16 January 2014

British Royal Gifts 2013

The British royal family attends Trooping the Colour, June 2013 [1]
Every January, the three major British royal palace offices -- Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace -- release lists of the gifts given to senior royals during official engagements. They range from the academic (a copy of a medical journal) to the weird (a garden gnome) to the edible (a chocolate Windsor Castle). But among the lists, you'll also find a number of sparkling objects. Here's a rundown of the jewels received by the Windsors in 2013.

Buckingham Palace
Gifts received by Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra are catalogued and released by Buckingham Palace.

Gifts received by the Queen and Prince Philip included a number of pieces of jewelry:
-- From the President of the United Arab Emirates, a five-strand pearl necklace
-- From the President of the United Arab Emirates, a gold jeweled photograph frame set on a jeweled ostrich egg
-- From the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, four enameled scarab beetles
-- From the Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, a diamond and tourmaline brooch (see a photo here) [2]
-- From the Newhaven Chamber of Commerce, a gold rose tie pin

Buckingham Palace has not released the full lists of gifts received by the royals. Early yesterday, the lists were published by the Telegraph, but they were later removed.

Clarence House
Gifts received by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Harry are all catalogued and released by the press office at Clarence House [3]. They only release information about gifts received during foreign trips.

Harry didn't receive any jewels (sadly for him), but his father and stepmother received a number of pieces:
-- From HH Maharaja Manujendra Shah and Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, a silver and turquoise octagonal box
-- From the President of Sri Lanka, a pair of cufflinks
-- From the Kudumbashree Rural Project, a pair of earrings
-- From a private individual, a faux pearl necklace
-- From the pupils from The Mahis Secondary School for Girls, a craft bracelet
-- From HH Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, an obsidian and enamel box
-- From HM King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a parure
-- From HM The Sultan of Oman, a necklace
-- From a private individual, two pairs of cufflinks, two tie pins and three pin badges
-- From a private individual, a pewter tie pin
-- From a private individual, a pair of cufflinks
-- From a private individual, two seed necklaces
-- From a private individual, a lapel pin
-- From a private individual, a briefcase containing a pen, a tie and jewelry

There's been no other details about the big jewelry item on this list: the parure gifted to Camilla by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Here's hoping we learn more about this suite of jewelry soon!

Kensington Palace
While last year's list of royal gifts was full of presents for the yet-to-be-born Prince George, William and Kate made no overseas visits this year, so they're not included on any of the 2013 gifts lists. That should change next year, as the family is prepping for a visit to Australia in 2014.

It's worth noting that all of the gifts listed above are not the private, personal possessions of the royals who receive them. They can't sell them, but they can wear and display them -- and in the case of jewels, thank goodness for that!

1. Cropped version of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. The brooch was made by Rachel Mielke for Hillberg & Berk on a commission from the lieutenant governor. The floral piece features Madagascar tourmaline petals, lined with diamonds, surrounding a freshwater pearl. The brooch is set in eighteen-carat gold. Read more about the piece here and here.
3. For a full list of gifts, visit the media page at the Prince of Wales's website.