What wedding gift do you buy for the couple that has everything? If you’re Queen Elizabeth and it’s 1941, you get stockings. Hundreds of them. That may not sound as exciting as a set of sheets or an ice cream maker (does anyone ever use their ice cream maker?), but during World War II, nylons were a scarce, and therefore hot, commodity.
In the documentary The Majestic Life of Queen Elizabeth II, Royal biographer Robert Lacey revealed that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip received 1,700 wedding gifts. Of those many gifts were several hundred pairs of nylon stockings. “One of the charming things is that, I think, of the 1,700 or so wedding presents that were officially listed, several hundreds were nylon stockings, which loyal ladies in the country decided to send to the princess,” says Lacey in the 2014 documentary.
With Britain at war, rationing of various items had begun and women’s nylon stockings were one of the first items to disappear. Considering the Queen’s strict dress code, which includes never wearing a dress without stockings (still a rule today!), receiving a huge stockpile of nylons was much more useful than a gravy bowl.
In addition to the ample supply of nylon stockings, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were also registered for “a box of apples, 500 tins of pineapple, two dozen handbags and 12 bottles of sloe gin.”
Wait, you can register for handbags for your wedding? Bed, Bath and Beyond really needs to expand their offerings to included purses. Shoes wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
While Queen Elizbeth’s stance on stockings hasn’t changed, royal wedding registries have evolved. For Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s May 2018 wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex asked guests to forgo traditional wedding gifts and instead make donations to one of their seven preferred charities. Although, the couple did make a separate registry for close friends and family, a list that includes items much more expensive than a tin of pineapple.
Prince Harry & Ms. Meghan Markle are incredibly grateful for the goodwill they have received since their engagement, & have asked that anyone who might wish to mark the occasion of their wedding considers giving to charity, instead of sending a gift. https://t.co/lzfrRmoeUv pic.twitter.com/nxrTZtIKBY
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 9, 2018