A couple days ago, the office of the Prince of Wales released lists of gifts given to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (that’s William and Kate/Catherine) and a separate list of gifts given to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (or more familiarly, Charles and Camilla). There was the requisite round of grumbling from the British press, especially when it was revealed via another list that the Countess of Wessex had accepted expensive jewelry from the Crown Prince of Bahrain during an official visit. Bahrain’s human rights policies give Amnesty International plenty to work with, to put it mildly, so accepting such gifts seems a bit of a brow raiser to me. Kate and William also received some expensive gifts during their visits to North America, Australia, and New Zealand in 2011, but none from despots or dictators.
Much like the President of the U.S., British royals must declare gifts and they are not allowed to keep them, although they may use them. The gifts belong to the state, which is, actually, a very nice policy since I assume the cost of insurance and upkeep then falls to the taxpayers. Sweet deal!
If you want to check out the gift list, click here. So they got some nice gifts but they also had to lug home loads of hats, t-shirts, Vegemite, a ball point pen, three pairs of shoes, and a dog toy. It made me think of the crap I’ve lugged home from trade shows. At least they had some diamonds mixed in.