Marketing the Royals: The Strangest, Oddest & Most Unexpected Souvenirs

Blair Cowan

Souvenirs of the royal family have been around for as long as there has been a royal family; from the valuable (clothing) to the morbid (death masks) to the just plain strange (hair), there has always been a market for items even tangentially related to the royals. With the recent birth of a royal baby and the approach of a royal wedding, we’ve got royals on the brain… or at least, we’ve got royal merchandise on the brain!

Here are the strangest, most off-brand, weirdest souvenirs from the last 200 years of royal history:

  • Let’s start with one we’re all familiar with: Queen Victoria’s cake. Thanks to The Great British Bake Off, we all know how common bits of the Queen’s cake are. Weighing in at 300 pounds and measuring 9 feet in diameter, it’s understandable (if a little gross) that pieces still exist now, some 175 years later.

  • Fast-forward a century or so and Queen Elizabeth was crowned, an occasion that merited a flurry of souvenirs that still show up in cafes, homes and shops today. Perhaps the oddest is this caddy, featuring a portrait of Mr. H Wide in a place of prominence, with only a small mention of the coronation on the lid.

  • More recently, Will & Kate’s wedding in 2011 generated all kinds of unlicensed, unofficial merchandise (and nearly £200m was spent on wedding souvenirs in Britain that year), but among the most ill-conceived would have to be this mug. So special.

  • Not to be outdone, Charles & Diana’s wedding in 1981 was a veritable paradise for royal memorabilia collectors. From plates and mugs to silver spoons and all the things we’ve come to expect out of a royal event, their wedding also generated these ashtrays. Because nothing says ‘day to remember’ like stubbing out your ciggy on a prince’s face.

  • Just a few years after Charles & Diana’s wedding, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew were married, a union which the nation of Belize celebrated with a series of commemorative stamps, despite neither the bride nor the groom having any connection with the nation.

  • Back in 1937 George VI was crowned, an event observed by the brand Litbadge with these light-up badges. Who doesn’t love a decoration just as likely to burn a hole in your coat as it is to show your patriotism?

  • Finally, let’s all hope for happier guests at Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s wedding than these attendants from Princess Mary’s 1922 wedding.

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