Buckingham Palace has revealed the annual list of gifts given to members of the Royal Family from foreign Royals, world leaders and members of the public. As usual, it includes a variety of unusual and interesting items, including Christmas decorations for The Queen, a handbag for Camilla and a backgammon set for The Duke of Cambridge.
Prince Harry’s future wife, Meghan Markle, received an apron from a member of the public who handed it to The Duke of Cambridge on his visit to Finland in November. The official list states that the apron was received by Prince William “on behalf of HRH Prince Henry of Wales and Ms Meghan Markle.”
Prince George and Princess Charlotte received 59 presents on their week-long visit to Poland and Germany. The Duchess of Cambridge’s third baby, which is expected in the spring, also received a gift- “soft toy baby’s sleep aids.” The Cambridge children took possession of 17 soft toys, three toy trains, three dresses, a waistcoat, two shirts, four books and two lollipops, just to name a few.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also received amber cuff-links and earrings – the national stone of Poland – which Catherine wore to visit the Stutthof concentration camp whilst there. The royal couple also got educational flashcards for the children, a cycling jersey and an oven glove.
Meanwhile, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, took hold of a USB stick from India, a handbag from the Sultan of Brunei, two jars of honey, two jars of jelly, a jar of butter, a jar of jam and two wooden chopping boards from Ontario’s Premier.
The Duchess’s husband, the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, received 12 bottles of hot sauce and a steel drum from Antigua and Barbuda, a pair of shoes from Romania, and a bag of lentils from Italy. However, The Prince of Wales received a wide range of books, over 57 in the spring alone. During Prince Charles’ trip to Brunei in the autumn, he received a wristwatch, a ring, a full size medal to mark the Sultan’s golden jubilee, and another book.
This summer, Buckingham Palace showcased a large number of official gifts for the annual opening. These items included a bag of salt and a Chinese ornate ship.
The Queen’s consort, The Duke of Edinburgh was given a travel backgammon set from luxury leather goods firm Smythson, just weeks after he retired from official duties. He also received a traditional Spanish cloak with a crimson velvet lining from The King and Queen of Spain during their state visit to Britain. However, the cloak is classed as an ‘official gift’, and therefore belongs to Her Majesty’s Government.
The Queen received many gifts last year, ranging from Christmas decorations to a Union Flag from Space. The decorations included glitter balls for the royal Christmas tree, and a decoration containing Enigma machine paper by GCHQ. The Union Flag that was presented to the Queen, came from the spacesuit of Major Tim Peake. As a sign of friendship, King Felipe and Queen Letizia presented Her Majesty with copies of love letters between Queen Victoria’s granddaughter Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenburg and King Alfonso XIII of Spain between 1905 and 1906.
Members of the Royal Family have received gifts from the public and world leaders for centuries, but what happens to the gifts once they are received? While the gifts are not classed as personal property of any one individual, they can be worn or used by the recipient. However, any perishable gifts worth less than £150 are usually given to palace staff or to Charity.