Mourners urged to stop leaving Paddington Bears and marmalade sandwiches at Queen Elizabeth II tribute sites

Thousands of people have gathered around London’s royal parks to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday at 96. Among the endless flowers laid in tribute are dozens of other items as well, including Paddington Bears and marmalade sandwiches – but to the latter, parks officials are saying enough is enough. 

The queen and the royal family have long been associated with the classic children’s book character Paddington Bear. In honor of her Platinum Jubilee in June, the queen even acted in a skit with the beloved character – the two are seen having tea and discussing their love of marmalade sandwiches. 

“Perhaps you would like a marmalade sandwich,” Paddington asks the queen after chugging a pot of tea and accidentally squishing pastries on the table. “I always keep one for emergencies.” 

After pulling the sandwich out of his famous red hat, the queen responds, “So do I,” and pulls one out of her purse. 

Queen Elizabeth II death
A marmalade sandwich with a note that says “A marmalade sandwich for your journey, Ma’am” a nod to the Queen’s association with Paddington Bear, left among the flowers laid by members of the public at Balmoral in Scotland. 

Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Many mourners have been leaving Paddington-inspired tributes to the queen across parks and elsewhere, with stuffed bears, balloons, clothing, character-covered tea pots, ornaments, notes and marmalade sandwiches – which quickly become moldy. 

This prompted the Royal Parks to issue a statement urging people to opt for flowers, sans plastic wrap, when leaving tributes near Buckingham Palace. All tributes left in the area are moved to the designated tribute garden in Green Park. 

“In the interests of sustainability, we ask visitors to only lay organic or compostable material,” Royal Parks says on its website. “…We would prefer visitors not to bring non-floral objects/artefacts such as teddy bears or balloons.” 

Cards and labels will be accepted, but will be periodically removed with “discretion and sensitivity,” officials added. The flowers will eventually be composted about a week or two following the queen’s funeral next week.  

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