The strict royal rule that means King Charles can confiscate his grandchildren’s toys

Sometimes royal protocol feels a little bit mean...

King Charles, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
(Image credit: Ian Vogle/WPA Pool/Getty Images and Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Due to strict royal protocol, King Charles III is free to confiscate any gifts his grandchildren are given, though we hope he doesn't actually enforce this rule...

We've all felt a small hint of jealousy as someone opens top Christmas toys wishing the item was your own (even if it is a gift for a new dad or best gifts for new mums). We may feel ashamed of the fact, but it's painfully true. Luckily for King Charles, and unluckily for all other members of the Royal Family, he doesn't have to be jealous of their presents as it is within his power to take any gift given to a member of the Royal Family and keep it for himself! 

Ok, there are some limitations to this rule and we're sure he's not taking toys off of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, though there are some incredibly fun-looking toys that we wouldn't mind messing around with ourselves. 

There are many strict rules governing how royals should behave on official engagements, from what they should wear to how much PDA is deemed an acceptable amount. But there is a little-known rule that many overlook. According to OK! Magazine, there is a seven-page handbook detailing the rules around receiving presents as a royal including when they can accept them, when they must reject or return them and how they are recorded.

Even more annoying than having to reject a present is the fact that, for the royals, any gift they're handed does not automatically belong to them. Instead, the monarch gets to decide what to do with it.

Kate Middleton

(Image credit: Getty)

OK! Magazine reports that the Royal Family's own rules explain, "Gifts are defined as official when received during an official engagement or duty or in connection with the official role or duties of a member of The Royal Family.

"Official gifts are not the private property of the Member of The Royal Family who receives them but are instead received in an official capacity in the course of official duties in support of, and on behalf of The King."

This means that all the sweet teddy bears and thoughtful presents that were sent to the Palace or gifted to Prince William and Kate when George, Charlotte and Louis were born actually belonged to King Charles, not his grandchildren. However, we're sure that most gifts are kept by the royal they're handed to, with the official guidance sharing that all gifts are registered on an official 'gift received form' to record everything that has been given to the royals.

Thankfully, the strict rule does not apply to birthday or Christmas presents exchanged within the family or King Charles may have kept the £18,000 first birthday gift Prince George received and have a hoard of the best toys for five-year-olds in a cupboard at home. 

King Charles

(Image credit: Ben Stansall - WPA Pool /Getty Images)

The most notable gift handed to royals during engagements is flowers. But what do they do with such an abundance of floral bunches? According to Keith Roy with the Monarchist League of Canada, the flowers are 'always reused'.  He revealed to OK! Magazine that they tend to be given to charities or churches so they don't go to waste and Kate Middleton often takes some of them back to her own home to add colour to the decor.

If they receive flowers while on a royal tour in different countries, the flowers are donated to local charities, churches and organisations. 

The rules around toys that are received as gifts are much more strict. Any toys handed to a member of the family must first undergo a rigorous security test and, if they pass the inspection, the royal can then decide what to do with them, if King Charles decides he doesn't want to keep them. 

The gift must be valued at a price under £150 if the royals want to give it to a member of staff or if they want to donate it to charity. However, if it's a really good present, the royal can always choose to keep it for themselves.

In other royal news, Prince George, Charlotte and Louis get to open their Christmas presents BEFORE their cousins due to special royal privilege and Princess Diana returned most of Prince William and Harry’s childhood Christmas presents for this frugal reason .

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)

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