Queen’s whopping annual Christmas gift bill
Think you spend a lot on your Christmas presents? You may be shocked when you hear the Queen's gift list.
The monarch, 93, is said to buy 620 gifts for staff and family, which works out at a final bill of around $58,000, according to a former palace aide, reports The Sun.
Speaking to Fabulous Digital, the aide said up to two weeks before Christmas, the Deputy Master of the Household, instructs the staff, from equerries to maids, from accountants to footmen, to go to one of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace.
They said: "Here they line up to receive a wrapped gift from the Queen, and she says a few words to each of them - usually something like 'Thankyou so much for all your help during the year, followed by Happy Christmas'.
"If the staff are not able to be there on the specified days - they may be a ghillie working at Balmoral for example - the Household makes sure they are sent to them, along with a card from HM.
"The presents are usually a book token or a small piece of china from the palace gift shop, and most years she gives them a small Christmas pudding in a box as well."
According to the Royal Household website, a total of 1500 Christmas puddings, paid for through the Privy purse, are handed to palace staff, workers in the Court Post Office and palace police.
The aide added: "An equerry will be standing beside her with a list, from which he will quietly whisper the name of each recipient as they step forward, just as they would at a palace investiture ceremony."
Each pudding is accompanied with a greeting card from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Queen sends a total of 750 Christmas cards each year.
These are given to heads of Commonwealth countries, and other world leaders, as well as notable people in the UK.
The aide said the Queen used to have a personal shopping session from Harrods in her home before Christmas.
They said: "The gifts are all chosen online by two women in HM's private secretary's office now, but until fairly recently, the Queen used to be able to go on a shopping spree of her own when chosen stores - principally Harrods and Fortnums - would send vanloads of stuff for her to look at.
"All the items were put on display on tables in two big room at Buckingham Palace.
"It was like her very own royal shopping mall. But it's not done now, it's one of those things that she doesn't really need to expend her energy on as she gets older."
Buckingham Palace was contacted for comment and said Christmas gift details could be found on the Royal Household website and wouldn't give further guidance.
Meanwhile, when it comes to her close family, the Queen is said to appreciate joke presents.
Royal author Phil Dampier told Saga: "The adults exchange cheap joke gifts, with Prince Harry once giving the Queen a shower cap with 'Ain't life a b*tch' printed on it."
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission