This weirdly specific royal rule means the Royal Family’s gifts all belong to King Charles

There's a specific royal rule that means gifts given on these occasions are not 'the private property' of the person who receives them

The specific royal rule about gifts that many might not know revealed. Seen here King Charles attends The Braemar Gathering 2023
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

This weirdly specific royal rule means the Royal Family’s gifts all belong to King Charles - no matter who they were given to. 

From the £1.5 million gift the late Queen Elizabeth gave to two of her grandchildren and the Princess of Wales’ “frugal” first gift to her grandmother-in-law, the Royal Family’s presents are often a source of fascination to fans. Known for opening their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, the royals are also said to have a tradition that their festive offerings are either funny or affordable. 

However, this isn’t the only rule that surrounds royal gift giving and there’s a weirdly specific royal rule which means the Royal Family’s gifts all belong to King Charles. According to a gifts policy from the Royal Family back in 2003, presents received whilst undertaking an engagement or official duty are all technically the monarch’s. 

King Charles III and Queen Camilla meet estate staff and members of the public as they depart Crathie Parish Church

(Image credit: Photo by Andrew Milligan - Pool/Getty Images)

It seemingly doesn’t matter if a toy is given to Prince George or a bouquet presented to the Princess of Wales, as the policy states that “official gifts are not the private property of the Member of The Royal Family who receives them”. Instead, they are “received in an official capacity in the course of official duties in support of, and on behalf of The Queen.”

It continued, “As such, Members of The Royal Family are responsible for such gifts on behalf of The Queen (in right of the Crown).”

Since the policy was published, King Charles has ascended to the throne and so it’s likely that the same or very similar rules remain in place with his name in place of Queen Elizabeth’s. 

Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince William, Prince of Wales depart after visiting St Davids Cathedral

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

This means that when working royals or their children receive any presents at engagements they only accept them “on behalf” of His Majesty and they’re actually his. This also reportedly means that the likes of Prince William and Kate and Princess Anne and Prince Edward are also “responsible” for the gifts that they receive in an “official capacity” too. It’s not known whether His Majesty has the right to take away or re-gift certain items to charitable organisations, for example.

Though if they were accepted on his behalf potentially he could make this decision to do so. Any gifts he previously accepted as Prince of Wales during an engagement or royal duty also presumably became officially his when he ascended the throne last year too. 

Prince William receives an England football shirt for his daughter Princess Charlotte

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Some official gifts presented to members of the Royal Family over the years have been especially iconic, including Queen Elizabeth’s life-sized Wendy house. This was an official gift from the people of Wales and is still at Windsor Castle to this day. 

Many fans will also likely remember Prince George being presented with a bilby toy whilst on Royal Tour of Australia in 2014 and Princess Charlotte’s personalised football shirt in 2015. It’s not known if they were able to formally accept these gifts “on behalf” of the monarch, but the thought that went into them is nonetheless heart-warming. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!