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Title: Princess Mary Gift Box
Authors: Power, David
Keywords: Princess Mary Gift
Great War
Issue Date: 28-Nov-2011
Description: Gift Box from Princess Mary (King George and Queen Mary’s 17-year-old daughter) to troops at the front. The surface of the lid depicts the head of Princess Mary in the centre, surrounded by a laurel wreath and flanked on either side by the 'M' monogram. At the top, appears the words 'Imperium Britannicum' with a sword and scabbard either side. On the lower edge, is written 'Christmas 1914' (the time by which it was commonly believed the war would be at an end). In the corners are the names of the Allies: Belgium, Japan, Montenegro and Servia; France and Russia are at the edges. In November 1914, an advertisement was placed in the national press inviting the public to give monetary contributions to a 'Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund' which had been created by Princess Mary. The purpose was to provide a gift to all in uniform for Christmas Day 1914. The money raised was used to provide this embossed brass box with contents varying depending on the recipient: • Officers and men on active service afloat or at the front received a box containing a combination of pipe, lighter, 1 oz of tobacco and twenty cigarettes in distinctive yellow wrappers with Princess Mary’s monogram. • Non-smokers and boys received a bullet pencil and a packet of sweets. • Indian troops got sweets and spices. • Nurses’ boxes contained chocolate. All boxes contained a Christmas card and a picture of the Princess. By 1920, almost £200,000 had been donated for the provision of more than two and a half million boxes with contents.
Appears in Collections:Published Items
World War I

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