Hundreds of Paddington bears left for queen to go to charity

LONDON (AP) — More than 1,000 Paddington bears and other teddies left in tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II in London and Windsor will be donated to a children’s charity, Buckingham Palace said Saturday.

Mourners left thousands of tributes, including flowers and teddy bears, outside Buckingham Palace and in royal parks in London and outside Windsor Castle in an outpouring of grief after the U.K.’s longest-reigning monarch died on Sept. 8 at age 96.

The queen became linked to Paddington bear, another British national treasure, after the two appeared together in a short comedy video during Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year to mark the monarch’s 70 years on the throne. The video, which featured the queen taking afternoon tea with a computer-animated Paddington bear, saw her telling the bear that she shared his love for marmalade sandwiches — and that she liked to hide them in her purse “for later.”

Buckingham Palace and the royal parks said Saturday the hundreds of bears left in tribute of the queen will be professionally cleaned before being delivered to Barnado’s, a children’s charity.

Elizabeth was patron of the charity for over 30 years, and in 2016 she passed the patronage to Camilla, the wife of King Charles III and now known as the Queen Consort.

“We are honoured to be able to gives homes to the teddies that people left in her memory,” said Lynn Perry, chief executive of Barnardo’s. “We promise to look after these bears who will be well-loved and bring joy to the children we support.”

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