Monday, 15 January 2018

Hand it over!



I was recently going through an old photo album, and came across some amusing letters.

One of my late father-in-law's postings was to Nepal. Much of his work involved 'pressing the flesh', partying, getting naughty Brits out of prison, holding banquets for visiting dignitaries, etc. All typical diplomatic stuff.

He also received invitations to most major events; one of which was the above. The marriage of his friend the Maharaja's son to the eldest Princess daughter of His Majesty the King of Nepal in 1948.

Sadly not all invitations were what they seemed, and attending weddings was out of the question. It was accepted that having a person 'outside the faith' attend a Nepalese wedding was (in those days) totally verboten, and in recompense a 'bag of money' was sent to those who were unable to witness the ceremony in person.

Of course the FO has rules, and any gifts given to diplomats over a certain value become the property of The Crown, and have to be handed over.

I wonder what the FO does with all its 'gifts'? Maybe there's some big basement somewhere in Whitehall, filled with bags of money, fancy clocks, and ceremonial swords, etc.

Even a simple old invitation from the late 40's has a story.




28 comments:

  1. How interesting!
    Your father in law must have had a lot of terrific stories to tell.

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    1. He certainly did, especially from his time in Moscow!

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    2. He sounds the sort of have written a book

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    3. Dealing with the likes of Stalin was fun!

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  2. I was thinking 'what a fun job' - then struck with sadness that someone could send a wedding invitation confidently knowing the guest would realise they should not come.

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    1. I think, when they take up a new post, they learn all the rules, so it probably didn't come as a surprise. I should add that my father in law opened the very first foreign consulate in Nepal, so the rules hadn't yet been written.

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  3. Salmonella in a factory. Baby milk withdrawn in 83 countries. I think it's that cheese firm you mentioned the other day. French firm anyway. Hope your cheese was ok.

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    1. Yes, I only read about it yesterday; sell your Lactalis shares at once!

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    2. Edwina Curry was fired for telling people not to eat soft boiled eggs but to boil their eggs for longer, which something which I still do.
      I hope no babies are ill.

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    3. Eggs have always been iffy; EC just told the truth.

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  4. This was very interesting. Lady M must have beautiful memories of her childhood.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Until she went to school in England.

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  5. When they can't or are not suitable for museum exhibiting I think your assumption is correct: there are some very large rooms scattered round full of gifts of that ilk.

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    1. PS I watched the video before it disappeared. Hilarious.

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  6. Replies
    1. You can hear the trumpeting from Trafalgar Square.

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  7. I think there maybe a few unwanted gifts from Australia in Her Mag's basement.

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  8. What a full and interesting life your father-in-law must have had Cro. I think that I read somewhere or saw on a documentary that there are vaults full of presents from visiting dignitaries and Royal wedding presents that were non PC or just not liked !! Even taking into consideration the great houses that they live in, there can't be room for everything can there ?!!! I wonder if they get them out when aforementioned dignitaries visit ?!!!!! XXXX

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    1. I imagine there must be huge vaults filled with all this stuff, as it's handed out regularly. Some of it is dreadful, but I don't suppose they can get rid of it; just in case.

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  9. It is terrific that you have this historical invitation of another era. It certainly is easier to store than a saber.

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    1. We have lots of other stuff, but it's all locked away in a UK loft.

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  10. A warehouse full of gifts and a story behind each one. Your father in law led a very interesting life. It's nice to save these things. My grandkids like that kind of thing and I am sure yours will too.

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    1. I hope they do, we've kept a lot of stuff hoping they will.

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  11. Indeed Cro. Every picture tells a story even if sometimes you have to look for it.

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    Replies
    1. It could all so easily have been thrown away too.

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  12. There must be a similar basement for all the stuff given to the Queen. Which unfortunately can't be flogged off on ebay because it would cause a major diplomatic furore.

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