What does Elizabeth II carry in her bag? During the 70 years of the monarch’s reign, that question has caused rivers of ink to flow. The answers have been very varied: from nothing to tissues, mints, photos of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren or, as has been seen on occasion, a lipstick with which Her Gracious Majesty has touched up at some social event; without going any further, a couple of weeks ago during some horse races. But now it has been she herself who has revealed it, and she has done it before a very special guest at Buckingham Palace: Paddington Bear.
The meeting between Elizabeth II and the cinematic teddy bear took place in a golden hall of the palace, where both met to have tea on the occasion of the queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This can be seen in a video broadcast by the British royal house of just one minute and that in just one day has exceeded one and a half million views on YouTube. Under the title Ma’amalade sandwich Your Majesty? (A jam sandwich, Her Majesty?), the pet is seated – in a longer version of it – next to the queen and thanks her for receiving him at Buckingham, as well as wishing her a Happy Jubilee. “Tea?” Offers the monarch, sitting across from him. “Oh, yes, please,” the bear replies, to which he immediately jumps on the kettle and drinks practically all of its contents. When he realizes his lack of protocol, he tries to serve the queen… but there are barely a few drops left. Returning crestfallen to his seat to apologize, the bear crushes a cream puff and stains a footman.
To defuse the tension, Paddington seems to find the solution. “Maybe… I’d like to have a jam sandwich. I always carry one with me in case an emergency arises, ”reveals the bear, taking the snack out of his hat. Then the queen, with her black Launer bag on the table, the same model she has been wearing for decades, replies: “Just like me. I always carry one here.” And he opens the bag and shows it to her, with an amused smile, to which his companion is completely impressed. “For later”, continues Elizabeth II.
After that, the footman approaches the balcony, where images of the crowds celebrating the queen are seen. “She is about to begin, Her Majesty,” she tells him. Elizabeth II and her bear look at each other, and he takes off her hat to congratulate her: “Happy Jubilee, ma’am. And thanks. For all”. “Very kind,” concludes the British monarch.
The video has been a surprise within the four days of celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee, where the queen has only appeared on the first day, Thursday, June 2, during the Trooping The Color parade, to greet from the palace balcony. On the second day she felt “indisposed” and she refused to attend the thanksgiving mass celebrated in Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Nor did she attend the Epsom horse derby on Saturday – her daughter, Princess Anne, replaced her – or the massive concert held at Buckingham Palace, where Rod Stewart or Alicia Keys sang. She is not expecting her appearance on Sunday at the grand finale parade outside her London residence.
Hence, the video in which the queen appears next to Paddington, who is not even a real character, but created by computer, has been especially surprising, so the monarch has had to act without having a reference in front of her. The images were projected on Saturday night on screens located in the main British streets so that citizens can follow the Jubilee celebrations, and caused the fervor of the crowd.
The footage also contains a tone of humor that few expected at this point from the queen, who is 96 years old and in very poor health. But Elizabeth II already showed that she knows how to pull the laughter when necessary a decade ago, during the London Olympics, by going from Buckingham to the opening ceremony with James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) and appearing a jump by helicopter. This time the risk has been lower, but the result just as hilarious.
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