The Long and Often Bizarre History of Royal Wedding Gifts
Whether they’re big, small, expensive or cheap, Prince Harry and Meghan should expect a whole lot of gifts—whether they want them or not.
You probably won’t be shocked to learn that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle didn’t register at Crate and Barrel or Bloomingdale’s. Like Prince William and Kate Middleton before them, they too have requested that in lieu of vacuum cleaners and dinnerware, well-wishers should donate to charity. (They’ve identified seven they’re passionate about.)
But that doesn’t mean the couple won’t be receiving plenty of material gifts as well—as is tradition.
According to CNN, royal wedding gift giving has long been used as a diplomatic gesture by heads of state. “It can be used to transfer wealth between families, or it could symbolize a special bond; it could signify an open table, or it could further a relationship.”
When Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married in 1947, for example, the couple was showered with gifts from leaders around the world: crystal candlesticks from Sweden, porcelain horse figurines from West Germany, carpets from India, and more. The people of Kenya even gave them a whole cedar log cabin.
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And sometimes, the best gifts come from ordinary citizens. A Brooklyn woman famously sent Queen Elizabeth a turkey for her wedding, and Prince Charles and Princess Diana received a heart-shaped potato from two young sisters. A few decades later, Prince William and Kate Middleton were given a tandem bicycle by Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London.
So one thing’s for certain, whether they’re big, small, expensive or cheap, Prince Harry and Meghan should expect a whole lot of gifts—whether they want them or not.