At the outbreak of WW1 in August 1914, British troops were sent to the Western Front and were closely followed by troops from the British Empire to include India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc. In October of the same year George Vs 17 year old daughter – the Mary Princess Royal, launched an appeal to fund a Christmas gift to every member of the Empires Armed Forces involved in the growing conflict. It led to the raising of over £150,000 so as to fund the gift to all.

The funding was used to manufacture small boxes made of silver for officers and brass for all others. Each was decorated with an image of Mary and other military and imperial symbols and typically filled with an ounce of tobacco, a packet of cigarettes in a yellow monogrammed wrapper, a cigarette lighter, and a Christmas card and photograph from Princess Mary. Some contained sweets, chocolates, and lemon drops.

This example unfortunately has none of the contents remaining but is in excellent shape, its the brass version for non-officers. The lid has a nice crisp pressing and only damage is a slight dent to the box bottom.

A nice example of the Princess Mary Christmas gift box – WW1

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