By Sylvia Hui Associated Press
LONDON — Crystal vases, brooches, books: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II received dozens of traditional gifts last year, but she also got some unusual items, from a chocolate Windsor Castle to some enameled beetles.
Buckingham Palace on Wednesday released a list of official gifts the monarch and other members of Britain’s royal family received in 2013 from foreign dignitaries, companies and charities. Many were predictable — china plates, paperweights, framed pictures — but some were more surprising.
The High Commissioner for Bangladesh gave the queen four enameled Scarab beetles, and Sri Lanka’s president chose a portrait of the monarch burned onto a tree trunk. The maker of Mars Bars gave her a chocolate version of Windsor Castle and a chocolate carriage after she visited the company’s U.K. headquarters.
Some of the more lavish items on the queen’s gift list included a family photograph in a gold frame set on a jeweled ostrich egg and a five-strand pearl necklace, given by the president of the United Arab Emirates when he visited in April.
The governor of Saskatchewan in Canada sent a diamond and tourmaline brooch.
Cufflinks, ties, tie pins and pens were popular gifts for the royal men, though Prince Andrew also received a set of golf clubs, a gingerbread cathedral, and socks.
Regulations state that official gifts to royals should be recorded. The gifts are not the royals’ private property, though they can consume or use the items, display them in royal properties, loan them to galleries or donate to charity to avoid waste. The gifts must not be sold.