To greet Elizabeth II one last time, Sarah Fowles came to Buckingham with flowers, but also a stuffed animal: with his red hat and blue coat, the Paddington bear is omnipresent among the thousands of bouquets.
Everyone still has in mind the video of the queen drinking tea with the adorable, but clumsy bear cub. It was during the platinum jubilee to celebrate 70 years of reign of Elizabeth II in June.
“It was the last time we saw the queen in something public,” said Julie Williams, 63, who took a four-hour train ride from Manchester to pay tribute to Elizabeth II. “It was that kind of thing that created an affinity between her and people.”
We saw the queen, known for her humor tongue-in-cheek remain imperturbable, polite and smiling in front of a bear cub who, among other things, was gulping down his tea straight from the teapot. Elizabeth II took out a toast with jam from her mythical handbag. Then she tapped her cup with her spoon rhythmically, to the rhythm of the drums which began to play “We Will Rock You” by Queen live in front of Buckingham Palace.
The video, which immediately went viral, has remained as one of the rare joyous moments of a jubilee with a goodbye tone.
“This video was brilliant. She showed her sense of humor well, the fact that she knew how to stay connected to people, to children in this case”, explains Sarah Fowles, who hopes to drop off her Paddington in front of the palace gates despite the crowd.
“And Paddington is simply an institution for the British”. Before being the hero of a film, he was indeed an important character in children's literature since the 1950s.
Au among the thousands of flowers, the children left their drawing of Paddington, or coloring pages for the youngest. Like the one where we see Elizabeth II from behind, holding the bear's hand with this moving message: “I have done my duty Paddington, please take me to my husband”.
< p>In another drawing, the bear cub is in front of Big Ben next to the queen wearing the crown. Or Paddington under a rainbow with these few words written in a childish hand: “We will miss you forever”. Another child depicted the teddy bear raising his hat with a message from an adult: “There is only one queen.” “To the most extraordinary woman I have known,” it also reads elsewhere.
“It's so adorable,” says a Londoner, showing a teddy bear accompanied by a drawing. “I can't get used to it,” murmurs her husband sadly, leaning on a cane. Elizabeth II died Thursday at the age of 96 after 70 years of reign. His funeral will take place on September 19 in Westminster.
In meditation, many read the messages left. Paddington is not alone among the bouquets. Often not far from him are, stuffed animals or drawings, corgis, these dogs that the queen loved so much. “They will miss you,” wrote one child in a heart under stickers of corgis. Horses are popular too, as everyone here knows the Queen's love of riding.
There are more personal messages than others, addressed to Elizabeth II. “Every year, you were at the center of our conversations for Christmas. What color would your dress be for your speech? (…) Now we will have to guess the color of King Charles III's tie!”
Paddington tweeted to him, from his certified account, shortly after the announcement of the Queen's death: ” Thank you Madam, for everything”.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7128