Most of us have received a dubious birthday present over the years - a well-meaning nasal hair trimmer, gents Homer Simpson slippers for a woman and a framed photograph of the giver all featured in a quick office poll at Herald Scotland.

Christmas gifts deserve an honourable mention, too: even Harry Potter couldn't escape receiving a novelty festive jumper from Mrs Weasley in his early years at Hogwarts.

But the Royal family win hands down when it comes to being given weird, wacky, and downright pointless gifts from dignitaries, governments and members of the public.

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Donors are advised not to spend too much money, but the official 2013 list of presents bestowed on the monarchy - details of which were released yesterday - show that some have approached the opportunity to think creatively when choosing gifts a little too enthusiastically.

Here are our favourite items that have been given to the royals over the years - and there's not a battered selection box in sight... 


A bottle of beer

The Cutty Sark Trust - a foundation set up to preserve the Dumbarton-built clipper- gave Prince Charles the obvious beverage of choice from a tea-related organisation... a bottle of beer. 

A book on Scottish military history

Books remain a prevalent theme, with the Queen receiving a copy of Up The Glens - Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders 1783-1994, a handy go-to guide of regimental history.


A cheetah

In 1764, India gifted King George III with a cheetah, which the monarch had collared and set on deer in Windsor Great Park whenever he saw fit. As you do.



An Irish state coach made of chocolate 

Finally, a normal gift! Except the chocolate that Mars donated to HRH in 2013 took the form of a miniature Irish state coach complete with 24-carat gold detailing. Take that, Cadbury. 

A sizable chunk of Antarctica

To tie in with the diamond jubilee year, the UK foreign office named a 169,000 square mile part of Antarctica after the Queen. Slightly less generously, ministers also donated 60 placemats. 

A book entitled Your Arms Remind Me of Pork Luncheon Meat

This year, Princess Anne received what must surely be the most gloriously titled book of all time from author Joan Thompson.

A gingerbread cathedral

Also this year, the Duke of York received ten thousand men. Only kidding - the gift of choice from the Mayor of Munster was a gingerbread cathedral. 

A collection of shells

In 1972, HRH visited the Seychelles and was given a collection of seashells by the governing body. Seychelles... seashells... see what they did there? 

A garden gnome

For Princess Anne, 2013 was something of a double whammy when it came to random gifts - as well as that book, she was also presented with a garden gnome. 

An honorary llama

Everyone loves Llamas, don't they? Especially the Queen, who last year received an honorary one. Just let that sink in for a minute - an honorary llama.