What do you get the person who has everything? It’s a phrase that we hear a lot around Christmas.
But what if your father is the King of England? What if your brother is next in line to the throne? What are you supposed to buy then?
The rules of the Firm at Christmas
It is well known that members of the British Royal family refer to themselves as “the Firm,” reflecting the fact that they are not only a family unit but also a group of professionals who must consider appearances at all times.
Whenever it is necessary to renovate a property or spend money on a royal family event, there are always those members of the public and those in the media who will call foul about the royal family using taxpayers’ money to fund their lives.
With that in mind, the family long ago introduced the idea that Christmas presents between family members would be small items only. Novelty items were strongly encouraged, given that the Queen was reputed to have a wicked sense of humor.
Over the years, this tradition has led to some crazy gift-giving. We take a look at some of the most bizarre below.
The Bass of Balmoral
One present that really amused the Queen was a Big Mouth Billy Bass toy. This was given to her by Prince Harry, and she loved it so much that she put it on display in Balmoral, where it made her laugh.
Happy Christmas, Gran – it’s you!
The Queen’s other grandson, Prince William, bought her a pair of slippers one year. It was a thoughtful gift for a woman getting on in years, but it came with a twist. The slippers were emblazoned with Her Majesty’s own face.
A hint for Harry
Before Harry started dating Meghan Markle – the woman who would eventually become his wife – the Duchess of Cambridge gave him a “Grow Your Own Girlfriend” kit.
Sit on that, Charles
Proving that a sharp sense of humor isn’t just restricted to the younger members of the family, Princess Anne once gave her brother, then-Prince Charles, a white leather toilet seat.
Some sources suggest that Charles loved it so much he takes it with him when traveling.
Poor Diana was left out of the loop
When her first Christmas with the royal family came around, no one thought to tell Princess Diana about the rule about giving novelty gifts. So, she bought everyone cashmere sweaters and mohair scarves. Because it was a mix-up and a break from tradition, people found it pretty funny anyway, so Diana still came out on top.
Giggles in the shower
It’s likely that no one in the public or the media ever heard the Queen utter a swear word. However, it was reported that she thought it an absolute hoot when Prince Harry once gave her a shower cap that bore the phrase: “Ain’t life a [expletive].”
When Meghan Markle first joined the royal family for Christmas in 2017, she put a lot of thought into her holiday presents. It was declared that the favorite one was her gift to Prince William. She gave her brother-in-law a spoon with “cereal killer” written on it.
Songs for the Queen
Possibly taking inspiration from her husband’s previous gift of a singing bass, Megan Markle also gave the Queen a singing toy hamster, which is said to have had the Queen in hysterics.
Seasoning for the season
Another food-related gift was given by Princess Anne to her father, Prince Philip. She gifted him a pepper mill with a light on the end of it. Who would want such a bizarre gift? Why, anyone who wanted to season their barbeque food when it became dark, of course!
There’s room for other gifts too
While it’s the novelty gifts that people remember, the royals also put thought and care into some more normal gifts. For example, for her first Christmas as the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton gave the Queen a jar of chutney made from an old family recipe.
So, if anyone complains about your novelty gift-giving this Christmas, just tell them you’re following in the footsteps of royalty!