One can only imagine the gifts Queen Elizabeth II has received over the course of her historically long reign, from all sorts of global leaders and dignitaries. An article in Reader’s Digest went through some of the weirdest and most surprising of these presents — including one sweet offering from the former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama.
The queen reportedly has an especially warm relationship with the Obamas. According to royal author Tom Quinn in Kensington Palace: An Intimate Memoir from Queen Mary to Meghan Markle, the queen has had a “soft spot” for Americans ever since meeting Barack and Michelle in 2009, and has been requesting another visit, per Insider. And while some royal watchers were aghast to see Michelle with her arms around Queen Elizabeth during that same visit, the hug was nothing but natural affection.
This is why we’re betting the homey gift Michelle gave her new bestie Queen Elizabeth in 2015 came from real thoughtfulness.
Michelle Obama and the queen have a good relationship
According to a list of official gifts received by the queen from world leaders in 2015, Michelle Obama presented her with a gift box with lemon verbena tea, a candle, two small pots of honey, a jar of homemade honey butter from the White House kitchen garden, and a Tiffany & Co. silver “honeycomb and bee bud vase.”
The tea and honey-themed contents of the box might seem more like the type of thing you’d send a distant cousin for her birthday than an offering to literal royalty — but it’s far from the strangest gift on the list. For instance, the governor of the British Virgin Islands gave Queen Elizabeth a bag of salt that year as a symbolic gesture.
And in any case, according to Michelle, the queen is way less stuffy about those sorts of things than you might think. “So I had all this protocol buzzing in my head, and I was like ‘don’t trip down the stairs and don’t touch anybody, whatever you do,'” Michelle said during her book tour for Becoming according to CNN. “And so the queen says ‘just get in, sit wherever’ and she’s telling you one thing and you’re remembering protocol and she says ‘Oh it’s all rubbish, just get in.'”
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