Glitter balls, a dog bed and a Union Jack from a spacesuit among Queen’s gifts

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Glitter balls for the royal Christmas tree, a purple fleece dog bed and the Union Flag from Major Tim Peake’s spacesuit were among the gifts given to the Queen last year.

Annually released records of official presents received by the royal family in 2017 showed that the monarch was also given an ostrich egg decorated with Maasai beadwork as a 91st birthday present from the Kenyan president.

British astronaut Major Peake, who became the first Briton to form part of the crew of the International Space Station, handed over his own historic gift at Windsor Castle.

He gave the Queen the flag from his spacesuit when he stayed with the monarch for a “dine and sleep” gathering at her Berkshire residence last April.

The Queen, with the Duke of Edinburgh, examining a gift (PA)
The Queen, with the Duke of Edinburgh, examining a gift (PA)

In November, the Queen was presented with two sets of glitter balls for her Christmas tree by the German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

GCHQ also opted for an early Christmas theme when the monarch opened the National Cyber Security Centre in London last February, with the British security agency giving the Queen a Christmas decoration containing Enigma machine paper.

The dog-loving head of state – who now has one corgi and two dorgis – received a purple fleece dog bed and soft toy after a visit to the Canine Partners National Training Centre in November.

She was also given a silver-plated filigree pumpkin during an audience with the Cambodian Ambassador.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte received armfuls of gifts on their overseas tour to Poland and Germany in July, receiving 59 presents between them.

The Cambridge family on their trip to Poland (PA)
The Cambridge family on their trip to Poland (PA)

This included 17 soft toys, two lollipops, three toy trains, a toy pram, three dresses, two pairs of socks and a dreamcatcher.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also received a variety of gifts on the high profile trip including 19 books, three pairs of earrings for Kate, and three pairs of cufflinks for William.

There were two handbags for the duchess and replica cavalry sabre for the duke from the President of Poland Andrzej Duda.

During her solo visit to Luxembourg, Kate received a bamkuch by a member of the public, a traditional European cake with a hole in the middle that is served on important occasions.

When William and Kate visited Paris the outgoing President Francois Hollande gave the couple some decorative arts – a vase for William and a ceramic rose sculpture for Kate.

Official gifts can be worn and used, but are not considered the royals’ personal property. The royals do not pay tax on them.

They can eat any food they are given and perishable official gifts with a value less than £150 can also be given to charity or staff.

Gifts cannot be sold or exchanged and eventually become part of the Royal Collection, which is held in trust by the Queen for her successors and the nation.

The rules on official presents were tightened following the Peat inquiry in 2003 into the sale of royal gifts and the running of St James’s Palace.

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