘Doll Parade’ catalog showed only three Cissys, none of which were dressed as Queen Elizabeth; howev-er, the FAO Schwarz Christ-mas catalog offered a Cissy dressed as Queen Elizabeth,

#16-28 for $25.00. She was described as wearing a gown of white brocade with Sash of the Garter and Star over a taffeta hoop petticoat. This queen was probably an FAO Schwarz exclusive and not released to other

retailers. The no-neck Cissys were begin-

ning to appear in ‘59. Cissy, as

Queen Eliza-beth, was

often seen as the transi-tional

n o -

#2281 . 1958 ‘Dolls To Remember’#2171 . 1957 ‘Formal Gowns’


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neck with jointed over-sleeve arms while some were pure no-necks with the more delicate one-piece arms. Mme. Alexander was known for her par-simony and let nothing go to waste. The tran-sitional dolls were probably not by conscious de-sign, but rather a product of assem-bling dolls f r o m p a r t s s t i l l a v a i l -able.

Not mentioned in the 1960 Alex-ander Catalog, Cissy was featured by FAO Schwarz at Christmas in a Royal Tour Trousseau Trunk Set (#40-99) priced at $75.00. Cissy’s gown was said to be of ‘gold brocade, over a taffeta hoop petticoat, with Order of the Garter, long white gloves, tiara, earrings, ring and jeweled bracelets.’ Other items in the trunk set were a tea dress and cloak, print dress, sport slacks and blazer, silk nightie and robe, chemise, shoes, mules, stockings and accessories.

The 1961 Ma-dame Alexan-der Catalog of-fered Cissy as a Portrait Queen, Style #2230, dressed as Queen Eliz- a-beth. She was described as wearing a gown of bro-cade, Sash of the Garter with Garter Star, long gloves and tiara. The brocade color was not stipulated. She was touted as being fully jointed with soft arms, moving eyes and long eyelashes.

Cissy retired in 1963 and was seen in the MA Catalog for the last time in 1962 as a Portrait doll (#2180) depicting the ‘glamorous Queen Elizabeth II of Eng-land.’ Her gold palm frond brocade court gown was decorated with the Sash of the Order of the Bath. Her twinkling jewels, shining hair, long gloves and brilliant tiara, gave her a regal air.’ Cissy was offered for the last time by FAO Schwarz as style #26-7 for $25.00 in their 1963 Christmas catalog.

The Cissy Queens released between 1955 and 1958 were well docu-mented. 1959 was when the waters started to muddy, but by process of elimi-nation

and known

body types and styles, I be-lieve the ‘59 doll to be identified accurately. I further hypoth-esize the ‘60 FAO



Vintage Vestige Vestments

‘59 Queen Cissy owned by Christine Fisher

This is a bride no- neck doll dressed in the queen outfit. The queen dolls had blonde or honey-blonde wigs.

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or too perfect or too. . . something. Maybe she was allowed to be looked at but not touched, and the hands-off feeling prevails today. If

that’s the case, it’s my good fortune. More

are left for me. You can never have too many



The Royal Cissy Cessation

‘62 Queen Cissy owned by Diane

Martz.Crown is not


Special thanks and appreciation are extended to the in-sightful and curious members of the Yahoo! Vintage Cissy Group for their constant and continuous assistance with all things Cissy!

Schwarz offering and the ‘61 Madame Alex-ander doll (#2230) were the same; the bro-

cade was the same. In 1962 the gold palm frond pattern appeared as did the new red Sash of the Order of The Bath. One reference sited a 21-inch Queen Elizabeth ‘Sleeping Beauty’, #2170 (not pictured), was offered in 1960 while another stated it was 1961. My timeline dates her no earlier than 1962. The popularity of Cissy was on the wane in 1959, and the num-ber of fashion dolls and outfits produced trickled down to al-most nothing. The Queen dolls undoubtedly proved to be a re-liable staple, thus blowing my marketing theory right out of

the water. Madame Alex-ander certainly would not

have continued producing an unprofitable line.

As collectible as vintage Cis-sy is today, why is the queen

the least favored? Perhaps she comes across as stilted and too for-

mal, and collectible dolls should evoke a warm and fuzzy feeling akin to the joy one felt while playing with them as a child. I suspect not many queens received liberal play time. She was too pretty