Another Queen Marcheline machination upon establishing her court was her insistence upon awarding her new citizens or should we say "citizines" with regally befitting names devised by her as they arrived at court. The development of the town-court was an organic evolution. A doll or more would arrive and be thoroughly screened to make sure that he/she/they resonated with the spirit of Royal Doll Town. Initially various Royal Departments had to be organized and the King, the Queen, the Count and Libertine would decide the most apt position for the new royal subject, whereupon Queen Marcheline would pronounce a nomenclature most befitting the doll. The first officially appointed dolls were presented with names ending in ‘ine’ for ladies and ‘bert', pronounced ‘bear’, for gentlemen. The suffix word ‘bert’ signifies light and with Queen Marcheline being very much into the lightness of being this suited her very much. She had resorted to employing French sounding names simply because after all her years residing as a chair at the Palace of Versailles she adored the sound of French names. Queen Marcheline is quite ‘Franglish’ - a blend of French and English. This is because of her starting out as a Versailles chair and ending up a royal English doll. Also, owing to its location on the Kentish coast of England, the tower of Royal Doll Town is but a waifish body of water away from France, so consequently there is a lot of cross pollination in the mix, especially with birds flying to and fro over the Channel.
Now to sneak in a snippet of back story from our history together: when I was young and madly in love with Marcheline and we did everything together, one of the things we found most quirky and cute was when my father, the Hairy Captain, related the names of his cousins back in Belgium. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, my father was born in Belgium and my mother was born in England and they stumbled upon each in South Africa where their families had relocated to following the devastation of the Second World War in Europe. My father was born into that war and spent the first years of his life terrified and half starved hiding in bunkers while the bombing went on. When he was a bit older but not ever fully recovered from the evils of war, he loved to spend time with his eleven cousins who were relegated to the commodious attic of their farm house. Naturally chaos and naughtiness reigned supreme up there under the chunky hand planed wooden trusses and dormer windows spilling golden summer honey sun and aromas of fresh cut grasses into the open plan room brimming with bunk beds bundled with patchwork blankets and Grandma's Flemish lace. If only Nanny McPhee had been fluent in Flemish she may well have infused the confusion with some semblance of sense. One thing about that rowdy crowded chaotic collection of Belgian cousins that was ordered though, was their names. The boys were called Gilbert, Noribert, Albert, Floribert, Robert, Hilderbert and Adelbert and the girls were called Odette, Evette, Antoinette and Bernadette. When Marcheline and I heard of this we found the uniform device of naming the dozen less one quite fabulous and would debate at length whether we preferred French girls names ending in ‘ette’ or ‘ine’ the best. Evidently the ‘ines’ won at the end of the day, which isn’t too surprising as that’s what the Queen’s name ends in. Anyhoo back to the palace. Once the formal positions were all filled and the Queen had tired of this quirk, for she can get bored easily, there was a relaxation of the practice. The change happened most notably with the arrival of the first social butterfly, Madame Betsy Butterfly. Not only is a doll’s royal name generally suffixed with an ‘ine’ or ‘bert’ but it also provides an indication of which Royal Department a doll oversees. For example, the Royal Head Dressers are Madeline Moptop and Norbert Noodledoo. The Royal Make-up Artists are Rougerine Jolie and Talcbert Poef de Poudre. The Royal Seamstresses are Bombazine, Velvetine, Elastine, Crimpline and Satine while Mrs Zippy joined at the time of the Social Butterflies as there was an enormous amount of zips needing stitching and sew on… and so on… There are soooo many dolls and departments that it could take me a season of siestas with you snoozing all the way through to explain it all in one go. But if you keep peeking in for nibbles and cat naps we may just manage and you might just snuggle very cosily in to the royal scheme of things around here. So pop back soon for another snack and a snippet!