Queen Elizabeth Brought the Pope Whiskey, Is the Best at Gifts


Sure, she doesn’t govern or really do much besides herding corgis. But you know what? When it comes to hostess gifts, Queen Elizabeth can take any world leader out there. Pope Francis? Trumped. President Obama? Crushed.

The AP reports that her majesty and his embarrassingness Prince Philip popped down to Italy today, for a quick chit-chat with Pope Francis. They were 20 minutes late: “Sorry to keep you waiting. We were having a very pleasant lunch with the president,” the Queen apologized. But she quickly recovered from the fumble, having rolled up with a nice hamper (perfect for nighttime distribution of sandwiches to the poor) full of the fruits of her own robust agricultural holdings:

Elizabeth told the pope that the jar of honey in the wicker picnic hamper “is from my garden” at Buckingham Palace. “I hope that is unusual for you.”
Francis looked startled when the prince at one point held up a bottle of Balmoral whiskey, from the royal estate in Scotland. Among the goodies were a bottle of cider and a dozen eggs.

The pope probably wasn’t startled so much as realizing he’d been thoroughly trounced in the symbolic-giving-of-gifts competition:

The Argentine-born pope presented the queen with a stone orb topped with a sharp cross, saying it’s for “el ninetto” – a term of endearment for little child. Elizabeth said George “will be thrilled by that – when he’s a little older.”

No one has ever wanted a stone orb, at any age or for any reason. This round goes to the head of the Church of England. However, both boasted a more impressive performance than our own American president, who turned up at the Vatican toting a big box of seeds. Seeds! From CNN:

“These, I think, are carrots,” Obama told the Pontiff, showing him a pouch from the box, which was made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States, in Baltimore.

Nice try, but I’m pretty sure the Vatican doesn’t grow anything but half-broken pieces of Roman statuary. They’re certainly not interested in a sack full of Burpee’s finest. Better luck next time, dad.

Photo via Getty.

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