In our commemorative issue for Queen Elizabeth's official 90th birthday we invited readers to take our fiendish royal quiz on her life so far..
What to give the woman who has everything?
Choosing a birthday present can be a tricky business at the best of times, but what on earth would you give our Monarch for her 90th? At Christmas, her own family are known to stick to amusing gifts such as whoopee cushions and novelty bath mats, or perhaps something homemade—The Duchess of Cambridge recently revealed that she gave her mother-in-law a jar of chutney.
The 100 cases of tinned pineapple that came as a wedding present from Australia may have been welcome, but the marzipan model of the Brandenburg Gate from German President Joachim Gauck was probably less so. And what to do with the giant wine cooler in the shape of a grasshopper from President Pompidou?
One much-loved and surely matchless present was Burmese, given to The Queen by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the steadfast black mare was Her Majesty’s favourite mount for Trooping the Colour from 1969 to 1986.
Whether the gifts are bizarre (a brace of sloths from Brazil), extravagant (a Derby favourite from Sheikh Mohammed) or touchingly simple (posies proffered by small children outside Sandringham church), all are given in a spirit of warm affection.
The question is, however, what’s left?
Below we suggest six perfect birthday presents for The Queen
A Derby winner
It’s the only classic race she has yet to win—her horses have been second and third—but no monarch since Edward VII has owned a Derby winner.
Return of Britannia
Her Majesty was seen to shed a rare public tear at the decommissioning ceremony of her beloved yacht Britannia in 1997. Given her still punishing schedule, the esteem in which she is held abroad and her incalculable role as an ambassador, surely she should be allowed such dignified, safe and comfortable transportation?
An Olympic gold medal for Zara Tindall
The Queen has long supported the British eventing team and she gains great pleasure from the achievements of her granddaughter, who she would love to see go one better after winning a silver medal in 2012.
A revival of Oklahoma!
People Will Say We’re in Love is The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s song. What better way to look forward to their 70th wedding anniversary next year?
Her Majesty has expressed a wish for her grandchildren to spend less time on their phones. This curb could perhaps apply to the media’s sensitive camera microphones, to avoid undeserved revelations, along with a rebuke to some indiscreet Ministers.
More free time
The Queen is clearly never happier than when in the countryside with her many animals—working her gundogs, visiting her racehorses or her cattle, riding her Fell pony. It’s the nearest she gets to ‘normal’ life. An extra month’s respite at Balmoral is surely not too much to ask.