It can be a vicarious delight to imagine the lavish and luxurious world of royals and nobles. For centuries, the realms of kings and queens and their royal courts have captivated the masses and captured the imagination of artists, writers and poets around the world. 

One of the most intriguing aspects of life at this level of social advantage is the practice of gifting. After all, what do people give to those who seemingly have everything that money can buy? 

Luxury Lifestyles, Luxury Gifts

For many, the levels of wealth and privilege enjoyed by the sovereigns and aristocrats over the centuries are the stuff of fairytales. It can be inspiring to consider the opulent lifestyles enjoyed by those in the highest echelons of the social strata. 

While the homes, fashions and travels of this elite social set have been well documented, both in times past and in the contemporary media, there’s an aspect of luxury living that leaves much more to the imagination…

What do wealthy royals and nobles give as gifts? 

Across the ages, there have been great royal traditions of gifting expensive jewels, luxury cars, and even homes and palaces. 

The world of luxury gifts has historically met the needs of those enjoying uncommon levels of wealth and freedom and social privilege. 

For example, a new bride marrying into a prestigious royal family would have many state occasions ahead of her. So gifts of diamond necklaces, vintage tiaras, pearls, rubies and emeralds etc… are not only lavish and luxurious gifts, but they are also a practical provision of what could be deemed essential items for royal living. 

While many royal and noble families possess heirlooms that are gifted within the family, these sometimes can be reset or repurposed for the new recipient. A popular example of this was the shifting fashions in lavish jewellery after the First World War. 

As the culture shifted toward simpler and less ostentatious displays of wealth, fashion and jewellery, many of the most opulent crowns and tiaras favoured by royals throughout the ages were repurposed into exquisite brooches, earrings and bracelets. These were much more subtle accessories of luxury living, yet still beautiful and magnificent pieces of craftsmanship. 

Champagne Tastes

Along with expensive jewellery, the realm of luxury gifting has long included the finest providers of food and drink. Perhaps the most iconic drink associated with the luxury lifestyles of royals and nobles is the classic celebratory bubbly from the prestigious wine making region of France – the Champagne. 

Jean François de Troy’s 1735 painting Le Déjeuner d’Huîtres (The Oyster Luncheon) is the first known depiction of Champagne in painting – Jean François de Troy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Thanks to developments in manufacture and transportation, many types of good champagne are within the budget of more of the working classes. Although still regarded as a luxury gift at many levels of society, drinking champagne is an experience that most ordinary people can enjoy on occasion, even if not as often as they might like. 

However, in the first few centuries that champagne became a popular drink around the world, it was very much the reserve of the wealthiest members of society, in particular the royals and nobles of the world

When transportation costs were prohibitive, and wine-making was still in its infancy, not yet in a position to benefit from the cost-cutting techniques of today, a bottle of the highest quality champagne could cost more than a year’s wages for the labourers in the fields who worked to grow and tend the grapes. 

As a result, champagne became renowned as one of the ultimate in luxury gifts. For many years, the only buyers of the most expensive champagne were the wealthiest royals and their courts. This level of prestige and rarity, along with its association with the finest royal courts of the world, secured the place of quality champagne as one of the most luxurious and impressive of gifts. 

The Gifts Of Noblesse Oblige

While the world of gift-giving within the royal courts of the world is a fascinating subject, there is an aspect of royal and noble living that is less about the receiving of lavish presents or luxury gifts, and more about what those in a position of privilege can do to give back to their community and the wider world. 

The concept of noblesse oblige is an age-old idea inherent in the very origin of the aristocracy and those in a position of social advantage. It’s the practice of using inherited wealth, noble rank or an elevated place in society to perform acts of altruism or charity. 

The tradition of noblesse oblige dates back to the very earliest times, as the systems of royalty and nobility evolved over the Middle Ages. It’s an idea at the very heart of the original aristocracy, in that those who were the most good, honest and kind were granted positions of governorship or elevated rank within the community. 

This ancient tradition can also be witnessed in the many modern royals and nobles who devote their time and money to supporting worthy causes or investing in projects that benefit the whole spectrum of social groups. 

The Gift Of Nobility

A prestigious and unique addition to the subject of luxury gifts is a little-known practice that can represent an ultimate gift for those who appear to have all the toys and trinkets they could ever need. 

For those with the right connections, it’s sometimes possible to present that special someone, or even yourself, the gift of nobility itself in the form of a genuine noble or royal title. 

For the vast majority of the population who were not born into royal lines or noble families, it is still possible to join the ranks of this esteemed social order through the rarefied practice of acquiring an aristocratic title

This is a gifting trend that’s enjoying a renaissance in the higher end of the luxury gifts market, yet it may be surprising to learn that it is actually an age-old practice. 

Many great noble lines are the result of a commercial transaction in which a title such as Duke, Count, Viscount or Baron was purchased from the previous bearer, often due to shifting fortunes or family transactions. 

In today’s world, genuine royal and noble titles are increasingly rare and difficult to source, yet it is precisely this scarcity that adds to the value and prestige of such a unique present, making it a truly luxury gift – one that could well benefit the recipient in numerous ways for many years to come. 

The realms of royalty, nobility and aristocracy are typically synonymous with classic luxury gifts such as expensive jewels and fancy champagne. 

Yet this historic class also claims a rich tradition of altruism, charity, ambition and a pioneering spirit – character traits that perhaps more accurately represent many of the admirable individuals who have populated the highest echelons of society across the ages.