“The paradox of gifts: I know what I have given you. I do not know what you have received.”
– Dr. SunWolf
Gift giving can leave you with the most enjoyable, rewarding feeling. Well, sometimes it can…
Joachim Gauck, the president of Germany, welcomed the Queen to his home (the Bellevue Palace in Berlin) on Wednesday. For someone who is considered to be one of the most elegant women alive, the welcome sure did take an awkward turn!
When you welcome the Queen into your home, it’s customary to give a gift of course! So President Gauck commissioned painter Nicole Leidenfrost to paint a modernist portrait from an old photograph of the Her Majesty.
The original photo, taken in 1930, was of the Queen as a young Princess sitting on a Shetland pony which was gifted to her by her grandfather, George V. Her father is standing nearby holding the horse’s reins.
The Queen’s reaction was blasé at best. She responded with “that’s a funny color for a horse”, referring to the royal blue that Leidenfrost chose (for a royal horse). Then she commented on the man in the painting, “is that supposed to be my father”?
Mr. Gauck tried his best to diffuse the graceless comment by joking, “Don’t you recognise him”? The Queen replied with a simple, abrupt, “No”.
Regardless of the cold reception, Miss Leidenfrost (41) said that she was honoured to have her work be presented to the Queen.
Clearly it’s not easy to buy a gift for such a privileged royal. Maybe she doesn’t appreciate the stylization of a modernist painting…but the gift was certainly beautiful and thoughtful by anyone else’s standards!
Perhaps President Gauck should have gotten her a real Shetland pony instead.