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Report: Queen Elizabeth II asked Germany for pricey horses

Germany Britain Royal Visits
Posted at 11:24 PM, Mar 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-27 23:24:10-04

BERLIN — Two horses fit for a queen, please.

That's what Britain's Queen Elizabeth II had asked for as a gift during her state visit to Germany in 1978, weekly Der Spiegel reported Monday.

The expensive present raised eyebrows among German bureaucrats at the time, who noted that the Holsteiner and the gray Elizabeth requested cost more than any other offering made to a visiting head of state since the end of World War II.

Nevertheless, Germany's then-President Walter Scheel approved the gift in the interests of good bilateral relations, Der Spiegel reported citing previously confidential archive papers.

The magazine reported that the papers also noted the late monarch's aperitif preferences — gin and tonic — and dislike of helicopters.

Records showed that the British embassy had concerns about possible protests if Elizabeth visited Dresden during her trip in 1992. In the end she did attend a church service and was largely welcomed by locals in the city that was flattened by Allied bombing raids during the war, Der Spiegel reported.

Another sensitive issue during the trip was the question of whether Elizabeth would make a speech at the Bundestag. Der Spiegel reported that it was then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl who raised objections, possibly because of his lingering anger at Britain's efforts to block German reunification a few years earlier.

In total, Elizabeth made five state visits to Germany, most recently in 2015, though only files older than 30 years were released.

The report comes days before Elizabeth's son, King Charles III, makes his first state visit to Germany. The monarch was originally meant to visit France first, but plans for that trip were postponed due to anti-government protests in the country.

Charles' three-day visit to Germany from Wednesday to Friday will include stops in Berlin, Brandenburg and Hamburg as part of a diplomatic outreach effort before his coronation on May 6. Unlike his mother, Charles will be permitted to speak before the Bundestag on Thursday.

Britain's royal family has ancestral ties to Germany. Before changing its name to Windsor due to concerns about anti-German sentiment during World War I the family bore the name Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, indicating its German heritage.