Baroness Betty Boothroyd sells gift from president and other 'treasures' at auction

A papier-mâché box Boris Yeltsin gave to former Commons Speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd has sold for nearly 50 times its estimate at auction.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 6:00 pm
Baroness Betty Boothroyd with her Lawrence of Arabia ornament, one of many items to be auctioned.

The 91-year-old Dewsbury-born politician sold 70 decorative items she was presented with during her eight years in charge at the House of Commons.

The 20th century ornamental box from the late Russian president sold for £2,400 – 48 times its £50 estimate.

She said: “I entertained President Yeltsin during a trip to London.

The decorative box gift from former Russian president Boris Yeltsin

“He kissed my hand and gratefully presented me with the little box, which has a note inside from him.

“That would have been during the time I was Speaker between 1992 and 2000.”

A large fine china limited edition figure of Lawrence of Arabia riding a camel sold for £1,250 – more than three times the £250-£350 guide price.

One of six ever made, it was given to the baroness when she was president of the All-Party Defence Group.

Baroness Boothroyd parted with the gifts after downsizing from her London home to a small cottage in South Cambridgeshire which is too small to accommodate them.

The former West Bromwich MP said the items auctioned by Hansons London were her “life story”.

She said: “It was very hard for me to part with some of the treasures I had built up over my lifetime and political career but, due to the need to downsize, I simply hadn’t got room for everything any more.”