A Totem Pole and a Grand Ship! See the Most Incredible Gifts Given to Queen Elizabeth During Her Reign
Over the course of Queen Elizabeth's record-breaking 65-year reign, there has been no shortage of gifts — some more lavish than others!
And when Buckingham Palace opens its doors to visitors for the annual summer exhibition in July, more than 250 objects from over 100 countries and territories will be on display.
Among the gifts that will be shown during the opening of the State Rooms from July 22 to Oct. 1 will be a bag of salt, a model of a grand ship from China and a totem pole from Canada. The exhibit will also reveal how the gifts have helped mark significant moments in the Queen’s life.
During his visit to the palace in October 2015, President Xi Jinping of China gave the monarch the Vessel of Friendship, a model of the “treasure ship” decorated with a dove and an olive branch medallion, which are symbols of friendship and peace.
In 1956, the Queen received a magnificent beaded Yoruba throne given by the people of Nigeria. And in 1953, she was gifted a pair of baskets woven from coconut leaves by Queen Sālote Tupou III of Tonga during her seven-month Commonwealth Tour.
She received a hand-beaten silver bowl of fruits from President Kenneth Kaunda on behalf of the government and people of Zambia in 1991.
During her visit to Canada in 1971, the Queen was presented with a wooden mini totem pole carved by the Kwakiutl people of the Northwest coast. The pole is topped by the mythical thunderbird with outstretched wings.
A much larger one — created from a single log of Western Red Cedar and standing at 100-feet tall — had been given to the Queen by the people of British Columbia to mark the centenary of the province in 1958. It currently stands in Windsor Great Park.
At the humbler end of the scale, Salt Island, one of the British Virgin Islands, presented Her Majesty with a linen bag containing salt on her 90th birthday in 2016. The gift represented the tradition of the island paying the monarch an annual rent of a pound of salt on their birthday.
Also featured in the collection will be 100 items given to the Queen by the people and organizations of the United Kingdom. There is a gilded bronze owl, a small-scale replica of the owls designed by John Thorp for the plinths outside Leeds Civic Hall and a Buckingham Palace London Underground sign she was given while on a visit to Aldgate East Tube Station in 2010.