Lifestyle & Belief

Phil Collins' phone number, Prince Charles' shoe size... British embassies reveal weird requests


Prince Charles, Prince of Wales rides an eco-bike as he attends The Earth Awards Exhibition at Clarence House in London, England. Charles is an avid environmentalist.


Chris Jackson

Britain's Foreign Office says it will always try to help a traveller in trouble, but some Brits abroad appear to have been taking the offer too seriously.

In a compelling - and puzzling - insight into the daily operations of British embassies and consulates around the world, the Foreign Office has published a list of the weirdest requests its staff have received.

One caller in Spain wanted to know what shoe size Prince Charles wore, so they could send shoes as a present.

Another requested Phil Collins' telephone number.

A man in Dubai asked consulate staff to shepherd his dog through customs, since he would be on holiday when it arrived.

In Moscow, a woman complained to the embassy about "a loud buzzing noise" in her apartment, while a man in Bulgaria optimistically asked the consulate there to sell his house for him.

And one especially hapless traveller to Australia just wanted to know what clothes he should pack for his holiday.

The Foreign Office published the list in a bid to remind the public that embassies should only be approached for serious matters.

Jeremy Browne, Minister for Consular Affairs, said:

"We will always try to help where we can but there are limits to the support that we can provide. [...] Our priority is to help people in real difficulty abroad and we cannot do this if our time is diverted by people trying to use us as a concierge service."

The Foreign Office's staff handle around 2 million inquiries a year, said the BBC.