5 mins

Her Majesty's tackiest travel souvenirs

She is the best-travelled monarch in history and has a collection of tacky souvenirs to match. We list the strangest

Grasshopper Bar

Queen Elizabeth II is the most-travelled monarch in history, making over 175 visits to Commonwealth countries alone. 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.

To mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee, we pay tribute to some of the stranger items she has brought back from her travels.

One does love animals

  • Several horses, including a seven-year-old gelding called James, a gift from the Royal Canadian Mounted police in celebration of the Mounties' 125th birthday.

  • A canary from Germany.

  • Jaguars and sloths from Brazil.

  • Two black beavers from Canada.

  • Two young giant turtles from the Seychelles.

  • An elephant called Jumbo from the Cameroon.

  • Two baby hippos, presented on a state visit to Liberia.

  • A solid silver box containing a live baby crocodile, given on a trip to Gambia. The Queen's private secretary had to keep the reptile in his bath tub .

One is expected to wear that?

  • 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.

  • A diamond and gold brooch in the form of an ear of sorghum from the President of Botswana.

  • A gold brooch in the form of a Kotoko porcupine from the King of the Ashanti.

  • The smallest watch in the world, five-16ths of an inch in diameter, presented on a state visit to France. The Queen lost it out walking, but was given another on her next visit.

Something to brighten one's palace

  • A 100ft totem pole from British Columbia.

  • A Maori canoe from NZ.

  • A collection of shells from the Seychelles.

  • A model of the Toran Gate from India.

  • An outrigger canoe from San Cristobal.

  • Inuit sealskin chessboard from Canada.

  • A whale tooth, presented by Fiji's prime minister in apology for the island becoming a republic.

  • Assorted boomerangs and didgeridoos from Australia.

  • An ice hockey puck from Canada (Maurice 'The Rocket' Richards had used it to score his 350th goal fro the Montreal Canadians).

  • A model oil rig from Saskatchewan.

  • A shell picture from the people of Central Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas.

  • A life-sized carved wooden crocodile from Papua New Guinea.

  • A sword of shark's teeth from Kiribati.

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.

The cooler is the work of the sculptor Francois-Xavier Lalanne. Its head and wing-cases are made of Sevres biscuit porcelain, while the legs are nickel-plated steel and the wings and interior are polished brass. It can also serve as a low-level wine table if the wings are rotated and currently stands at the entrance to the private apartments at Windsor Castle.

More like this

Time lapse videos8 awesome time-lapse videos that will make your feet itch

Everything you love about travel compressed into a few minutes of extraordinary video More

Bizarre Bars8 bizarre bars from around the world

From 6,000-year-old Baobab trees to abandoned 747s, are these the most surreal drinking spots on the planet? More


Unliley Flash Mobs13 amazing flash mobs in unlikely countries

From Madagascar to Mumbai, flash mobs are moving beyond the affluent West to more challenging locations More

Related Articles