Prince William Once Gave Kate An Embarrassing Gift That She’s Never Let Him Forget

It can be difficult to find good presents to give a new girlfriend, even if you are the future King of England. Recently, while appearing on a BBC podcast, Prince William got to talking about the worst gift he’d ever given Kate Middleton. It was a pretty bad one… But, despite that, she married him in the end anyway.

William appeared on That Peter Crouch Podcast in July 2020, along with the eponymous presenter, himself a retired footballer, plus radio personality Chris Stark and Tom Fordyce, a sports writer. The prince went on the show to discuss the Heads Up campaign, which aims to promote people talking more openly about mental health.

During the podcast William, of course, discussed that issue. Regarding Heads Up, he said, “We all have mental health, and we all have to stay mentally fit… It’s a strength to talk about your mental health, it’s not a weakness. You know if you’re not feeling well, something’s bothering you, talk about it – it’s not a problem.”

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But while on the show the prince also allowed a rare look into his personal life. At one point, the conversation turned to the worst presents the men had ever bought their partners. Crouch confessed that for three consecutive years he bought Abbey Clancy, his wife, the unglamorous gift of a raincoat. But William had an even better story.

The Windsors, of course, excel at gift-giving – it’s just part of who they are. William’s grandmother, the Queen, often uses the power she wields in order to bestow incredible presents on her family members. This includes jewelry, art, houses and even titles. But it’s not just the blood royals who get those perks, even those who marry into the family also experience the monarch’s generosity.

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And even before Kate actually married William, she was the recipient of some pretty impressive gifts from him. While the two of them were courting, the prince gave her a rose gold ring with pearls and garnets on it – those gems being their birthstones. She wore it to their university graduation ceremony.

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But after that came another impressive gift – the engagement ring. It’s probably the most talked-about present Kate will ever receive. Consisting of a band of white gold with 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat sapphire, its beauty and value, while enormous, pale in comparison to its history. Indeed, the piece once belonged to William’s late mother, Diana.

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Indeed, the ring was seen as a shockingly casual choice for a royal back when Diana first got it. The future princess chose it after her engagement to Prince Charles, but she picked it out from a catalogue. That meant that any commoner – if they were willing to part with $60,000 – could wear the same ring as a Windsor.

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Diana gave the ring back to Charles following their divorce. But after she passed away, it was handed down to her sons. The young boys were told they could pick anything out of her jewelry box: William chose a Cartier watch and Harry the sapphire ring. But when the future king wanted to propose to Kate, the brothers switched gifts.

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However, William has also given Kate her very own Cartier watch. In 2014, to celebrate the third anniversary of their marriage, the prince presented his wife with a Ballon Bleu timepiece, and the choice of gift was definitely well-thought out. The wristwatch came complete with little sapphires to match her iconic engagement ring.

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Kate has also received some pretty fancy gifts from her husband’s family. To celebrate her marriage to William, she was gifted jewelry from the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall: an art deco set of bracelet, ring and earrings from Charles and a golden charm bracelet from Camilla. And, in a touching gesture, the latter includes a gold disc with a ‘C’ engraved on each side, to stand for both Catherine and Camilla.

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And after the wedding, Kate was gifted an entire house by the Queen. Now that they were married, she and William were handed the keys to Anmer Hall on the monarch’s Sandringham estate. But this was no ordinary starter home for the young couple. Indeed, the manor just happens to have a whopping ten bedrooms, a tennis court and a swimming pool.

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However, the Queen herself has been given gifts over the years as well, a great deal of them, and some are pretty weird. For example, in 2015, the British Virgin Islands’ governor gave the monarch an extraordinary present. It was a bag of salt. The seasoning was intended to be a symbolic gesture, but what the family eventually did with it remains unknown.

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World leaders probably have a hard time finding gifts to bring the Queen. When Barack and Michelle Obama paid an official visit, they gave her an iPod – but she already had one. However, Michelle has also sent the monarch other presents, including a homemade jar of honey butter and a Tiffany & Co. silver vase, among other things.

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Even the Queen’s corgis have been given gifts on occasion, via their owner of course. When the monarch turned 90, she was presented with a set of dog jackets from the Royal Borough of Windsor. Pet companies have also gifted the pooches many items, including a dog bed shaped like a crown and soap especially for canines called “Timid Joe.”

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However, should you want to give the Queen a present, be warned that she may not actually be impressed. For example, in 2015 the monarch was shown a Nicole Leidenfrost impressionist-style painting of herself as a girl riding a horse, accompanied her dad. She reportedly quipped, “That’s supposed to be my father, is it?” Ouch.

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Kate herself must have been worried when it came time to meet the Queen and present her with a gift. She eventually decided on a jar of chutney that she’d made herself, and it turned out to be a good choice. The monarch reportedly loved it and the next morning it was on the royal dining table.

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Christmas, though, presents a whole new set of challenges for the royals. The Queen has to purchase gifts for all of the staff members who’ve worked in her household for over 12 months. Since there are quite literally hundreds of them, that’s no easy task. As a result, the monarch apparently starts inquiring about yuletide pressies in spring.

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Everyone on the Queen’s staff chooses their own present, up to a certain value. The monarch then goes shopping for them. She uses the department store Harrods, and sometimes even has it closed down so she can shop alone. Then, a week before Christmas, the staff show up to the State Apartments to receive their gifts.

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There is also a royal Christmas tradition where the monarch gifts portions of coal to the “deserving and needy” people of Windsor. Back at the beginning of her reign she would do this for almost 1,000 people. Thankfully living standards have improved a lot since then, and the number has gone down significantly.

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However, when it comes to the royal family’s own Christmas celebrations, the Windsors take a more relaxed attitude towards presents… A much more relaxed one. They use the occasion as an excuse to give each other silly gag gifts. For example, Harry reportedly once gave his grandmother, who, don’t forget is the Queen, a shower cap with “Ain’t Life a B****” on it.

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Needless to say, this tradition can be a bit difficult for newer members of the royal family to navigate. For Diana’s first family Christmas following her marriage to Charles, for example, she gave Princess Anne a cashmere sweater and got a toilet roll holder in return. Luckily, the next year she came prepared with joke gifts, such as a leopard-print bath mat.

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The women who followed Diana in to the family, however, reportedly got wise to the tradition straight away. Kate is known to have gifted her brother-in-law, Harry, a “Grow your own girlfriend” kit and, hopefully, he took it in good humor. And Meghan Markle apparently once gave the Queen a singing toy hamster.

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So clearly, the very concept of royal gift-giving is a complicated one. That’s why William had such a good story to contribute for the Peter Crouch podcast. However, it didn’t paint the younger version of himself in a necessarily great light. He even admitted that his present to Kate wasn’t really an overly thoughtful one.

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The prince confessed, “I did get my wife a pair of binoculars once – she’s never let me forget that.” He went on, “That was early on in the courtship. I wrapped them. They were really nice. I was trying to convince myself about it. I was like, ‘But these are really amazing, look how far you can see!’”

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Alas, it took more than the concept of being able to see really far to convince the future Duchess of Cambridge. William told the other men that upon handing over the gift, “She was looking at me going, ‘They’re binoculars, what’s going on?’ It didn’t go well. Honestly, I have no idea why I bought her a pair of binoculars.”

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William is, of course, far from the only person to have given their girlfriend a bad present. And when the clip of him telling the story was posted online, people appreciated the prince sounding so relatable. One person wrote beneath the YouTube post, “For the all of the titles and privilege, he really does come across like a completely normal, decent bloke.”

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However, William had some other stories to tell during the podcast, and they were quite relatable as well. He talked about trying to homeschool his son George and how difficult he’d found it. He admitted to the other guests, “I was a bit embarrassed about my maths knowledge – I can’t do Year Two Maths!” That’s the equivalent to first grade work. And the admissions didn’t end there.

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William also confessed that he was no longer allowed to use the official Kensington Royal Twitter account after commenting on some football results. He said on the show, “They deliberately keep me away from that. When Liverpool won that amazing Champions League semi-final against Barcelona [in May 2019], I grabbed hold of the Twitter thing and just posted.”

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That, it seems, was not a good idea. William went on, “It was an amazing match, I was blown away by it. It was one of the best games of football I’ve ever seen. I got completely out of control. I was like: ‘Tweet that! Get it out!’ And nearly every Villa match we’ve won – which isn’t many this season – I’ve been trying to get hold of it, but they keep it away from me now.”

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The prince also answered some more personal questions during the podcast. And they included revealing what his favorite karaoke song was. William answered, “To be honest, I’m not going to lie. I haven’t sung karaoke for a while now, but probably Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’ It’s one of the few songs I know all the lyrics to.”

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William came off as a very normal person during the podcast. But occasionally the audience was reminded that, no matter what, he was still heir to the throne. The prince told a story about how he tried to use his royal security connections to intimidate a rival football player when he was a youngster.

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The Duke of Cambridge said that when he played football as a boy, “everyone wanted to break my legs.” So he asked one of his security people to help him play a prank. According to William, “I got one of my policemen to take a laser pen out with them. And I got him to red mark, red dot one of the players.”

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William went on, “I was about 15 at the time. I said [to the other player], ‘See, he’s following you.’” Crouch said, “Pretending to have a sniper on him?” to which the prince answered, “Exactly… It put him off for about, you know, ten minutes.” That’s the sort of thing teenage royalty can get away with.

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However, despite all the banter and the tales of bad gift-giving, William didn’t forget the real reason he was there: to talk about mental health. In particular, the prince wanted to discuss the intersection it had with sport. He said on the podcast, “I’ve met a lot of players. It’s very interesting, how different sports and different teams behave in a changing room.”

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William went on, “We talk about physical fitness. We never really talk about mental fitness. We all need to stay mentally fit, none more so than professional athletes who – under special circumstances playing for England under huge pressure – have got to have their heads razor sharp as well as their feet and legs.”

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The prince has since been praised for devoting so much effort to mental health. In August 2020 the presenters and guests of the podcast Royal Rota highlighted his work. Steph Houghton, captain of England’s national women’s team said, “We all know football is the most popular sport in this country. I think there is a lot of things said about our physical fitness as human beings, but we sometimes forgot about the mental side of things.”

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Houghton went on, “I am really excited about [the campaign] and think it brings positive change, not just for football, but for the fans and everybody else in the country.” Royal expert Chris Ship added, “This is what the royals are about isn’t it? It is about focusing the media’s attention where necessary on some things and issues they would like to raise.”

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It seems William is also willing to put his money where his mouth is. Indeed, in July 2020 he and Kate donated a large amount of cash to several mental health charities. This meant that more emotional support could go into schools, more helpline workers could be hired and 20,000 new moms could be helped.

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Of course, Kate has consistently been by William’s side ever since the mental health campaign started. And their relationship seems as strong as it ever has, if not stronger – she was seen recently placing a hand on the prince’s back, a level of affection royals don’t usually show in public. So clearly those binoculars weren’t a dealbreaker.

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