A royal source said that Buckingham Palace refrained from commenting on the clip to make sure they didn't "take away the magic"
On Friday, Paddington actor and writer Simon Farnaby gave insights into the memorable moment while appearing on the RHLSTP with Richard Herring podcast.
Farnaby, who starred as the butler in the surprise sketch that debuted during the Platinum Party at the Palace during the four-day celebration commemorating the Queen’s record 70-year reign in June 2022, said that the sovereign wasn’t landing the line, “So do I,” quite right while filming. The Queen delivered the reply in the two-and-a-half-minute pre-recorded skit when Paddington Bear pulled a marmalade sandwich out of his hat, and the monarch lifted the same from her go-to black Launer handbag.
"The director would come in, Adam, lovely guy: ‘Ma’am, could you just be a bit gentler?' And she’d be so sweet and she’d go, ‘I’m so sorry — yes, of course,’ ” Farnaby said on the RHLSTP podcast. “He’d go, ‘Like you’re talking to your grandchildren.’ She’d say, ‘Oh, of course. I’m so sorry,’ ” he added.
In addition to her duties as Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth was “Granny” to eight grandchildren — Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Prince William, Prince Harry, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Lady Louise Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex — and later, great-grandmother or “Gan-Gan” to Peter, Zara, William, Harry, Beatrice and Eugenie’s kids.
According to Farnaby, Queen Elizabeth got the line quite right after a few tries.
"Eventually, I think she just got tired and just went, ‘So do I,’ and it was really sweet, and it was lovely and everyone was relieved. I needlessly went up to her and said, 'Ma'am, that was fantastic,' and she said, 'Oh, thank you.’ And I went, 'You're a very good actress,' and she went, 'Well, of course — I do it all the time.’ ”
Turning back to his surprise, the actor recalled that he said, “ ’Oh! You mean like playing the part of the Queen?’ And she went, ‘I beg your pardon?’ ” which made Herrington laugh.
Joking that he “lost all my confidence” after the comment, Farnaby said that the monarch clarified she was referencing her annual Christmas Day addresses.
“ ’No, I meant at Christmas, when I do my speeches, but then it’s all written down, you see, and now I have to remember it, so I find it quite hard,’ he said that the Queen said. So that was my conversation,” he explained.
In the "Paddington Meets the Queen" skit, the monarch sat with the beloved children's book character for a cup of tea and some marmalade sandwiches. The prerecorded parody even surprised her family when it opened the concert celebrating her record-breaking 70-year reign!
The sketch went on to win at the 2023 BAFTA TV Awards in May, picking up the P&O Cruises Memorable Moment Award at the awards show. The prize is uniquely the show’s only honor voted by the public, the cruise line said.
Ben Whishaw, Simon Farnaby and team take to the stage to collect the P&O Cruises Memorable Moment Award for Paddington meets The Queen from the Platinum Jubilee: Party At The Palace! 👑#BAFTATVAwards with @pandocruises pic.twitter.com/jaXcGe05XS
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) May 14, 2023
"Our thanks go to the mostly invisible team of wonderful filmmakers who created this lovingly handcrafted moment. I can tell you that Paddington and the Queen had a very joyful Jubilee tea that day, but it was also perhaps a farewell because the person who most deserves this award is no longer with us to receive it," Farnaby said in the acceptance speech at The Royal Festival Hall in London, referencing Queen Elizabeth’s death at age 96 in September 2022.
"We can only accept it on her behalf and say, 'Thank you ma'am for everything,’ ” he added, repeating the iconic line that the skit closed with and was featured throughout the Jubilee weekend.
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At the time, Buckingham Palace didn’t comment on the clip as they don't "want to de-mystify it," one royal source says, "and take away the magic." But PEOPLE learned that the video was filmed that March at Windsor Castle, with Paddington added later by CGI techniques. It's likely that a staff or crew member sat opposite the monarch during filming to help her.
The surprise spot was kept top secret — so much so that even members of the royal family had no idea about it until they were watching it open the star-studded concert. Prince George and Princess Charlotte were clearly amazed, smiling and gasping as they watched their great-grandmother's interactions with Paddington onscreen. (Then-Prince Charles, however, may have been clued in — his speech earlier in the day did reference a marmalade sandwich.)
Following Queen Elizabeth's death, over 1,000 Paddington Bear teddies were left outside royal residences by mourners to honor the late monarch. Days later, Buckingham Palace, The Royal Parks and Barnado's children's charity announced that the bears would be professionally cleaned and donated to Barnado's children's services.
Queen Elizabeth passed the patronage to Queen Camilla, who was then known as the Duchess of Cornwall, in 2016, and King Charles' wife attended a special tea party to see the bears united with their new owners at a kindergarten in east London.
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