LONDON — We now know what’s inside Queen Elizabeth II’s famous handbag: a stash of marmalade sandwiches.
That, at least, was what the queen revealed in a comic sketch with Paddington Bear that rocked Buckingham Palace and delighted viewers around the world.
The segment was aired at a concert held at the palace Saturday night, the third day of festivities celebrating the queen’s record-breaking Platinum Jubilee, or 70 years on the throne. Many people flocked to London’s palace to see the stars and to witness the spectacular drones and lights display that featured floating teapots and corgis. Millions of viewers also watched the BBC live from their homes.
The queen wasn’t at the concert. After experiencing “some discomfort” on the first day of jubilee celebrations — Brits are celebrating the jubilee from Thursday to Sunday — she pulled out of events on the second and third days.
But even if she wasn’t at the Saturday night concert in person, she was clearly the star of the show, demonstrating to the British public in a prerecorded sketch that she really does have a knack for comedy sketches.
In the scene, the queen and Paddington Bear, a beloved fictional character in Britain, sit down at the palace for a cup of afternoon tea. The hapless bear is not content with the posh surroundings. The teapot is sent flying, and the dessert gets splattered all over the butler’s face.
The bear then says to the queen: “Perhaps you’d like a marmalade sandwich. I always keep one for emergencies.”
“So do I,” confides the queen, who then opens her black handbag. “I keep mine in here,” she says, as she lifts a sandwich out of her bag, adding, “For later.”
The crowd watching at the palace roared and clapped with delight.
It was not the first time the queen has revealed her comic talents to a large audience. Along with her corgis she had a great turn in a James Bond sketch at the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics. On Saturday night, social media was abuzz with discussion about which was the best.
The palace, which was clearly having some fun as well, said that the queen felt the opportunity to have Paddington around for tea was an opportunity not to be missed.
The palace said in a statement: “Her Majesty is well known for her sense of humour, so it should be no surprise that she decided to take part in tonight’s sketch.”
“There was an interest in the filming and animation process and the opportunity to invite a famous bear to tea was just too much fun to miss,” they said.
The future king, Prince Charles, referenced the skit when he took the stage at the concert to pay tribute to the queen.
He began his speech with “Your Majesty, Mummy.” He delivered the same introduction at the queen’s golden and diamond jubilees, celebrating 50 and 60 years on the throne, respectively.
In an emotional tribute, Charles said his mother had “immense regret” that she was not at the concert in person. But she was, he said, “watching these celebrations with much emotion, having, I hope, finished her marmalade sandwich.”
He then urged the crowd to make some noise so that she might hear it from Windsor Castle, where she was watching the concert.
“Windsor Castle is barely 20 miles away so if we cheer loudly enough, she might, might just hear us. Charles said, “Let’s all unite.” Charles was merrily accepted by the crowd.
Charles, who has recently filled in for his mother at major events when she is unable to attend, said of the queen: “You pledged to serve your whole life — you continue to deliver. This is what we celebrate tonight. That is what we celebrate tonight.”
As he was speaking, images of the queen were projected onto the facade of Buckingham Palace.
“You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you have been there for us, for these 70 years,” he said.
“These pictures on your house are the story of your life — and ours,” said Charles. “So, Your Majesty, that is why we all say ‘thank you.’ “
During the 2 1/2 -hour event — which included performances by Diana Ross, Alicia Keys, Duran Duran, George Ezra and the rock band Queen — images were flashed onto the royal residence.
There were also prerecorded messages from a number of major figures, including Michelle Obama, who thanked the queen for “welcoming a nervous first lady to Buckingham Palace for the first time,” and Daniel Craig, who has played James Bond, who nodded at their Olympic skit together: “I will follow you anywhere, ma’am, out of any helicopter door.” When the crowd heard a message from naturalist David Attenborough, the wristbands they were given to wear flashed green.
Some of the queen’s speeches were played at the concert, including one for the climate conference in Glasgow last year.
When he took the stage, Prince William referenced environmental issues, saying: “It’s my firm hope that my grandmother’s words are as true in 70 years’ time as they are tonight that as nations we come together in common cause, because then there is always room for hope.”
One of the most stunning moments came compliments of drones, which helped to light up the skies with a cup of tea, a handbag and “thank you, ma’am” messages.
And, of course, a corgi, the queen’s favorite dog.
“The drone corgi above Buckingham Palace has made my year,” wrote one user on social media.
“There is a giant drone corgi over Buckingham Palace and this is the best country on earth,” said another.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had his own take: “Corg’ Blimey!”