The King’s Oryx: Ibn Saud’s Diplomatic Gift to George V
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In 1920, a gift from Ibn Saud in the form of a female oryx was the first ever to have survived the difficult journey from Arabia to London. In correspondence between HM the King and the Amir of Najd of 1920 it was noted that an animal ‘unique of its kind’ had arrived in London, indeed ‘no other specimen having reached England from Arabia alive’. The person writing the note viewed the arrival of an oryx, presented by Ibn Saud, with some degree of national importance. But the manner in which the creature made its way to London had been challenging and circuitous.