Rachael Bletchly says even her neighbor, who is a die-hard Republican, admitted Paddington Bear gave an unexpected lump in her throat while having tea with the Queen
I’ve watched Paddington Bear have tea with the Queen dozens of times since Sunday, and the scene still tugs at my heart.
It’s the sparkle in her eyes as she reaches into that famous purse and pulls out a jam sandwich.
And the slight tremor in Ben Whishaw’s voice as the actor helps Paddington wish her “Happy Anniversary” and thank Her Majesty… “for everything.”
But I was stunned when my neighbor, a die-hard Republican who wants the royal palaces turned into public housing, admitted it also gave him an unexpected lump in his throat.
And after all our arguments about wealth, privilege and the value of a constitutional monarchy, he finally admitted that he had always admired Queen Elizabeth as a person.
Though he spoiled it by describing her as “a woman imprisoned in a gilded cage until the day she falls from her perch.”
However, he still wants the gilded cage to be taken down when she’s gone.
And the priceless jewels chiseled out of the state regalia before the crown jewels are melted down to scrap.
I’ve just watched Clive Myrie’s BBC documentary about the £5 billion treasury at the Tower of London: the crowns and bracelets, rings and spurs ceremoniously donned to monarchs at their coronation as symbols of power and authority.
But I couldn’t help but think that Elizabeth II’s reign was better marked by far more mundane symbols: the collection of Launer leather handbags that had dangled from her arm for 70 glorious years.
Because she and her content remind us that she is an ordinary woman who has taken on an extraordinary burden thanks to a simple birth accident.
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A wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who likes to have her powder compact, lippy, glasses, and treats on hand even when meeting world leaders.
A loving daughter who keeps the keys to her red boxes on a prized St. Christopher medallion given to her by her father.
A wartime ATS mechanic who still carries a handy pocket knife and a newspaper crossword so she never has to twiddle her thumbs.
Now we know that Her Majesty’s purse also contains an emergency jam sandwich.
And watching her put it back in “for later” in her platinum party skit really blew my mind.
Because at the age of 96 and with increasing mobility problems, we simply don’t know how many “later” there will be for our record monarch.
But we do know that the day she closes her iconic bag forever will break the heart of the nation.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/queen-elizabeths-paddington-bear-sketch-27207445 "Queen Elizabeth's Paddington Bear Sketch touched the hearts of the nation" - Rachael Bletchly