MacBooks for Charity, Photos, Shanks + Seeds: President Obama’s Gifts for the Royal Family

By Nitya

May 24, 2011 9:27am

Newlyweds Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, received a wedding present from President and First Lady Obama today: six donated MacBook Notebook computers to Peace Players International in Belfast Ireland, a charity of the Duke and Duchess’ choosing.

President and Mrs. Obama are staying in the Belgian Suite at Buckingham Palace this evening, and they also had a number of gifts for their hosts.

The Obamas gave Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II a collection of rare memorabilia and photographs in a handmade leather bound album that chronologically tells the tale of the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth — her parents — visit to the United States in 1939.  That trip was the first to the US by a reigning British monarch.

You may recall the president's gift for the Queen in 2009 was an iPod featuring videos of the Queen's 1957 and 2007 visits to Jamestown, songs, and the audio of some speeches by the president.

Other information provided by the White House about this year's gifts:

For His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh — and a fan of equestrian sports, specifically carriage driving — the President and Mrs. Obama gave a custom-made set of Fell Pony bits and shanks, as well as original horseshoes worn by recently retired champion carriage horse Jamaica. Designed in Colorado and made in Ohio, each shank is engraved with the Presidential Seal. 

For Prince Charles and Camilla — a.k.a. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall — he President and Mrs. Obama gave a special selection of plants, seedlings and seeds from the gardens of Mount Vernon, Monticello and the South Lawn of The White House, as well as jars of honey from The White House beehive. 

The White House calls this a one-of-a-kind collection, presented in a specially handcrafted wooden box made from a Magnolia tree that fell on the grounds of The White House during the snowstorm of February 2009. 

The Royal family gave President Obama facsimiles of a selection of letters taken from the royal Archives to and from a number of presidents to Queen Victoria.

A Palace spokesman says the letters commence with one from John Quincy Adams to Princess Victoria in 1834 and, chronilogically, end with one from William McKinley in 1897 to Queen Victoria marking her diamond Jubilee year. "The volume includes letters and watercolors regarding the Prince of Wales' trip to the U.S. in 1860 and letters in response to the death of the Prince Consort and Abraham Lincoln," says the Palace spokesman. "The documents have been bound in book form, red leather with gold lettering and presented in a presentation box."

The Royal family gave First Lady Obama an antique broach "in the form of roses made of gold and red coral, presented in a red leather jewel box made in the same leather as the book," says the spokesman. "In that broach, the leaves and stems were made of gold and the roses were made of red coral."

The Belgian suite, where the Obamas will be staying tonight, is on the ground floor of the North part of the Palace, facing garden front. Visiting heads of state often stay in these rooms, which were first decorated for Prince Albert's uncle Léopold I, first King of the Belgians, and were also the home of King Edward VIII during his short reign.

-Jake Tapper

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