IT is a question that many of us have often wandered: Does the Queen crack the shanks?

In an incredibly crude, but strangely respected honour, the Queen has become the latest in a long line of figures to be made into a ‘carganer’.

The small figurines are part of a centuries-old Christmas tradition popular in Catalonia.

The tiny statuettes show the well-known figures with their trousers down, their bare bottom exposed, in the act of defecating.

“It is not making fun but quite the opposite, it is a tribute to the person and the office or activity they represent.”

Including celebrities, sportsmen and politicians, they have been sold since the 18th century, when they were placed in nativity scenes in the hope of bringing good luck and a rich harvest.

“The caganer is a well loved and respected figure in the typical Catalan Nativity scene,” the makers state on their website, caganer.com.

“It is not making fun but quite the opposite, it is a tribute to the person and the office or activity they represent.”

The family-run Caganer business produces a vast collection of around 20,000 hand-painted figurines each year at their factory near Barcelona. They sell for 15 euros each.

“This year we decided to include Queen Elizabeth II because she is such an important figure,” explained manager Marc Alos. “Gordon Brown was a very popular caganer last year.”

Some 300 statuettes of the Queen wearing a two-piece magenta outfit complete with golden crown and slippers have been produced.

A spokesman from Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

Last year the best-selling figure was that of US President Barack Obama.

The original caganer – which means “the fertilizer” – was a man wearing a peasant costume.

It was believed that his fertile deposits in the soil of the nativity scene would bring a rich harvest.

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