We now know what’s in Queen Elizabeth II’s purse.
The long-running mystery was solved on Saturday when the British monarch made the second star of her career, appearing in a mini-movie to kick off a concert celebrating her 70 years on the throne. The sketch showed the Queen having cream tea with Britain’s national treasure Paddington Bear at Buckingham Palace.
After drinking all the tea and destroying the cakes, the bear-wearing duffle coat from deep in Peru told Elizabeth he still had a stash of marmalade sandwiches with him, raising his red hat to reveal his treat favourite.
“Me too,” the queen replied before opening her bag and declaring, “I’m keeping mine here.”
The scene was reminiscent of when Elizabeth appeared as a Bond girl in a short film for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
“Her Majesty is well known for her sense of humour, so it’s no surprise that she decided to take part in tonight’s skit,” the palace said. “There was interest in the filming and animation process and the opportunity to invite a famous bear for tea was just too fun to miss.”
The Queen’s performance with an animated bear drew laughter and applause from the overflowing crowd at the concert outside Buckingham Palace which was the highlight of the third of four days of festivities celebrating her Platinum Jubilee. The 96-year-old monarch did not attend the concert in person due to what the palace describes as “episodic mobility issues”.
Despite the Queen’s absence, morale was high at an event that culminated in appearances by the monarch’s son and grandson. Prince Charles and his son Prince William paid tribute to the Queen in separate speeches that honored the past and looked to the future.
Anne Middleton, 61, who traveled from Cardiff to Wales for Jubilee celebrations, said she loved Paddington’s skit and the Queen’s decision to skip the event did not dim the festivities .
“Not for me,” she said, decked head to toe in the flags of the UK and Wales. “She arrived the first day, and we know she would have been there if she could have been.”
Charles opened his brief speech by addressing the Queen as ‘Your Majesty, Mama’ and then paid tribute to her ‘life of selfless service’.
The Queen’s eldest son and heir apparent recalled the ever-growing list of world leaders Elizabeth met and the endless piles of state documents she reviewed during a reign that now stretches from the earliest cold war days in the information age. But he also highlighted his mother’s role as a symbol of stability, uniting the UK and the Commonwealth as they negotiated in this rapidly changing world.
“You met us and talked to us. You laugh and cry with us and more importantly you have been there for us for 70 years,” Charles said as scenes from the Queen’s life were projected onto the palace walls. “You have made a lifelong commitment to serve – you continue to deliver. That’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re celebrating tonight.
William preceded his father with remarks that highlighted the Queen’s long-standing commitment to the environment as he stressed the need to tackle climate change. The presentation began with a clip from the Queen’s Christmas message in 1989, in which she called on all nations to work together to protect the earth for “our children and our children’s children”.
That message still holds true today, William said.
“It is my firm hope that my grandmother’s words will be as true in 70 years as they are tonight, that as nations we will come together for a common cause, for then there is always room for hope.”
The Queen has not attended any of the Jubilee festivities since Thursday, when she waved to supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace.
The monarch also decided not to attend the Epsom Derby earlier on Saturday and was represented at the prestigious annual horse race by her daughter, Princess Anne.
The Queen, known as a horse lover, has only missed the Epsom Derby a handful of times. On Saturday, five of her former racehorses paraded and 40 jockeys who rode for the Queen formed a guard of honor before the national anthem was played.
“She’s been breeding horses for over 60 years,” Frankie Dettori, one of the jockeys, told the BBC. “She knows all the bloodlines and she’s won a lot of races and she’s very knowledgeable,”
“I’m sure today she will find a TV and watch it live because she loves the Derby so much,” he added.
It was the second time in as many days that the Queen’s mobility issues prevented crowds from seeing her.
On Friday, the Queen skipped a special Thanksgiving service in her honor at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Palace officials said she felt “some discomfort” at events the day before, including waving to huge crowds from Buckingham Palace.
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, were among nearly 50 members of the royal family who gathered at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday to honor the absent head of state. It was the couple’s first public appearance in the UK since stepping back from royal duties and moving to California two years ago.
Aside from attending Friday’s service, the couple have so far stayed out of the spotlight. Their two children, Archie and Lilibet, who turned one on Saturday, have yet to appear on this trip. A spokesperson for the couple said they were spending the day “in private” and would not join around 30 other members of the royal family at the concert on Saturday.
Meanwhile, members of the Royal Family traveled to Wales and Northern Ireland as part of celebrations across the UK.
William and his wife Kate brought two of their three children – Prince George, 8, and Princess Charlotte, 7 – to Cardiff Castle in Wales ahead of a separate concert in the castle grounds in honor of the Queen.
The Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, visited a 1950s-themed seaside funfair in Belfast. Edward tried his hand at pulling a pint of Guinness in a restaurant, while Sophie attended a 50s and 60s dance demonstration.
Follow AP’s coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii