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Chocolate castle, beetles among gifts to Queen Elizabeth

By The Associated Press

This article was published January 15, 2014 at 10:34 a.m.

LONDON — Crystal vases, brooches, books: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II received dozens of traditional gifts last year, but she also got some unusual items, from a chocolate Windsor Castle to some enameled beetles.

Buckingham Palace on Wednesday released a list of official gifts the monarch and other members of Britain's royal family received in 2013 from foreign dignitaries, companies and charities. Many were predictable — china plates, paperweights, framed pictures — but some were more surprising.

The High Commissioner for Bangladesh gave the queen four enameled Scarab beetles, and Sri Lanka's president chose a portrait of the monarch burned onto a tree trunk. The maker of Mars Bars gave her a chocolate version of Windsor Castle and a chocolate carriage after she visited the company's U.K. headquarters.

Some of the more lavish items on the queen's gift list included a family photograph in a gold frame set on a jeweled ostrich egg and a five-strand pearl necklace, given by the president of the United Arab Emirates when he visited in April. The governor of Saskatchewan in Canada sent a diamond and tourmaline brooch.

Princess Anne also received some unconventional presents, including a gnome, a plastic angel, and an art print of the royal riding a moose — a gift from a Canadian artist.

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