Queen Elizabeth’s legacy: Paddington bears left in tribute to her are going to a children’s charity
Over 1,000 stuffed animals — including many Paddington bears — that mourners left for Queen Elizabeth II as tributes will be donated to a children’s charity next week during a “teddy bears picnic,” the Royal Family announced on its Twitter account on Friday, Nov. 18.
Together with the announcement was a video from The Royal Parks of London. It describes how staff and volunteers sorted through “hundreds of teddies,” then “washed and prepared” them “for the next stage of their journey.”
The video shows a worker putting a stuffed Paddington bear into a washing machine and dryer, and says the bears then traveled to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, “where they have been kept safe and dry.”
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Clarence House is the London residence of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, according to its website.
The video shows the bears “exploring” the various rooms of Buckingham Palace and “doing some light reading” — with one bear enjoying the appropriately titled book “Paddington Takes a Bath.”
“They are excited to join their new homes soon,” the video notes.
Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
She was 96. At the time of her death, she was the longest-serving monarch in the history of the United Kingdom.
The Royal Family’s website in October 2022 announced “The Paddington Project.”
“Buckingham Palace, The Royal Parks and Barnardo’s children’s charity are pleased to announce that over 1,000 Paddingtons and teddy bears left in tribute to Queen Elizabeth outside Royal Residences in London and Windsor will be donated to Barnardo’s children’s services,” says the website.
The website notes that Queen Consort Camilla will be delivering the stuffed animals to Barnardo’s nursery in Bow on Nov. 24. Bow is located in East London.
The Paddington Project website states that the Bow Nursery “provides child care provision and nursery education to children aged between three months and five years.”
That includes 15 hours of free child care each week to three and four-year-olds, as well as 15 hours of free child care to eligible two-year-olds.
“The nursery also offers the Extended Entitlement 30 hour Funding, commonly known as 30 hours free child care, to eligible families,” says The Paddington Project website.
At the teddy bears picnic, says the website, Camilla will be joined by “key characters from the world of Paddington.”
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That includes the daughter of the author of the original Paddington books and the actors who played Mr. Brown and Judy Brown in the 2014 movie “Paddington.”
Marmalade sandwiches, a favorite of Paddington’s, will be served, says the site.
The Royal Family has a long history with Barnardo’s, said the charity’s website.
Queen Elizabeth served as patron of the charity for over three decades, before passing the patronage to then-Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Parker Bowles in 2016.
Barnardo’s began as a “ragged school” for poor children in 1867, according to its website.
Its founder, Thomas John Barnardo, was shocked by the poverty and lack of educational opportunities for children in London.
Eventually, says the website, Barnardo opened a home for boys, and “accepted all children, regardless of race, disability or circumstance.”
It developed a “girls village” in the 1870s.
Barnardo died in 1905.
At the time of his death, says the website, Barnardo’s charities were caring for more than 8,500 vulnerable children.
Today, Barnardo’s is the U.K.’s largest children’s charity. It works to “support and protect children and young people facing a wide range of issues, from drug misuse to disability, from sexual abuse to domestic violence.”