Tackiest royal travel souvenirs

2012-06-01 12:00
This weekend marks Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee and while it may not be equally exciting for all, we have to give the lady some kudos for being the most well-travelled monarch in her country's history.

According to Wanderlust she has made over 175 visits to Commonwealth countries alone... and counting. 

Along the way she has picked up a warehouse full of souvenirs, mostly official gifts foisted upon her as a gesture of goodwill from host nations. And with her own boat - and her own customs and excise officers - she doesn't have to worry about getting them back into the country.

So in honour of her sixty year reign, Wanderlust has put together a list of some of the quaintest items brought back from her travels: 

One does love animals

With a collection of creatures such as the Queen boasts, it's quite unclear why she has not just opened a menagerie on old Buckingham's grounds. 

During the course of her reign she has not only received several horses and a canary from Germany, animals which would quite easily pass as the usual sort of royal gift, but also jaguars and sloths from Brazil, two black beavers from Canada and two giant turtles from the Seychelles. 

And from her African allies? An elephant called Jumbo from the Cameroon, two baby hippos presented on a state visit to Liberia and to top it all off, a solid silver box containing a live baby crocodile from Gambia. The Queen's private secretary had to keep the reptile in his bath tub .

One is expected to wear that?

While it's always great to stock up on some quirky local garments while travelling, the Queen has packed a few fairly... well... interesting items into her bags over the years including:

• A Maori feather coat made from Kiwi feathers with matching handbag also made with Kiwi feathers.

Cowboy boots from Ronald Reagan.

• A penis sheath from Vanuatu.

Something to brighten one's palace

As for mantelpiece trinkets, no one can compete with Her Majesty. Among some of her most impressive royal gifts you will find a 100 ft totem pole from British Columbia, a Maori canoe from New Zealand, an Inuit sealskin chessboard from Canada, an assortment of didgeridoos and boomerangs from Australia and a sword of shark's teeth from Kiribati. 

Bet little Wills and Harry loved nosing through their grandma's bags after each trip!

One does worry about the French

The weirdest souvenir given to the Queen is undoubtedly the 6ft giant grasshopper-shaped wine-cooler/coffee table presented to the Queen by President Pompidou during a State visit to France in 1972.

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