The Richmond Review, Wednesday, July 29, 1981

by Graeme Elliott

There is a spoiler in every crowd, but the antique dealer who complained about one of Canada's gifts to Charles and Diana has to take the royal wedding cake.
Most of us were not consulted as to what gifts Canada should have sent the newlyweds.

It is hard enough to buy something for family and friends, without having to figure out what might please royalty. What does one buy a family that has everything, including the crown jewels?
Fortunately, the government wrapped the cloak of leadership about itself, in a manner we seldom see these days, and marched down to a local gift shop to select some fitting presents.
There were some who feared the government might do its shopping in a souvenir shop near Parliament Hill, and that the wedding gifts might be no more than a few tiny Canadian flags, made in Taiwan, and a post card of a Mountie standing in front of the Peace Tower. Given Pierre Trudeau's peevishness
at the British about this constitution nonsense, those might have been purchased, had he not been so busy looking after the menu and wine list for the summit meeting.
Others feared the prospect of the government shopping for gifts, armed with a Chargex card and its own sense of thrift.
And, there were those who felt a crock-pot or a set of towels should have been included.
However, most Canadians felt the government's gifts were appropriate, and not overdone. Until the antique dealer raised his ugly head, and questioned the antiquity and authenticity of one of the larger gifts, a bed.
Perhaps this fellow owns a second-hand store across the street from the shop where the government purchased the bed.
Perhaps his competitor saw
the government coming, cash in hand, and the cloak of leadership snugly wrapped about it, and did unload a piece of junk on the unwary purchaser. Caveat emptor, as they say.
Who knows? These details are rarely reported.
For whatever reason, this dealer got his nose out of joint, as people are wont to do about the purchase of wedding gifts, and complained loudly enough for everyone to hear. We found the bed lacked its original headboard, nor was it built in Ontario, as had been claimed by the dealer who sold it. It was built in New York state, apparently.
Since the whole idea was to give typically Canadian gifts, what could be more appropriate than Ontario being represented by an import of dubious quality, suitably marked up for resale?
One can only hope the furore did not reach the ears
of Charles, large as they are, or Diana. It would have spoil- ed the surpirse of having a delivery man drive up to unload an old bed in the driveway of the palace.
Despite the lone voice of this spoiler, and the nits he was was picking, this is a most fitting gift for the newly-weds.
While he complains that just any old bed won't do, Charles and Diana, like all newly-weds, will doubtless find that any old bed will do.
If they don't like it, they will do like any other couple, and set it up in one of the seldom-used bedrooms, and pile all the crock-pots and towels on it.
A gift that is sure to be a hit are the Cowichan Indian sweaters. It may be a little like sending coals to Newcastle to send a woolen garment to Britain, but the finally-weds are sure to get much wear from those sweaters, the climate being such as it is.
They are just the thing to wear to polo matches, I hear.

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