The Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod

ROTA obama buckingham palace 010409

It looks like President Obama learned his lesson from the criticism he received by giving a bunch of DVDs to Prime Minister Gordon Brown when they first met. The Obamas arrived in London with some nice, thoughtful gifts for their hosts – gifts for both the Browns and the Queen.

The cable news channels are doing non-stop coverage of the G-20 summit (which actually doesn’t start until tomorrow). In case no one saw the royal visit (or would it be the presidential visit to the royals?), Michelle wore black and white, with a lovely pearl necklace, while the Queen wore pastel pink.

Anyway, everyone is going crazy. I’ve seen CNN’s special report on how the British people adore Michelle Obama. It was a bit of fluff journalism, and I was totally ashamed that CNN ran with it. But now People Magazine has a really good scoop – what the Obamas gave as gifts. The president gave the Queen an iPod. Which might be crass, but he also gave her “a rare 1951 printing of a 243-page Rodgers and Hart Songbook – signed by Richard Rodgers.” Now that’s more like it. So what did the Queen give the Obamas? A photograph of her with Prince Phillip. I was really expecting a Corgi puppy with a red ribbon.

So what do the new kids on the block give the woman who has everything?

On their maiden European tour as President and First Lady, Michelle and Barack Obama put a little of their signature youthful flair into what is usually stuffy old protocol: the exchange of gifts between foreign leaders.

For Queen Elizabeth? An inscribed iPod fully accessorized and loaded with the “ultimate Broadway” collection of 40 tunes, including “People” by Barbra Streisand, “Aquarius” by Ronald Dyson and songs from a wide range of shows from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to Rent and La Cage aux Folles.

And just in case the Queen, 82, and her husband Prince Philip, 87, are more in the mood for a sing along á deux, the Obamas included a rare 1951 printing of a 243-page Rodgers and Hart Songbook – signed by Richard Rodgers – and including music and words to toe-tapping tunes from 22 Broadway shows and two films.

“It was a fun and very welcome gift,” a palace spokesman tells PEOPLE about the iPod, which also contains photos of the Queen’s state visit to the U.S. in 2007.

Returning the generosity, Her Majesty presented the Obamas with a silver-framed, signed photograph of herself and Prince Philip – the traditional gift often given to visiting heads of state.

The President and Michelle Obama had a private audience with the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday afternoon – part of a series of high-level, closely watched diplomatic meetings for the Obamas. Their first stop Wednesday morning was 10 Downing Street, official residence of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his wife Sarah and their two boys – identified in official U.S. trip documents as “Master John” and “Master James.”

There were gifts for them, too. Mrs. Obama selected a personal style favorite for Mrs. Brown – a broach (to be specific, it was a “crochet black flower brooch with pearl accents”). John, 5, got a baseball bat signed by Derek Jeter, a baseball signed by President Obama and a book titled Classic Baseball.

For younger brother James, 2, there was a collection of 10 Dr. Seuss books. As for talks between the President and the boys? “We talked about dinosaurs a little bit in between discussions of Afghanistan and Iran,” Obama said with a laugh. “So we’ve had a wonderful time.”

[From People Magazine]

Wow, the Obamas really stepped it up a notch for gifts. Dr. Seuss books, a brooch, something signed by Derek Jeter. Much better than a sack of DVDs.

There was an old Time Magazine article that discussed the various gifts the Queen has given world leaders over the years. One of my favorite gifts was a special present she gave to Boris Yeltsin. The Queen and Yeltsin had bonded about gardens, and she gave him an intricate glass case full of seeds from her own Buckingham Palace gardens. That was a thoughtful present. Perhaps the Obamas will get something better next time.

Here are President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip during an audience at Buckingham Palace today. Images thanks to WENN .

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81 Responses to “The Obamas gave Queen Elizabeth an iPod”

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  1. becca says:

    he president gave the Queen an iPod. Which might be crass, but he also gave her “a rare 1951 printing of a 243-page Rodgers and Hart Songbook – signed by Richard Rodgers.”

    -The second part is SLIGHTLY better than the Gordon Brown gift-giving disaster.

  2. ChristinaT says:

    omg the queen looks so cute and tiny…

  3. jkate says:

    Oh look at how TINY they are. These are now my favourite photos of all time.

  4. Hieronymus Grex says:

    She’s so tiny !

  5. Annie says:

    How cute is the queen?

    And I would’ve totally gone all giddy-glee if she had given them a corgi!!!!

    I happen to have a pup myself and can I just say that they are the best little doggies?? <3 Love, love and more love.

  6. Liz says:

    Do you think on the inside they were all like, “OMG, I’m standing here meeting the Queen of England!” Like, maybe just a little bit? It’s just one of those things, y’know?

  7. Liz says:

    …and yeah, maybe with just a little bit of “How creepy is Prince Philip, yo!” (Because EW!)

  8. jen says:

    The Ipod they gave her has video as well as audio. The Obamas loaded it with footage from her last trip to the U.S. I think that’s sweet.

  9. Orangejulius says:

    Wow! The Queen has shrunk. I’m all smiles about these pictures. It’s so wonderful to be so proud of our Prez.

  10. velcrodots says:

    Love these pics!

  11. velcrodots says:

    Oh yeah and isn’t it crazy to think the first Prime Minister she worked with was Winston Churchill? The mind boggles

  12. Mrs.Darcy says:

    Look I’m all for our lovely modern new President but after the dvd debacle maybe he should’ve re-thunk being quite so hip with the Queen’s gift – she’s 82 for goodness sake, how many 82 year olds know how to use an ipod? Yeah she’s the Queen and her minions can hook it up for her but surely they could’ve thought of something more appropriate to her age/status? Seriously are Malia and Sasha picking the gifts, wtf!

  13. wowed says:

    Fantastic photos. I’m sure the Obamas never thought in their wildest dreams they would be standing next to the Queen of England. And here they are. What a wonderful day. The Queen looks so tiny and precious. God save the Queen.

  14. Lauri says:

    Good God. And this is who you elected as leader of the free world?

    If you think that was a good gift for a head of state to give to the Queen of England, just think about this…would you all be so proud if it were George W Bush who had given her the exact same gift?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so.

  15. anon says:

    the queen’s as pink as her dress… that woman hasn’t seen the sun in decades. and ya gotta know that philip said SOMETHING inappropriate,.


  16. hmmph says:

    you have me ROTFLMBAO Mrs Darcy at “Sasha and Malia picking the gifts!!!!

  17. Larissa says:

    omg, i just realized, I am QUEEN sized!

  18. Em says:

    there is an entire staff at the state dept who’s job it is to pick out gifts for foreign heads of state…and thats the best they could come up with???? geezus

  19. viper says:

    Hey Em JESUS

  20. JennaMeow says:

    Jesus. Enough with the “cool, 21st century” gifts that some 25 year old staffer is picking out.

    Please! It’s embarrassing. Can he please start giving classy gifts?

  21. HashBrowns says:

    Um…I’m sure the Queen really appreciated the photos and video of her visit. I sure would.

    And for those of you who clearly didn’t read the whole article, they also gave them a rare songbook signed by the composer. That seems like a lovely and thoughtful gift.

    Stop trying to find something wrong with the Obamas where there is nothing wrong with those gifts. If Bush had given her a rare songbook as well no one would have said anything. Calm down.

  22. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    Uh Lauri, you’re really UPSET over the gifts the Obamas give to other heads of state? Really?

    Geez. No wonder you liked Bush. So Bush could mess up about sixteen million different HUGE ways, but all you’ve got to gripe about is what Obama gives the Queen of England?

    Wow. Stretching a bit. Or quite a lot. I care about the decisions he makes for this country. I care very little about the gifts he gives to other leaders.

  23. Lucinda says:

    I think there’s probably quite a bit more to gripe about with Obama but the article is about his gift giving. Not his foreign policy. Some of us are able to stay on topic.

    An ipod for the Queen of England is ridiculous. The songbook was very nice, assuming Broadway music is something she enjoys. I don’t know if she does but I sure as hell hope his staffers know.

    I don’t think Obama is a bad guy but I think he’s made some poor choices regarding who he has working for him. These people are not making him look as good as they could.

  24. heima says:

    I hope that President Obama will give italian prime minister silvio berlusconi a new and working brain and some integrity as a gift.
    It would be very appreciated.

  25. heima says:

    ps: I can’t believe that I’m thinking that the queen is soooooo cuuuute!
    I’m scared…

  26. Livia says:

    According to the newscast I was watching earlier this evening (CBS), the Queen specifically requested the iPod (maybe she suggested it, along with a list of other possible gifts?). I’m a bit surprised, myself, but nonetheless, IMO there’s no way the Obama’s would not have consulted with/been consulted by members of the monarchy’s staff as to what would and would not be an appropriate gift for the Queen. Personally? I think it’s kind of odd. It seems a bit too casual for the occasion. But hey – sometimes you want expensive antiques, and sometimes you just want to chillax in your tiara with your iPod. Whatever. 😛

  27. tinat says:

    Mrs. Darcy, the Queen already has one ipod so I’m pretty sure she won’t need help to play these fabulous Broadway tunes. She is actually into technology…who knew :O

    BTW, GW Bush gave her a small replica of a statue that is outside the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Texas. Do you think she liked that better? It wasn’t the real thing btw, just a miniture replica.

    I’ll take the Ipod and signed Richard Rodgers song book, but then I love broadway and hate cowboy art!

  28. Dirty Martini says:

    And good gawd. An IPOD? Who did they load it with–Chris Brown?


    I’m so ashamed………..

  29. aleach says:

    the queen is so adorable! i want to pick her up and carry her around with me during my day! so cute.

  30. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    Dirty Martini, if you read the whole article and all the comments, you will learn more about the giftS.

  31. Bob says:

    The Queen was hoping for a Wii.

  32. stellapurdy says:

    How is an song book of Rogers and Hart autographed by Richard Rogers a bad gift? Especially for someone who could buy anything she wants to buy? It’s truly a part of American history, something that I think would be a perfect gift from the person that represents the country.

  33. Bobby the K says:


    If anyone on the planet doesn’t need a gift, it’s the queen of england.

    The silly practice should be stopped, I expect it goes on among all world leaders and for the most part there are a great many people who could use the money it costs to keep it up.

  34. Marmot says:

    OMG, the Queen playing a Wii… can you imagine that level of cute/awesome?!?

  35. yae says:

    Everyone in this picture is too scared to blink. Something wrong with this? Michelle Obama looks like she’s afraid to move.

  36. Dingles says:

    I love our president. The end.

  37. nashnash says:

    Will some of you please learn to read the ENTIRE article before criticizing Obama? Queen Elizabeth herself requested the iPod, it was loaded with footage of her visit to the USA in 2007. I bet she loved the gift and the gesture, since the iPod was what she wanted anyway. The Queen likes show tunes, so they probably put some of that music in the iPod as well.

    Also, Queen Elizabeth asked Michelle Obama to keep in touch. I don’t think the Queen of England will tell that to anyone unless she’s really taken a liking to the person.

  38. Aspen says:

    I think it was cool! I was worried after the first gift-giving issue, but I was more angry at the staffers who picked the gifts than at the Obamas. I think what they gave her was thoughtful and considerate. It’s obvious to me that Mrs. Obama sat down with her staff and said, “Don’t embarrass us like that again,” and that’s exactly what should have happened.

    In truth, I’d rather hear details about what what they discussed with her than what they gave her, but criticizing them for giving the queen an iPod is absurd.

  39. hmm says:

    I love the picture and what I love about the Obamas’ is that they respond like we would respond to meeting the queen and there is something to be said for being down to earth. I’m so glad so many of you know what you are talking about and actually read the entire article which is one of the reasons I love this site. The people with the usual “and this is the leader of the free world?” and “I’m so embarrassed” are the usual characters who spout endless nonsense whenever it is about Obama.
    I thought it was especially nice about the ipod because it is such a cool gift and not the old-ish gifts she usually gets. I thought it was great that she is a fan of technology and modernity and that the Obamas behaved accordingly.

  40. Tim says:

    So, the ipod was loaded with tunes?
    Is the RIAA going to take these file swapping pirates down?

  41. Nony says:

    I’ve read several articles about the princes introducing their gramma to all sorts of modern technology, so an ipod doesn’t seem inappropriate, especially if it has photos and video of a previous visit. And the book seems a lovely touch. I don’t see anything wrong with this.

    (and Corgi puppies are THE CUTEST puppies in the world, how awesome would it have been if she’d gifted them one? *grin*)

  42. Charley Kane says:

    I dont see how this improves on the dvd’s – she’s an old woman, i dont know anyone her age who would actually want an i-pod.

  43. Mrs.Darcy says:

    I did read the whole article, and while aspects of it are obviously very thoughtful, and the Queen is supposedly hip with the kids, anyone who lives in Britain knows that this is going to be perceived as Americans not quite grasping the Queen’s status. I stand by my opinion, giving the Queen an Ipod (if it were from her grandkids, fine – but the President of the USA?), I still think it’s just a bit tacky/trying to hard to be cool as opposed to thinking hard about the recipient. Not that the gift had to be a fusty WWII relic or anything, I just would’ve thought that Obama’s reps would’ve been more cognizant after the Gordon Brown gift was widely deemed a bit doofy. Just my opinion, and I’m a total Obama supporter without any political agenda.

  44. barneslr says:

    “but all you’ve got to gripe about is what Obama gives the Queen of England”

    When did I say that was ALL I have to gripe about regarding the Obamas? I didn’t. I have MANY, MANY complaints about Obama and his incredibly poor decisions since taking office.

    I addressed this particular issue in this thread because it happens to be the topic of the article.

    But, nice try at deflecting attention away from the topic! My post had NOTHING to do with Bush–he has nothing whatsoever to do with this topic, does he? Nope. The topic is the truly awful gifts that the Obamas gave. No class at all.

  45. mel says:

    I read that the Queen requested an Ipod and the Obamas obliged. I think the Queen needs to step out of her box and become more techno savvy. You’re never too old to learn!

  46. kiki says:

    Cheap gift. Like before. We’re laughing here in Europe.

  47. geronimo says:

    @Mrs Darcy – “anyone who lives in Britain knows that this is going to be perceived as Americans not quite grasping the Queen’s status.”

    You are SO wrong. Since 2005, “the Queen has willingly embraced the internet and other major technology. She has a mobile phone, a six gigabyte iPod (on which she reportedly stores the Last Night of the Proms.) Her traditional Christmas broadcast was podcast in 2006, she has a BlackBerry & has equipped all her senior aides with one. She has also, recently, learned how to email after years of relying on staff to do it for her.”
    The Observer Dec 2007.

    I’m sure the Obamas were advised by her aides on this. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. If the queen appreciates it, that’s all that counts.

  48. vsmith says:

    He could have consulted the U.S. protocol office but was unaware one existed. Superficial gifts.

  49. bros says:

    thank you geronimo. now if only ignorant barneslr could look anything up before bitching about everything obama related, that would be wonderful.

  50. Puria says:

    I read the whole article and like Obama, but he needs to get some better advisors on European protocols and stop giving out these tacky presentations. I full well know the Queen already has an iPod. I predict she’ll give this one away, however.

    If he thought this was such a great idea, he could’ve slipped this crap to her under the radar and given her something a hell of a lot nicer. Europe is “hip” enough as it is.

    But for God’s sake! Run it by something with some class and taste before you embarrass yourself and the US any further!

    And they thought Jimmy Carter was bad!

    just my 2p.

  51. Yayamama says:

    One thing no one has mentioned on here is that among the downloads on the IPOD was Obama’s inauguration AND his speech (mentioned in every mainstream US and English media outlet). I find that extremely tacky in and of itself. Ego issues there a bit? The songbook was a gracious and sweet gift, only if she enjoyed that particular genre etc. He should have left it at the songbook….

  52. just a poster says:

    Ahh Corgi puppies are even sweeter than the Queen! And great with kiddos. The girls would have loved a few Corgis.

    Okay gang, we get it. This site swings heavily to the LEFT..But do we need such an uproar if someone dare questions what Obama does?

    (just so you know, I am more than happy to question/bash/inquire about Bush as well as Obama)

    And who here wouldn’t love to see a video of the Queen playing on the Wii? I bet she would totally rock playing Rayman and shooting Rabbids.

  53. geronimo says:

    Unbelievable, you sad people that won’t just accept that the queen liked the gifts because you’ve got a problem with the Obamas. How very objective! LOL.

  54. gg says:

    That’s sarcasm, right?

  55. Leandra says:

    Nothing wrong with that. It is full of show tunes. The expensive gift giving doesn’t fit with the economy anyway and more frugal gifts are the way to go.

  56. geronimo says:

    Aw. gg and puria have the exact same kitty.

  57. yadira says:

    An Ipod are you kidding me? I gave my 8 yr old an Ipod. Sounds like someone is trying to be “hip and modern” with these crappy gifts. These are strong and important political figures. why would you give them gifts that you would give to your younger siblings?

    And no, I am not being “racist” for citicizing the president…LOL

  58. crazy americans says:

    You americans are funny. Ipod is a good gift for the Queen?! Excuse me? Who the hell gives a, I might add MADE IN CHINA IPOD to the Queen?! Plus, she already has one…

    Okay, yes it had footage of the Queens visits. How sweet. But it ALSO included Photos from President Obama’s Inauguration
    Audio of then-state senator Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and
    Audio of President Obama 2009 Inauguration Address

    Why the hell whould the Queen want to see those?! HA HA HA! Oh yea, because Obama is so amazing, he is our savior and even the Queen needs to get a piece of him. Awww…

    Im sorry if I have offended any Almighty President Obamas drooling fans.

  59. Anon says:

    I love the President and am pretty happy with the job he’s doing. I do think he gives bad gifts and could be advised on better gifts for heads of state he has met and will meet during his tenure

  60. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    I’m sorry, but did no one notice the little tidbit about the Queen REQUESTING an ipod????

    So blame the Queen if you hate the gift she got, LOL.

  61. gg says:

    But she already has an iPod. So far this tidbit is anectdotal. Anyone have a link to the article? I’d like to read it.

    lol geronimo, Puria is my name on another board. I was commenting there too and got confused on my new little-bitty laptop. cheers 🙂

  62. Kelsey says:

    Did you hear about Michelle Obama “breaking protocol”? Apparently, when the Obamas left their meeting with the Queen, Michelle Obama hugged her. The British media is having a field day with this because “touching the Queen” has never happened. I found a video that discusses the gifts and the “breaking of protocol”.

  63. geronimo says:

    @gg – if you google –

    How the Queen became very well connected

    it’ll bring the article up. (links always go to mod.) William gave it to her in 2006.

  64. Ruchyd says:

    I don’t understand what everyone is so upset about. The queen accepted the gift and she’s not complaining you all are. And for those saying she already has an ipod, did she tell you this? None of you are giving or getting the gift, so shut up already. Did you ever hear the saying it’s the thought that counts. If he had given a very expensive gift people would still complain, that he is buying expensive gifts for someone who already has eveything and our economy is doing so bad. So it doesn’t matter which way they went you all would have a problem, just give them a break already and focus on the important things like the economy.

  65. UrbanRube says:

    Her Majesty is said to be “delighted.”

    Perhaps you laughing Europeans think a framed photograph of yourself is the epitome of a gracious gift. That’s what the Queen and the Duke gave the Obamas.

    An iPod filled with her favorite showtunes and footage of her recent visit to the U.S. is a personalized gift that features American technology.

    And let’s remember that our most recent former president once winked at the queen.

    I would say it’s rather difficult to remember the dozens of highly formal rules of etiquette required by the British royals when you’re in the situation for the very first time. And some of the news stories note that the Queen was first to put her hand on Michelle Obama’s back–in fact, there’s at least one photo out there of this.

  66. kvncht says:

    I’m just waiting until the give someone the gift of scratch off lottery tickets.

  67. barneslr says:

    “I’m sorry, but did no one notice the little tidbit about the Queen REQUESTING an ipod”

    No, I do not believe that she asked the President of the United States to bring her an IPOD. She is the wealthiest woman on the planet; if she wanted an IPOD she would surely just send someone out to pick one up for her (), not ask the leader of the (temporarily) free world to bring her one.

    That’s just total BS and you are foolish to believe it.

  68. UrbanRube says:

    “Mrs. Obama clearly made an impression with the 82-year-old monarch — so much that the smiling queen strayed slightly from protocol and briefly wrapped her arm around the first lady in a rare public show of affection.”

  69. Marcia says:

    “I’m sorry, but did no one notice the little tidbit about the Queen REQUESTING an ipod????”

    And who is the source of that tidbit? The White House itself. Now why should I believe them? I honestly cannot see the Queen of England telling the President what gift she wants.

  70. Bubbles says:

    “the Queen has willingly embraced the internet”

    She could be reading this! OMG! I wonder if she hangs out on internet forums.

  71. Ashley says:

    To all the folks saying he shouldn’t have given her an Ipod, I agree, but for those saying she’s 82 and wouldn’t know how to use it? She already has an Ipod so I’m sure she knows how to use it.

  72. jUDY says:

    Nothing wrong with that gift. My mother is the same age is the queen and the kids gave her one for Xmas and she loves it.

  73. gg says:

    Yeah, I bet she pulls up Celebitchy on her laptop every night to catch up on the goss. lol!

    Well let’s ask her – Hey QE, about the pod, is one bovvered?

  74. IFHO says:

    An iPod, are you kidding me. They must not of had time to stop off at KFC and pick up a bucket of chicken for the Queen. Almost as bad a a pack of DVDs (Region 1 and won’t work in the UK) for the Prime Minister. What a couple of morons! Geez!

  75. Lia says:

    Did Obama load the iPod for her, too? I can just see Lizbet listening to eazy-e, kickin’ it old school……

  76. books6000 says:

    Whats the big deal people? The Queen likes music and she didn’t have the new video iPod. The British Press are very tough and they all say the Queen loved the gifts, she never gets personal gifts so it was like a treat. this isn’t or its a gossip site I come to the site to laugh not read about politics and how everyone hates the President. Go to another site because times are hard don’t ruin my escape time.

  77. Annie says:


    Can never catch a break can he? He even loaded the ipod up for her with all sorts of things she might like. He didn’t just hand her a blank ipod and yet y’all are acting like he chucked some old fruit cake at her head.

    I think he did a fine job.

    Just because you don’t doesn’t mean anything. Perhaps he knows something about the Queen that YOU do not. Who knows! But that’s a really pathetic thing to nitpick over.

  78. Charley Kane says:

    The caption on that first photo should be “President delighted to discover his grandmother is still alive.”

  79. Miranda says:

    I highly doubt that Obama came to the palace without any briefing by her staff, so I’m sure that they agreed that the iPod and the music book were appropriate gifts.
    Just because Obama is non-traditional with his gifts and demeanor doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

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