There's a special place above every good British home's mantelpiece for a lovingly displayed piece of royal kitsch. Give us your classic Princess Diana commemorative plates, as many Kate and Wills royal wedding celebration mugs as the local charity shop can spare - even a limited-edition Queen's Silver Jubilee stamp. But absolutely no one asked for this. A bargain-bin set of commemorative figurines featuring - apparently - The Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte is grabbing shoppers' attention for all the wrong reasons.
TK Maxx is flogging a Royal Doulton bone china set based on the Cambridges' 2015 family Christmas card branded the 'Young Royals.' And to add insult to injury - Prince William appears not to have made the cut. Amelia Perrin wrote on Twitter, "Sometimes TK Maxx out-TK Maxxes itself. £60. Arguably the worst thing I’ve ever laid eyes upon."
"There are definitely souls trapped in those figurines," agreed another Twitter user. JM Prevost added, "The detail is amazing. Really erm captured her... eyes?."
But much like a porcelain version of an inkblot test, all who beheld the figurines had different visions. "I think this is a lovely image of Sporty Spice posing with Michael Gove and Mark Francois (to scale). Underpriced, if anything," wrote Ross Lawson. But it seems the set has its fans. The set is listed as the second best-selling product in Royal Doulton's porcelain and china figures on eBay, where it is selling for £62. If any ardent Cambridges followers prefer to buy their china direct from the source, Royal Doulton itself is selling the figurines "crafted in exquisite fine bone china" for US$300 (£240).
According to its website, "The fun-loving spirit and happy personalities of the royal family is portrayed in the figure, Young Royals." The piece was inspired by a photograph of Kate Middleton playing in the garden with her children. "Their Royal Highnesses Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. The Duchess and her children are all casually dressed - the Duchess in jeans and a jumper, Prince George in shorts and a knitted jumper and Princess Charlotte in a floral dress, cardigan, and tights. This moment in time [was] taken at their family home at Kensington Palace, reflecting the informality of precious family time the three share."Read More