“Please look after this bear” - That’s the message from the Royal Family today after the Queen Consort was pictured surrounded by some of the thousands of Paddington toys left in memory of The Queen following her death last month.
Among the floral tributes left outside royal residences, members of the public also paid their respects in the form of the iconic Peruvian character, who became associated with the monarch after they appeared together in a comedy sketch for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, touching the hearts of people across the nation.
During the short film, Paddington visits Buckingham Palace for afternoon tea where his typical brand of chaos ensues. At the end of the skit, the Queen reveals she too carries with her, an ‘emergency’ marmalade sandwich, secreted in her handbag.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the teddies have been collected up with the help of shire horses and almost 200 volunteers, professionally cleaned and were now being "well looked after".
Tom Jarvis, director of parks at the Royal Parks charity, said: "Over the last few weeks, we have been looking for a fitting and appropriate use for the hundreds of teddy bears that were left in Green Park and Hyde Park to honour the Queen.
"We are delighted that the teddy bears will now bring joy and comfort to hundreds of children supported by Barnardo’s."
He told BBC Breakfast that it was a challenge when cuddly toys were left outdoors but that the "weather was kind" during that period and his team had been able to collect all of the bears.
Paddington Bear tributes donated to children’s charity Barnardos
It has been revealed the duffle-coated bears will be delivered to Barnardos - the children’s charity receiving patronage from Camilla since it was passed to her by the Queen in 2016.
Marking the occasion, an image of the Queen Consort has been released depicting the wife of King Charles III surrounded by various iterations of the furry character, sitting in the Morning Room at Clarence House. The photograph was taken last week on the 64th anniversary of the publication of the first Paddington Bear book.
Speaking to the BBC, Barnardo’s chief executive Lynn Perry said: "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was Barnardo’s patron for over 30 years, and we are honoured to be able to give homes to the teddies that people left in her memory.
"We promise to look after these bears who will be well-loved and bring joy to the children we support. We are incredibly grateful to Her Majesty The Queen Consort for her support in helping us to raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable children and young people in the UK so that we can continue to support them through our vital services."