What happens to gifts Royal Family given on tours? Strict protocol royals must follow

Royal tour: Cambridges ‘yet to take all three kids’ says expert

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According to Sky News, the Royal Family must accept all gifts graciously when they are given them by royal fans, however royal protocol dictates it is Queen Elizabeth who decides which members get to keep which gift. The Royal Family receive so many gifts on their royal tours, from well-wishers on the street, leaders of nations giving welcoming presents, and businesses thanking them for visiting.

Although the royals live in some of the largest estates in the country, not everything they receive as a present is kept.

According to the Royal Family’s Gifts Policy 2003, there are people the royals can and cannot accept presents from, and protocol will dictate what happens to the gifts.

This also includes when staff members are given items the royals decide not to keep.

The gifts policy’s preface says: “These are the latest guidelines and procedures governing the acceptance, classification, recording, retention and disposal of gifts by Members of The Royal Family.”

This policy includes a rule that members of the family cannot accept any gifts which place them under obligation from the donor.

This means they cannot take a gift if they will be expected to do something in return.

On royal tours, the Royal Family will often be gifted a souvenir from the country they are visiting.

Sky News reported that these gifts will be taken back with the Royal Family, and anything that cannot be accepted will be sent back if possible, unless there are cost issues.

There is more freedom for foreign government bodies to give presents to the royals, as opposed to commercial enterprises.

Royals can accept gifts from them according to official policy, especially if the gift marks a personal occasion.

The royals can accept smaller gifts on royal tours from individuals they do not know, such as flowers and food.

However, Town and Country Magazine states the royals cannot accept anything worth over £150, because by that point they would be under obligation to the person gifting the present.

The flowers they receive are reportedly given to hospitals or put on display in the royals’ hotels.

Official gifts on royal tours are those received by a royal from the organiser of an engagement overseas, or given by people not known to them.

Protocol states these are not the private property of the family member they were given to, and so the Queen decides who gets to keep which gift.

On the Royal Family’s website, official gifts on royal tours are recorded as soon as they are received.

For example, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex visited Zambia in 2018, it was made public they received two crocheted toy elephants and a crocheted rattle.

Official gifts cannot be sold to ensure offence is not caused to the donor, according to Sky News.

As a rule, presents to the Queen from another head of state become part of the royal collection.

Presents from host organisers are reportedly kept for at least five years.

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