Why Princess Charlotte had to return this very expensive birthday gift

Royal life comes with lots of rules

Princess Charlotte departs the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla on May 06, 2023 in London, England. The Coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Princess Charlotte, along with her brothers and the rest of the Royal Family, enjoys a lot of privileges compared to other people her age — such as getting to visit TV sets and receive tweets from Shakira.

But being part of such an ancient and public-facing institution also comes with its fair share of rules, which affected Charlotte, 8, pretty much from the moment she was born.

At the time, the Natural Sapphire Company sent her an extra precious rattle made from white gold and embellished with sapphires, rubies and diamonds in the shape of a Union Jack worth tens of thousands of US dollars.

The company explained the over-the-top gift on their website at the time.

"When Kate and William were engaged with the iconic blue sapphire ring that once belonged to Princess Diana, our sapphire ring sales rocketed. Women everywhere wanted to be just as fashionable as Kate," they wrote.

"Today, we continue to grow as a business and it is with great joy that we celebrate the birth of a new royal. We’re thanking Kate and William for introducing our company to the world, by gifting a custom-designed baby rattle, fit for their Princess.

"Baby gifts made from precious metals are a tradition dating back to the 18th century. Our luxury rattle, worth $45,000, is made from 18k white gold; lined with sapphires, rubies and diamonds to produce the Union Jack flag.

"Such a unique gift, unlike any they will receive from well wishes around the world, will surely be treasured."

Sadly, treasured it was not to be, because the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had to abide by a strict royal rule: that they cannot keep such offerings from commercial companies, as reported by Express. By this token, it has been assumed that the rattle was returned to sender.

Still, we doubt baby Charlotte will have felt the loss of her gem-encrusted rattle too deeply, especially considering she was showered with both presents and love by her affectionate family after she was born.

Iris Goldsztajn
Iris Goldsztajn is a celebrity and royal news writer for Marie Claire. As a London-based freelance journalist, she writes about wellness, relationships, pop culture, beauty and more for the likes of InStyle, Women's Health, Bustle, Stylist and Red. Aside from her quasi-personal investment in celebs' comings and goings, Iris is especially interested in debunking diet culture and destigmatising mental health struggles. Previously, she was the associate editor for Her Campus, where she oversaw the style and beauty news sections, as well as producing gift guides, personal essays and celebrity interviews. There, she worked remotely from Los Angeles, after returning from a three-month stint as an editorial intern for Cosmopolitan.com in New York. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles, she interned at goop and C California Style and served as Her Campus' national style and LGBTQ+ editor. Iris was born and raised in France by a French father and an English mother. Her Spotify Wrapped is riddled with country music and One Direction, and she can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.