List of gifts received by royal family released
Queen given mostly "horsey" presents from world leaders
Quirky gifts included a miniature "Game of Thrones" throne
Prince George takes home surfboard, possum skin cloak from Antipodean trip
Tip – make it something equine related.
Given her well-known love of horses, it’s perhaps fitting – some might say unimaginative – that the majority of gifts presented to Queen Elizabeth II from world leaders last year revolved her favorite four-legged animals.
Dog lovers look away now – Her Majesty’s pet corgis didn’t even get a look in.
Included in the 2014 list of gifts was a mounted sculpture of a white horse from France’s President Francois Hollande; a bronze sculpture of a horse’s head from the Emir of Qatar; and another bronze statuette of the famous Irish thoroughbred, Arkle from the President of Ireland, Michael Higgins, along with a book of the same name.
A dressage crop from the governor general of Canada, David Johnston, and a boot scraper from Felsted School in the east of England can also be put to good use at Her Majesty’s stud farm on the royal Sandringham Estate.
Among the more peculiar gifts given to the Queen was a miniature seven-inch throne from the “Game of Thrones” TV series, during a visit to Northern Ireland in June 2014.
However, it’s far from the most outlandish present bestowed upon the monarch.
During her 64-year-long reign, the Queen has received a jaguar from Brazil, two giant turtles from the Seychelles, an elephant from Cameroon, and several horses – most notably a beloved black mare called “Burmese” from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Indeed, the Queen rode “Burmese” at the traditional Trooping the Color parade for 18 consecutive years, and in 2005 unveiled a bronze statue of herself atop the horse outside the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Canada.
But what happens to the many gifts Her Majesty receives throughout the year that aren’t to her taste?
Live animals are donated to London Zoo, perishable items such as food and flowers are given to local hospices, and all other presents which don’t go on display in the royal residencies are stored at the Royal Archive at Windsor Castle, a Clarence House spokesperson told CNN.
Some items are even loaned to galleries, such as a Maori canoe given by the New Zealand government which is now on display at the British Museum.
When it comes to royal presents, the Queen’s great-grandson Prince George recorded the largest haul in 2014.
During a tour of Australia and New Zealand with his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the toddler received a surfboard, skateboard, possum skin cloak, and more soft toys than other children would get in a lifetime of Christmases.
Fittingly, the previous year Prince George also received a teddy wearing the same silk jacket as those worn by the Queen’s jockeys, from promotional group Great British Racing.
Will the young prince also inherit a love of horse racing passed down through the centuries? Indeed, legend has it Queen Victoria became so excited while watching a race at Ascot one time, that she broke the window of the Royal Box in a rush to see the finish.
Queen Elizabeth II was more contained than her great great grandmother – though still visibly delighted – when her own horse “Estimate” won Britain’s prestigious Gold Cup race in 2013.
The ultimate gift?
So what would one buy for the horse racing-mad monarch, that hasn’t been bought before?
“The ultimate gift would be a ‘nomination’ to Galileo or Frankel, the two most expensive stallions in the world,” said Nick Attenborough from Great British Racing, of the chance to mate a mare with some of the most prized stallions on the planet.
“A mare mating with Frankel, including a live foal guarantee, would cost someone £125,000 ($187,000).”
At that price, it’s a gift fit for a Queen.