What do you get the person who has everything? It’s a phrase that we hear a lot around Christmas.
But what if your mother is the Queen of England? What if your brother is next in line to the throne? What are you supposed to buy then?
The rules of the Firm at Christmas
It is well known that members of the British Royal family refer to themselves as “the Firm,” reflecting the fact that they are not only a family unit but also a group of professionals who must consider appearances at all times.
Whenever it is necessary to renovate a property or spend money on a royal family event, there are always those members of the public and those in the media who will call foul about the royal family using taxpayers’ money to fund their lives.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall helps children from the Helen and Douglas House and London Taxi Driver’s Fund for Underpriviledged Children decorate a Christmas tree in Clarence House on December 6, 2011 in London, England. (Photo Credit: Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
With that in mind, the family long ago introduced the idea that Christmas presents between family members would be small items only. Novelty items were strongly encouraged, given that the Queen is reputed to have a wicked sense of humor.
Over the years, this tradition has led to some crazy gift-giving. We take a look at some of the most bizarre below.
The Bass of Balmoral
One present that really amused the Queen was a Big Mouth Billy Bass toy. This was given to her by Prince Harry, and she loved it so much that she put it on display in Balmoral, where it made her laugh.
Big Mouth Billy Bass (Photo Credit: Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos / Flickr / CC2.0)
Happy Christmas, Gran – it’s you!
The Queen’s other grandson, Prince William, bought her a pair of slippers one year. A thoughtful gift for a woman getting on in years, but it came with a twist. The slippers were emblazoned with Her Majesty’s own face.
Slippers with the image of Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth of England (Photo Credit: Frédéric REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
A hint for Harry
Before Harry started dating Meghan Markle – the woman who would eventually become his wife – the Duchess of Cambridge gave him a “Grow Your Own Girlfriend” kit.
Prince Harry, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge stand ready to give an award during a visit to a Christmas party for volunteers at The Mix youth service on December 19, 2016 in London, England. (Photo Credit: Alastair Grant – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Sit on that, Charles
Proving that a sharp sense of humor isn’t just restricted to the younger members of the family, Princess Anne once gave her brother, Prince Charles, a white leather toilet seat.
Some sources suggest that Charles loved it so much he takes it with him when traveling.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the 2016 Braemar Highland Gathering at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park on September 3, 2016 in Braemar, Scotland. (Photo Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Poor Diana was left out of the loop
When her first Christmas with the royal family came around, no one thought to tell Princess Diana about the rule around giving novelty gifts. So, she bought everyone cashmere sweaters and mohair scarves. Because it was a mix-up and a break from tradition, people found it pretty funny anyway, so Diana still came out on top.
The Princess of Wales hides a giggle whilst at the London’s Royal School of Music after she and her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, attended the annual ‘Joy to the World’ Christmas spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall. (Photo Credit: Martin Keene – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Giggles in the shower
It’s possible that no one in the public or the media has ever heard the Queen utter a swearword. However, it is reported that she thought it an absolute hoot when Prince Harry gave her a shower cap that bore the phrase: “Ain’t life a b***h.”
Queen Elizabeth II attends the Sunday service at the church of St Mary the Virgin in Flitcham (Photo Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
When Meghan Markle first joined the royal family for Christmas in 2017, she put a lot of thought into her holiday presents. It was declared that the favorite one was her gift to Prince William. She gave her brother-in-law a spoon with “cereal killer” written on it.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex attend Christmas Day Church service at Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on December 25, 2018 in King’s Lynn, England. (Photo Credit: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Songs for the Queen
Possibly taking inspiration from her husband’s previous gift of a singing bass, Megan Markle also gave the Queen a singing toy hamster, which is said to have had the Queen in hysterics.
Queen Elizabeth II sits and laughs with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex during a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in the town of Widnes in Halton, Cheshire, England (Photo Credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Seasoning for the season
Another food-related gift was given by Princess Anne to her father, Prince Philip. She gifted him a pepper mill with a light on the end of it. Who would want such a bizarre gift? Why, anyone who wanted to season their barbeque food when it became dark, of course!
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Princess Anne, Princess Royal laugh in the Royal Box during the Braemar Highland Games (Photo Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
There’s room for other gifts too
More from us: It’s Tough Being A Princess – 13 Royal Rules That Kate Middleton Has To Follow
While it’s the novelty gifts that people remember, the royals also put thought and care into some more normal gifts. For example, for her first Christmas as the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton gave the Queen a jar of chutney made from an old family recipe.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II attend an event to thank local volunteers and key workers (Photo Credit: Max Mumby/Indigo – Pool/Getty Images)
So, if anyone complains about your novelty gift-giving this Christmas, just tell them you’re following in the footsteps of royalty!