LONDON – More than 1,000 Paddingtons and other teddy bears left by well-wishers as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth after her death last month, will be handed over to a children’s charity, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday.
The cuddly toys were among a huge number of floral tributes and messages which were left outside palaces and royal parks in London and Windsor in the days of mourning following Elizabeth’s death at the age of 96 on Sept. 8.
They will now be professionally cleaned before being passed to the Barnardo’s charity.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was Barnardo’s Patron for over 30 years, and we are honored to be able to give homes to the teddies that people left in her memory,” Barnardo Chief Executive Lynn Perry said.
“We promise to look after these bears who will be well-loved and bring joy to the children we support.”
In June, the late monarch appeared in a video having tea with the children’s literary character Paddington which became one of the highlights of four days of celebrations to mark her 70th year on the throne.
During the comic sketch, she told Paddington she always kept the character’s favorite – a marmalade sandwich – in her ever-present handbag.
As the public mourned her death, the Royal Parks asked people not to leave Paddington bears and marmalade sandwiches because so many people had brought them.
Prince William, her grandson and now the heir to the throne, admitted he had become “choked up” after seeing the Paddington tributes.
To mark the announcement of its plans, Buckingham Palace has released a picture of Queen Camilla, wife of King Charles, with some of the Paddingtons. — Reuters