The Queen's 'excessive' gift she once demanded from Germany caused 'serious reservations'

It has been revealed that Queen Elizabeth II once requested a rather extravagant gift from the West German government in 1978

The Queen's 'excessive' gift
(Image credit: Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen's 'excessive' gift that she once demanded from Germany has been revealed as a detailed wish list sent by Her Majesty in the 1970s has been unearthed.

In May 1978, the Queen attended a State Visit to West Germany. As is custom, the Queen received a gift from the country in thanks for her visit. However, in a non-traditional move, ahead of her visit, the Queen informed the government of West Germany that she would be 'delighted' with a gift of two coach horses and sent them a 'wish list' specifying the horses she would like to receive.

The Telegraph reported, "In a detailed wish list, she said that she wanted one Holsteiner of around 17hh, with a coat that was not too light and 'under no circumstances too dark'. She said the other horse should be grey and 'not too dirty' in complexion." This archived image of the 'wish list' written in German was published by the German outlet, Spiegel magazine. It is understood that two horses were needed, one for the Queen to pull her carriage, and another for the Duke of Edinburgh, so that he could use the horse to compete in events.

Walter Scheel, then the president of West Germany, reportedly agreed to the request so that the diplomatic visit would be "as comfortable as possible for both sides". 

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen and Walter Scheel

(Image credit: Getty Images)

However, it was noted that this was the most expensive gift ever given by the Bonn republic to a foreign dignitary (the gift would be worth £52,800 or $65,000 in today's money) so this was considered by one German civil servant as 'excessive' and it was added that Germany’s auditing office had 'serious reservations'. 

The Queen's love of horses was well-established during her lifetime and she continued to ride horses until the months leading up to her death. Her Majesty owned several racehorses during her life and had a passion for horse racing and other equestrian events that she passed on to some of her children and grandchildren.

The Queen also loved the non-racing ponies and bred Shetland ponies at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Fell ponies at Hampton Court. Her Majesty also opened a Highland pony stud at Balmoral to preserve the breed of ponies that are native to the Scottish Highlands.

Queen's horses

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo / Contributor / Getty Images)

The King is expected to travel to Germany on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. During this state visit it is thought that he will become the first monarch to speak inside the German parliament. While it is customary that he will be given a gift from the German government in celebration of his visit, it is unlikely that the thrifty King will request something 'excessive' or horse related for this trip.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.