8 Jan 2012

Criticism over jewels from Bahraini royal family

5:48 am on 8 January 2012

There has been criticism in Britain of the Countess of Wessex after she accepted jewels from the Bahraini royal family, due to the government's human rights record during recent protests.

Buckingham Palace has issued details of the gifts received by the Royal Family over the past year.

The BBC reports items given in an official capacity do not belong to the recipient and usually become part of the Royal Collection.

The official list of presents shows the Countess received a suite of jewels from both King Hamad Al-Khalifa and prime minister Shaikh Khalifa.

Prince Edward received a pen and watch and a silk rug during the one day visit in December

Last year Bahrain's crown prince declined his invitation to the wedding of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, after a public outcry over the use of excessive force towards pro-democracy protesters by police there.

Ex-Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane said the gift should be sold to benefit victims of the civil unrest.