Queen's official gifts to be showcased in new exhibition

A totem pole, a "Buckingham Palace" London Underground sign, and a beaded throne are among gifts given to the Queen which will be seen by the public in a special exhibition.

Visitors to the yearly summer opening of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace will be able to see more than 250 official presents given to the Queen during her 65-year reign.

Royal Gifts will showcase items from over 100 countries presented during overseas tours, official engagements, and state visits.

Among them is a colourful beaded Yoruba throne given to the Queen by Nigeria in 1956.

Beadwork and royalty are closely associated, and large quantities of beads are regarded as a sign of status and wealth.

The beaded throne given to the Queen by the people of Nigeria Credit: PA

Other gifts include a 78cm carved wooden totem pole with a thunderbird at the top, made by the Kwakiutl people of Canada's north-west coast and given to the Queen during a tour of Canada in 1971.

The Queen has also received other totem poles - a 100 foot pole, carved from a single log of Western Red Cedar, stands in Windsor Great Park.

It was a present from the people of British Columbia in 1958.

The totem pole given to the Queen by the Kwakiutl people of Canada Credit: PA

In 2015, during a Chinese state visit, President Xi Jinping gave the Queen a model of the Vessel of Friendship ship sailed by the 15th-century Chinese navigator and diplomat Zheng He.

It is decorated with traditional Chinese symbols of friendship and peace.

Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to see the Queen's specially commissioned "Buckingham Palace" London Underground sign, which she picked up on a tour of Aldgate Station in 2010.

At the time she described it as a "fantastic gift".

The Queen said this was a 'fantastic gift' Credit: PA

Exchanging gifts is an important part of diplomacy on state visits and overseas tours, and function as a symbol of good will between two countries.

The rules on official gifts were tightened following the Peat inquiry in 2003 into the sale of royal gifts and the running of St James's Palace.

Gifts cannot be sold or exchanged, and become part of the Royal Collection, which is held in a trust by the Queen for her successors and the country.

Royal Gifts forms part of the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from July 22 to October 1 2017.