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Prince William's poignant birthday gift revealed

This is SO lovely!

william wales
Fiona Ward
Acting Fashion and Beauty Editor
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Prince William celebrated his 37th birthday on Friday, but so did someone else who is clearly special to him! That's little Neve Te Aroha Gayford, the daughter of New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who received a very sweet gift from the Prince. Jacinda's partner Clarke Gayford took to Twitter to share a picture of the adorable toy, which had been adorned with a silver plate reading: "Happy Birthday Neve. From Prince William". Wow!

william toy tweet

Clarke Gayford shared sweet photos of the toy on Twitter

Clarke wrote in his tweet: "Torn between letting the 1st birthday girl continue to maul this amazing gift or putting it somewhere safe FOREVER. Happy Birthday Prince William, what a great shared birthday (I'm pretty sure you win with this)."

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The wooden toy appears to be particularly sentimental since it looks remarkably similar to one that Prince William was photographed playing with as a baby himself - in official pictures taken of Prince Charles and Princess Diana with their young son in 1983, during their own royal tour of New Zealand. The moment was captured at Government House in Auckland.

prince william toy

A young Prince William was memorably given the same style of toy in 1983

Many fans speculated as to whether it was the same item or a replica, with one writing on Twitter: "The Buzzy Bee is a classic NZ toy pretty much every baby has here. I still have mine. Prince William made it world-known back when he was a wee one over here." Another added of the product code on the toy: "No 1218 that’s one of the original ones, I think… pretty cool! Is it the same one he got given?"

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The young Prince was in fact originally given the colourful toy by Lady Beattie, the wife of then Governor-General Sir David Beattie, who died at the age of 92 in May 2018. Some fans suggested that William had passed on the gift in her memory, with another Twitter user adding: "You know he’s returning the favour of the late Lady Beattie, Norma, who passed last year who famously gave the Prince the same gift. We’ll always remember you Norma."

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