There are William and Kate’s fond memories of paddling in Harrington Lake, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Calgary Stampede – and then there’s all that swag.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Canada after their 10-day adventure last summer weighed down with gifts that ranged from the bizarre to the lovely, including a quilt from the Governor-General and a couple of mosquito nets from Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, likely for their visit to the North.
The inventory of gifts, which lists more than 150 items, was provided Wednesday by St. James’s Palace.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, meanwhile, chose to promote Canadian talent and entrepreneurship, his office said, giving Kate three pairs of shoes from Canadian designer Ron White. (Laureen Harper wore red and white Ron White pumps the day the royal couple arrived.)
A Canadian fan gave them a dog toy; the Governor-General gave them a quilt. Not to be outdone, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mrs. Harper gave them a bottle of whiskey.
But there were more prime-ministerial gifts: a woollen blanket, framed photograph, souvenir edition Canadian magazines, two jackets and a Canadian flag.
The newlyweds chose to visit Canada for their first official visit as a married couple. They were wed last spring and came to Canada on June 30, departing on July 8. They went to the United States after that for a short trip.
The British newspapers, who love the royal story, are all over the fact that it was mostly hats and headgear the couple came away with from Canada.
Indeed, the young couple were given cowboy hats in Alberta; Catherine was presented with a “tartan fascinator” (possibly to go with the “tartan waistcoat” that someone gave to Prince William). She was also given a “Ladies blue hat” and then another blue hat from Alberta’s Health Minister. He received three baseball caps. They both received a “selection of hats” from an individual, according to the list.
More than that, however, the Daily Mail has a story about the opulent polar bear-shaped brooch the Duchess received from then-premier of the Northwest Territories Floyd Roland.
The story notes that it was a “specially commissioned piece by Hollywood jeweller Harry Winston” and was made from “platinum, studded with 302 diamonds and crafted into the shape of a polar bear.” Prince William also received a similar gift, only his were cufflinks in the shape of a polar bear.
There is no price listed for the brooch or any of the gifts.
But back to those Ron White shoes though. Foreign Affairs Minister was apparently being frugal with his gifts.
“As Minister Baird is always cognizant of ‘treading lightly’ on the Canadian treasury, there was no cost to Canadian taxpayers for this gift,” spokesman Joseph Lavoie told The Globe.