Paddington Bears have been flying off the shelves since queen’s death, store owner says
David Jackson, owner of Bears on the Square, a teddy bear-themed store in Ironridge, England, says he has been overwhelmed by increased demand for Paddington Bear plush toys since the queen’s death.
“I usually sell one or two Paddingtons a week. This week alone I’ve sold more than 100,” Jackson told NBC News, adding that he expects to be fully out of the bears by Sunday morning and doesn’t think suppliers will have enough stock until late October.
The Harrods store at Heathrow, which is also seeing a spike in demand, sold out of Paddington plush toys earlier this week and currently only has water bottles and aprons of the bear left in stock.
Queen Elizabeth II has been strongly associated with Paddington Bear since she appeared in a video with the popular children’s book character during the Platinum Jubilee. “People coming in to buy the bears tell me they’re doing it as a way to remember the Queen. They’re going to keep Paddington in their homes to honor and remember her,” Jackson said.
Photos: Queen’s grandchildren hold vigil at her lying in state
‘She was technically my boss for 10 years,’ says British Army veteran
LONDON — Fred George, who is 64 and lives in Essex, wore the campaign medal he earned while serving with the British Army in Northern Ireland.
“She was technically my boss for 10 years, all don’t explain and don’t complain,” he said after joining the mourners marching to Westminster Hall to say farewell to the monarch.
“I felt I owed it to her to pay my respects.”
Queen’s eight grandchildren hold vigil at her lying in state
The eight grandchildren of Queen Elizabeth II held a vigil at her lying in state on Saturday evening local time in Westminster Hall.
Prince William and Prince Harry stood on a platform near their grandmother’s coffin during the vigil, which began around 6 p.m. local time and lasted about 20 minutes.
They were joined by Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Zara Tindall, Peter Phillips, Lady Louise Windsor and James Windsor, Viscount Severn.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie pay tribute to their ‘beloved Grannie’
Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie released a statement Saturday, paying tribute to “our beloved Grannie” ahead of a vigil held in honor of the queen.
“We’ve not been able to put much into words since you left us all,” they wrote. “There have been tears and laughter, silences and chatter, hugs and loneliness, and a collective loss for you.”
The daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, the Duke and Duchess of York, remembered their grandmother as their matriarch, guide and the “loving hand on our backs leading us through this world.”
“For now dear Grannie, all we want to say is thank you,” they wrote. “Thank you for making us laugh, for including us, for picking heather and raspberries, for marching soldiers, for our teas, for comfort, for joy.”
‘I’m not from around here,’ officer tells tourist asking for directions
LONDON — Some areas like Trafalgar Square are completely sealed off from the public by mammoth wooden green walls, and the London police have brought in reinforcements from other parts of England to stand watch.
On Saturday, it was a contingent of officers from Derbyshire.
An Italian tourist searching for a restaurant in SoHo asked for directions from one officer, who politely replied, “I don’t know where that is. I’m not from around here.”
Estimated wait time see the queen’s coffin now up to 11 hours
The estimated queue time to see the queen’s lying in state is now up to 11 hours, according to UK officials.
The waiting time for the main line has been dropping throughout the day. About an hour ago, it was at up to 13 hours, according to a tracker maintained by the government’s culture department.
A separate queue, called the accessible line, which offered another access route for people with health conditions and others who needed it, reached full capacity on Saturday.
If the main line reaches capacity, entry will be paused, the department said. The queen’s lying in state will close early Monday morning local time.
Accessible line permanently closed, UK officials say
The accessible line to see the queen’s lying in state, which is separate from the main line, has been “permanently closed,” UK officials have announced.
“It reached full capacity on Saturday evening,” the country’s culture department said in a tweet. “Due to demand, the accessible queue is now closed permanently to new entrants.”
The queue, which ran from the Tate Britain, had offered another access route for those who required it, including people with health conditions.
Australian PM ‘thankful’ to pay his respects to the queen
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted after signing a book of condolence for the queen.
“In this time of great grief, we are thankful to be here paying our respects to the Queen for her services to duty, faith, family and the Commonwealth,” he wrote.
Biden traveling to London on Air Force One
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are making their way to London, where they will attend Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday.
The Bidens boarded Air Force One Saturday morning ET, along with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, communications director Kate Bedingfield and several other administration officials.
They are expected to land at London Stansted Airport at around 9:30 p.m. local time (4:30 p.m. ET).
Saturday the first chance to ‘pay our respects,’ dad says
He brought his 8-year-old daughter Gabriella to Buckingham Palace because he wanted to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.
“For a lot of people, this is the first chance to come by and pay our respects,” said Matt Hillier, 45.
More than a dozen mourners taken to hospital
More than a dozen people were taken were taken to hospital as they waited in line to see the queen’s coffin on Friday, a voluntary emergency medical care service said in a statement.
“Cold night-time temperatures are the main challenge — particularly for people queuing beside the River Thames,” the St. John’s Ambulance Service said in a statement.
It said that 13 of the 73 people it treated Friday had been taken to hospital and it had treated “around 600 people,” since the period of national mourning began.
World leaders sign book of condolence
King Charles III thanks police for their service
King Charles III has thanked London’s Metropolitan Police for their work and support as extensive security arrangements are made for the queen’s state funeral on Monday.
The force said Friday that it will be the biggest security operation it has ever undertaken as kings and queens, prime ministers and presidents from across the globe come together in London to pay their respects.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the largest ever number of police officers would be deployed on the British capital’s streets and it was largest protection operation in the force’s almost 200 year history.
Restaurant in Central London open on Monday, expecting crowds of customers
LONDON — Greta Skrabiskyte, manager of The Pizza Express on Haymarket and Panton Street near Piccadilly Circus, said they’ve been inundated with hungry mourners for days. They’ll be open on Monday, though later — 1 p.m. instead of the usual 11:30 a.m.
“We’re expecting a very, very huge crowd,” she said.
The situation is less certain for workers.
Asked how he’ll get to the shop with tube service suspended on several key lines in the area, one of the workers shrugged. “Who knows?” he said.
Parliament releases pictures of David Beckham’s visit to queen’s coffin
Which world leaders are attending the queen’s funeral?
Around 500 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey, including President Joe Biden, kings and queens from across Europe, and leaders of Commonwealth nations.
Members of royal families across Europe have confirmed that they are attending, including Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, and the previous Spanish king and queen, Juan Carlos and Sofia. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II and her heir, Crown Prince Frederik, will also be attending.
A police official declined to detail how the leaders would travel to Westminster Abbey on Monday, citing security reasons.
India’s president heads to London
India’s President Droupadi Murmu has departed New Delhi to join the estimated 500 foreign leaders and heads of state expected to attend the queen’s state funeral on Monday.
Murmu made history in July when she was sworn in as India’s first president to hail from one of the country’s indigenous communities. Murmu is from the Santhal tribe, one of the largest in India and grew up in a remote village in the district of Mayurbhanj, in the eastern state of Odisha.
Tribal communities in India are often poor and marginalized, so Murmu’s election to the largely ceremonial role was considered hugely significant.
The U.K. has a centuries-old relationship with India, which was a former colony under the British empire, before it gained independence in 1947.
Soldiers rehearse ahead of the queen’s funeral
Hundreds of British soldiers have been rehearsing at Windsor Castle ahead of the queen’s state funeral on Monday.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, marching bands playing music and the Grenadier Guards, one of the oldest regiments in the British army, were spotted next to a hearse.
Following the queen’s funeral service at Westminster Abbey in central London, her coffin will be driven to Windsor, a town around 30 miles southwest of London.
The hearse will then travel in procession to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle via the Long Walk, a three-mile long avenue, which will be lined by members of the armed forces.
Charles and William make a surprise visit to mourners lining up to see the queen
King Charles III and Prince William have made a surprise visit to mourners waiting in line to see the queen’s coffin.
The new monarch and his son stopped off at the Albert Embankment, on the south bank of London’s Thames river to shake hands and chat to wellwishers.
Subway stations are closing in anticipation of Monday’s funeral
LONDON — Some entrances and exits for tube stations nearest Buckingham Palace are already closing in an anticipation of a complete shutdown of service on some lines Monday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
This one is across from Trafalgar Square near the entrance to The Mall, where a steady stream of mourners, many bearing flowers, have been heading for the palace.
“We came now because on Monday all this will be sealed,” Agatha Ridley, a retiree from the north London suburbs said. “We’ll stay home Monday and watch the funeral on television.”
People ‘appreciate’ sale of bouquets, souvenir stand owner says
LONDON — Hasanaj Blerim has has managed a souvenir stand near London’s central Trafalgar Square for 10 years.
In recent days, he said he had started selling fresh flowers in addition to the usual flags and refrigerator magnets and mugs bearing the late queen’s image.
“They’re cheap, but people appreciate,” Blerim said of the bouquets.
He added that he would stay open Saturday and Sunday but not Monday, the day of the funeral.
Work doesn’t stop on weekends for the new king
The work doesn’t stop on weekends for King Charles III, who has a busy schedule of meetings with army officials, politicians and governors at Buckingham Palace Saturday.
Buckingham Palace said the new monarch received the highest ranked Britain’s military, including the First Sea Lord, Chief of the Air Staff, Chief of the General Staff, Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of United Kingdom.
In the afternoon, he is attending lunch with the governor-generals of the Commonwealth, who act as representatives for the British monarch in their countries. He will also meet with the Prime Ministers of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Bahamas and Jamaica later today.
The new king is receiving his guests in the 1844 room, a resplendent space in the palace used for meeting the most important dignitaries and guests.
Line to see the queen gets its own weather forecast
A special weather forecast for the long line of people waiting to pay their respects to the queen has been produced by the BBC.
On its official Twitter account, the broadcaster’s weather service shows temperatures for regions across the U.K., including one for “The Queue,” the British word for line.
Thousands of people are waiting for hours in a line that stretches for miles from southeast London to Westminster Palace.
Swiss artist lights up sky in tribute to the queen
The skies above Switzerland were lit up with images of Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Prince Philip, Friday night. The tribute was produced by the world-famous Swiss light artist, Gerry Hofstetter.
Some Britons are angry over cancellations due to the queen’s funeral
LONDON — It began with soccer, Britain’s beloved national sport. Then, flights into London’s Heathrow Airport were canceled out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II, drawing weary sighs from critics.
By the time of the late monarch’s funeral Monday, the U.K. will have come to a near-standstill, with most businesses shuttered and thousands of events canceled across the country.
But for some relying on Britain’s cherished National Health Service — already creaking with long delays — or other services like food banks, the cancelations seemed like too high a price to pay in a country grappling with a cost-of-living crisis.
“When I was called and told all appointments that day are cancelled, I got off the phone and cried,” Dan O’Brien, who is eight months pregnant, told NBC News via Twitter on Thursday.
Read more here.
Man arrested after approaching queen’s coffin
A man was arrested Friday after he attempted to directly approach the queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall, London’s Metropolitan Police said.
The man was under the Public Order Act, which prohibits disruptive and dangerous protest after the incident which occurred around 10 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET), the force said in a statement.
The live video feed of the queen’s lying in state briefly cut away during the incident, although it was later restored.
China’s vice president to attend queen’s funeral
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan will attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, after accepting an invitation from the British government.
The invitation has raised concerns among British lawmakers, several of whom were sanctioned by Beijing last year after they criticized China’s alleged abuse of Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. Beijing has strongly denied the allegations.
London firefighters help to steward the line
The London Fire Brigade have been handing out water, and helping the public as they line up to see the queen’s coffin.
Waiting time to see the queen hits 24 hours
Waiting times to see the queen lying in state have reached 24 hours, the U.K. government said early Saturday.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said on its Twitter feed that the line was in Southwark Park in southeast London.
“If the park reaches capacity, entry to the queue will be paused,” it added.
Lines grow as as people pay respects to the queen
Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako head to London
Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako left for Britain on Saturday to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral to pay respects to her and the British royal family who considered as a model for Japan’s monarchy in modern history.
Naruhito and Masako’s trip to Britain is their first as the Emperor and Empress. The Queen’s invitation for them to visit following Naruhito’s 2019 ascension to the Chrysanthemum Throne had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Traditionally, a Japanese emperor stays away from funerals except for those of their own parents because of a cultural belief based in the Shinto religion that considers death impure.
The decision for the emperor and empress to attend the queen’s funeral underscores the importance and the deep bond between the royal families. Former Emperor Akihito, as crown prince, attended the Queen’s 1953 coronation and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Queen Elizabeth visited Japan in 1975.