The question, for anyone having to choose a gift for the Queen, is what to give the woman who has everything.
The answer, as Germany’s president Joachim Gauck discovered on
Wednesday, is certainly not a modernist portrait of Her Majesty on a
President Gauck’s official welcome of the Queen to his country got off
to a distinctly awkward start when the monarch reacted with disdain to
her official present, an acrylic painting by Nicole Leidenfrost.
The painting, called Horse in Royal Blue, that German President Joachim Gauck presented to the Queen (Getty)
The highly stylised picture depicted a young Princess Elizabeth on a
blue pony with flecks of yellow and green, with her father George VI
holding the reins.
“That’s a funny colour for a horse,” said the Queen, who probably knows as much about equine matters as anyone alive.
The original photograph the painting was based on (Royal Collection)
The monarch also struggled to identify the second figure in the
portrait and asked President Gauck: “Is that supposed to be my father?”
The good-natured conversation carried on and Mr Gauck said: “Don't you recognise him?” The Queen replied: “No.”
The Queen and German President Joachim Gauck meet pupils outside Schloss Bellevue Palace (Getty)
The painting, commissioned to mark the visit, was produced from a
photograph taken in 1930. It shows the Queen seated on her first
Shetland pony, Peggy, a fourth birthday gift from her grandfather,
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Miss Leidenfrost, 41, who is based in Wedel, near Hamburg, said it was a
“big honour” for her painting to be presented to the Queen.
Nicole Leidenfrost with one of her paintings
Explaining the blue pony, she said: “I had the idea to make something
really special for the Queen. I was looking on the internet for
photographs and I found one of the Queen on a pony as a little girl. It
was so cute and heart-warming.
“The photo was in black and white so for me it was a nice idea to do everything in colour.
“I always like to paint with bright colours and this pony is royal blue for a royal horse – that is the joke!”
The President was giving the Queen an official welcome to Germany at his official residence, the Bellevue Palace, in Berlin.
The Queen reviews a guard of honour with German President Joachim Gauck at Schloss Bellevue (Sean Gallup/Getty)
The Duke of Edinburgh received a more traditional gift of an 18th
century map of Europe and the couple were also given some luxury
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In return, the Queen and Duke gave the president Briefe eines
Verstorbenen, a four-volume set of the early 19th century letters of
German nobleman Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau chronicling his
journey around England, Wales, Ireland and France.
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The President’s partner Daniela Schadt was given a pair of candlesticks.