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July 30, 2017

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Queen Elizabeth gift display

BRITAIN’S Queen Elizabeth II is putting gifts received from world leaders on display at Buckingham Palace, with the eclectic collection including presents from the likes of Nelson Mandela and John F. Kennedy.

A remarkable array of over 200 gifts went on display from last Saturday, providing an intriguing reminder of the globe-trotting lifestyle and international encounters of the 91-year-old sovereign.

“One of the most universal aspects of the Queen’s meetings with other heads of state, both at home and abroad, is the exchange of gifts,” said Sally Goodsir, assistant curator of the new “Royal Gifts” exhibition.

Since her accession to the throne in 1952, Elizabeth has traveled more than 1.6 million kilometers around the world and taken part in 89 state visits abroad.

At the same time, she has welcomed more than 100 leaders to Britain for formal state visits.

“The exchange is a gesture of goodwill and these gifts are representative of traditional skills or of cultural significance and speak of a nation of culture’s history and traditions,” explained Goodsir.

Although hugely diverse, these symbols of friendship have often involved an exchange of signed photographs.

These include one from US President John F. Kennedy in 1961, who along with his wife Jackie was invited to dine at Buckingham Palace while on an unofficial visit to London. The gifts on display also include a handwritten note of Kennedy’s “high esteem” for his royal host.


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