A toy Paddington Bear and a marmalade sandwich, outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
It was the Queen’s final starring role of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and now her iconic double act with Paddington Bear is living on in tributes paid after her death.
The monarch’s two-minute skit with the famous bear from Peru – another British icon – was widely judged a highlight of the Platinum Party at the Palace in June.
The pair were seen sitting down together for a spot of tea, with Paddington swigging straight from the spout, before offering the Queen a bite of his marmalade sandwich, the one he keeps handy, he told her, “just in case”.
“So do I,” the Queen replied, before opening her famous black handbag to reveal the very same. “I keep mine in here,” she said. “For later.”
Now, mourners are leaving sandwich bags, bears and other bits of Paddington memorabilia outside Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham, Holyroodehouse and other royal residences around the country.
From Paddington…. #TheQueenpic.twitter.com/qqn3TFiPMG
— Simon McCoy (@SimonMcCoyTV) September 10, 2022A Paddington bear with messages and flowers hangs at the gate of Buckingham Palace in London.A Paddington Bear teapot is seen with floral tributes left outside the Sandringham Estate in NorfolkAnother Paddington Bear teddy in Green Park, near Buckingham Palace.
One well-wisher even handed a Paddington Bear directly to Prince William during his unexpected public walkabout with his wife and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex outside Windsor Castle on Saturday afternoon.
In fact, there are so many Paddingtons and sandwich bags piling up outside royal residences that The Royal Parks, which operates Green Park and St James’s Park, as well as six other royal parklands around London, has asked the public to stick to leaving flowers instead.
“The Royal Parks are suggesting that there are enough Paddingtons and marmalade sandwiches in the parks at the moment,” a BBC Breakfast presenter said outside Buckingham Palace on Monday morning.
“So please feel free to bring flowers, but maybe don’t bring anymore Paddingtons or marmalade sandwiches for now.”
The message echoed guidance issued on the Royal Parks website regarding floral tributes to the Queen.
“We would prefer visitors not to bring non-floral objects/artefacts such as teddy bears or balloons,” it reads. “Cards and labels will, however, be accepted and will be periodically removed by The Royal Parks’ staff and contractors for storage offsite. This process will be carried out with discretion and sensitivity.”
On Twitter, many commented on the very British nature of the situation.
This sort of announcement could only be made in the UK. 😊 pic.twitter.com/MeU1YNDZT0
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) September 12, 2022
"Please – no more marmalade sandwiches." Things don't get more British than that.. #ElizabethTheGreat
— Simon McCoy (@SimonMcCoyTV) September 12, 2022But others have suggested that people’s time and money could be spent elsewhere, especially given the current cost of living crisis.
“Give a marmalade sandwich to a homeless person, donate the money you would’ve spent on a Paddington doll to a charity,” tweeted barrister and commentator Rupert Myers.
When the state propaganda works too well and you have mountains of uneaten sandwiches outside a literal palace while the food banks run on empty because of cost of living crisis. pic.twitter.com/0X4OMwg3ZP
— Uncle Trash (@UncleTrash) September 11, 2022
The whole Paddington/marmalade sandwiches left in tribute thing feels like when acquaintances know nothing about you, but you mention you like cheese or something, and suddenly "they like cheese" becomes your whole personality.
— WYH Games (@wyh_games) September 12, 2022
People leaving marmalade butties as a tribute to the queen are clearly a few sandwiches short of a picnic… definitely out of their rind!
— Stuart Rae (@Stu_Rob_Rae) September 12, 2022
Meanwhile, author Frank Cottrell-Boyce, who co-wrote Paddington’s Platinum Jubilee skit and also had a hand in the Queen’s unexpected cameo with James Bond at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2012, has been reflecting on why the meeting captured public imagination.
“It used to be said that millions of people had dreams in which they had tea with the Queen,” he wrote in the Observer. “Even our dream life is going to have to change. Watching her have tea with Paddington will have to do instead.”
Some have questioned whether the real Queen even starred in the skit, Cottrell-Boyce added.
“A conspiracy theory went round that the establishment had employed Paddington’s producers… to create a deep fake queen,” he added. “No one seemed to question the reality of the bear.”
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