Irishman hopes Kate steals Barbie's crown in Christmas rush
IT'S not everyone's idea of the perfect gift, but a set of royal wedding dolls launched in London last night by an Irish businessman are already tipped to fly off the shelves this Christmas.
And the 12in-high plastic dolls of William and Kate will be on sale in Ireland soon.
No expense has been spared as Ian Harkin -- of toy company arklu.com -- brought in top designers to create the look-alike dolls, launched at Hamleys in London.
"They have been manufactured to the highest specification and we are already getting calls from around the world about them -- including Toys 'R' Us in America and Australia," said Mr Harkin, from Ballybofey, Co Donegal, whose 10,000 Kate Middleton engagement dolls sold out in April.
"The new range will be stocked at Hamleys in Dublin and, subject to talks, in Brown Thomas as well.
"We have made 5,000 of each but we are already talking about more orders," he said.
The Princess Catherine Wedding Doll comes with its own wedding ring, which boasts a replica purple amethyst central stone set among 24 brilliant-cut replica diamante cubic zirconias. It has been created by award-winning British jewellery designer Babette Wasserman.
Florist to the stars and royalty, Judith Blacklock has made a bridal bouquet while British shoe designer Aruna Seth has created the perfect shoes with replica crystal-embellished heel.
And even Kate's hair (on the doll, of course) has been given designer treatment -- by Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa salon team.
The Prince William Wedding Doll is dressed in the Irish Guards uniform.
Retailing at £100 (€115) for the pair, Chelsea-based Mr Harkin believes they will be a hit worldwide.
"It would be great to get the Christmas No 1," he joked. "I think they will be popular wherever the royal couple are popular."
The dolls have been approved by Clarence House and £1 (€1.15) from every sale goes to the RNLI.