Battle of the rattle: €40k gold ornament among first birthday presents for Princess Charlotte but Irish basketmaker hailed as 'winner'
Published 02/05/2016 | 09:15
An Irish basketmaker has been hailed for his simple woven rattle which was given to Princess Charlotte for her first birthday.
Co Galway basketmaker Ciaran Hogan presented the woven rattle to the Prince of Wales for his granddaughter and it has been included on a list of gifts which include a €40k 18k white gold rattle studded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
Princess Charlotte's toy box already contains gifts from a king, two queens, four presidents and three prime ministers, so if the past year is anything to go by, she'll need an extra bedroom for all of her presents when she celebrates her first birthday.
While the William and Kate Middleton apparently want nothing more than a low-key family party, the rest of the world is determined to make a fuss of the royal toddler.
A list of gifts released by Kensington Palace shows that among the more extravagant presents she has received over the past 12 months is a silver rattle given to her by the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, and his wife, Señora Angélica Rivera, during their State visit to the UK last year.
Even more lavish was an 18k white gold rattle studded with diamonds, rubies and sapphires made by the Natural Sapphire Company and valued at €40k, but the battle of the rattles is likely to have been won by a simple willow one woven by Mr Hogan, which was given to the Prince of Wales for his granddaughter.
The President of China, Xi Jinping, brought Prince Charlotte a set of silk figurines depicting the Dream of the Red Chamber, a classic 19th century Chinese novel, when he came for a State visit in October last year.
Princess Charlotte may, however, have spent more time playing with her gifts from the US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle . When they met Prince George at Kensington Palace earlier this month, Princess Charlotte was already in bed, but they had not forgotten her birthday. They left her a jigsaw and a cuddly toy version of the Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, suggesting she might have taken a shine to an identical toy the Obamas gave to Prince George a year ago. The Obamas had also given her a children’s rocking chair and a baby blanket when she was born.
In total, Princess Charlotte has received gifts and letters from 64 countries around the world, from Armenia to Zambia, meaning that if she ever decides to take up stamp collecting, like her ancestor George V, she will already have an enviable ready-made album.
Schools, community groups and royalists have sent her blankets, clothes, books, toys and plenty of hand-knitted clothes, including a large supply of bootees.
David Cameron demonstrated taste and restraint when he gave Princess Charlotte a copy of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales when she was born. The then prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, was rather more generous, giving her a snowsuit and a book and making a £54,000 donation to Immunize Canada, which aims to eradicate vaccine-preventable diseases in the country.
Another snowsuit came from the Wellington Rugby team via Prince Harry when he toured New Zealand last year, together with a New Zealand Rugby sleepsuit, while the country’s Prime Minister, John Key, sent a selection of teddy bears, baby blankets and bootees made from Stansborough wool.
One garment the Princess is unlikely to have worn, given the political sensitivities that prevent members of the royal family travelling there, is a pink dress sent by the Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, embroidered with the words “From Israel With Love”.
Princess Charlotte will be able to decide whether she prefers New Zealand wool or Tasmanian merino wool, as the Australian Government sent her a cot blanket sourced from the Waverley Woollen Mills in Launceston, embroidered with the Australian floral emblem, the wattle, by members of the ACT Embroiderers’ Guild.
The Australian Government also contributed £5,200 to the Healesville Sanctuary, part of Zoos Victoria, to support its conservation work for the mountain pygmy-possum.
Most recently, both Prince George and Princess Charlotte were given coats by the King and Queen of Bhutan when their parents visited the country this month.
Most practical of all of her presents was a set of biodegradable nappies bought by the Duchess’s sister Pippa Middleton, made of natural mull cloth and costing £4 each.
There are, of course, gifts from another Queen – her great-grandmother, known as “gan-gan” by Prince George. The Duchess said recently that Her Majesty “always leaves a little gift or something” for Charlotte and George whenever they come to stay at one of her residences.
A spokesman for Kensington Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are incredibly grateful for all the letters, gifts and good wishes they have been fortunate to receive in the year since Princess Charlotte was born."
* Silver rattle – President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico
* White gold rattle with diamonds, rubies and sapphires – The Natural Sapphire Company
* Willow hand-woven rattle – Ciaran Hogan, basketmaker
* Set of silk figurines depicting Dream of the Red Chamber – President Xi Jinping of China
* Jigsaw, cuddly toy “Bo” dog, rocking chair, baby blanket – President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
* Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales – David Cameron
* Snowsuit, book, and £54,000 charity donation – Stephen Harper, former Canadian prime minister
* Snowsuit – Wellington Rugby, New Zealand
* Sleepsuit – New Zealand Rugby
* Teddy bears, baby blankets, bootees made from Stansborough wool – Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand
* Pink dress embroidered with “From Israel With Love” – President Reuven Rivlin of Israel
* Merino wool cot blanket and £5,200 donation to mountain pygmy-possum sanctuary – Government of Australia
* Bhutanese coat – King and Queen of Bhutan
* Set of biodegradable nappies – Pippa Middleton