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 jealously as someone opens a wonderful gift, wishing the item was your own. 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 at 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 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 actually 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 belong 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 teddy bears and board games 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 into the decor.

If they receive flowers while on 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 it, if King Charles decides he doesn't want to keep it. 

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.

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.