Queen baffled by gift pony painting

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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A stylised painting of the Queen sat on a pony prompted the monarch to declare “that’s a funny colour for a horse” when the German president gave her the artwork.

Artist Nicole Leidenfrost had painted a young Princess Elizabeth riding a blue coloured pony – which had flecks of yellow and green – with the Queen’s father George VI also in the image holding the animal’s reins.

With her expert knowledge of all things equine the acrylic painting of the horse depicted with a range of bright colours and not the usual grey, black or brown – may have thrown the Queen.

The monarch also struggled to identify the King, whose features were not distinct, and she asked President Joachim Gauck: “Is that supposed to be my father?”

The good natured conversation carried on and Mr Gauck said “Don’t you recognise him?” and his guest replied “no”.

State visits are normally marked by an exchange of gifts between the heads of state and on the first full day of the Queen’s trip to Germany the president presented the double portrait by the up-and-coming local artist.

The two world figures met at the 18th century Bellevue Palace, the president’s official Berlin residence, with their partners, the Duke of Edinburgh and Daniela Schadt.

The painting, commissioned to mark the visit, was produced from a photograph taken in 1935 when the Queen was either eight or nine years old.

Philip received a more traditional gift – an 18th century map of Europe – and the royal couple were also given some luxury marzipan.

In return the Queen and Duke gave the president Briefe Eines Verstorbenen, a four volume set of the early 19th century letters of German nobleman Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau chronicling his journey around England, Wales, Ireland and France.

There was also a private gift to the president’s partner – a pair of candlesticks.

The Queen arrived in Germany yesterday on a chartered private jet that is also believed to be used by the Premiership team Tottenham Hotspur Football Clube.

The luxury jet has the registration G-THFC, the same initials of the famous north London club and boasts a spacious interior, seating about 12.

A state limousine in the traditional burgundy and black livery was transported by lorry from the UK for the visit and it was escorted by 15 motorcycle outriders when the royal couple left Tegel military airport.

Before the Queen arrived the monarchy’s annual accounts were published, which revealed Scotland could cut its contribution to the British monarchy by more than £1 million if plans for further devolution get the go-ahead.

The Royal Family could expect an annual reduction of between £1 million and £1.5 million if profits from the Crown Estate in Scotland are retained by the Scottish Parliament rather than the UK Parliament in a year’s time, a royal source said.

And it was also revealed the Queen may have to move out of Buckingham Palace to allow the historic building to be refurbished at an estimated cost of £150 million.

After meeting Germany’s president and his partner the Queen and Duke joined their hosts for a trip on the River Spree through the centre of Berlin.

Thousands of people lined the banks to catch a glimpse of their famous visitors travelling in Ajax, an open pleasure cruiser built for a German brewing magnate in the year the Queen was born, 1926.

Onlookers cheered from the banks and waved Union flags, while hundreds of schoolchildren stood screaming on a bridge as the monarch passed below.

The Queen appeared delighted by the enthusiasm of her reception. She smiled warmly and waved a lilac-gloved hand at the crowds, as Mr Gauck pointed out the landmarks.

The Duke – leaning casually with one elbow on the outside of the boat – also appeared caught up in the moment, beaming as he too waved at the onlookers.

The Queen wore the same silver and white outfit by Angela Kelly that she wore for the Diamond Jubilee river pageant, when her vessel was part of a huge flotilla but following the cold wet conditions of the day Philip was later taken to hospital with a bladder infection.

After the boat trip, Chancellor Angela Merkel met the Queen and Philip at her office in central Berlin.

Inside the Chancellery, two of the world’s most influential women sat down for a cup of tea and a cosy chat together, while Philip went off separately to chat to Peter Altmaier, head of the federal chancellery.

The chancellor showed the Queen the Berlin skyline from her office, pointing out landmarks including where the wall used to run through the centre of the city.

The two women sat down together, Mrs Merkel in an armchair and the Queen sitting close to her on the end of a white sofa.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” Mrs Merkel asked and the Queen replied “Yes, of course”.

One of her staff quickly produced a cup of tea for the Queen and the chancellor said: “Usually, I make it myself”.

Published: Wednesday 24th June 2015 by The News Editor

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