A NEW Winnie-the-Pooh adventure which sees the bear of very little brain meet the Queen for the first time has been released to celebrate both of their 90th birthdays.
The illustrated story called Winnie-The-Pooh And The Royal Birthday, plus an audio video version narrated by Oscar winning actor Jim Broadbent, sees Pooh travel to Buckingham Palace with Christopher Robin, Piglet and Eeyore to deliver a special present to the 90-year-old monarch.
The Queen, in a red coat and hat with familiar black gloves and handbag, is depicted listening to the honey-loving bear as he recites her a birthday “hum” or poem after a chance encounter when he spots her going for a stroll outside the Palace.
Prince George also makes an appearance in the book – recognisable in the drawing by his blonde side-parted hair, his blue cardigan and trademark shorts.
Rather than being mentioned by name, he is described only as a little boy running behind the Queen and as “much younger than Christopher Robin and almost as bouncy as Tigger”.
George is given a red balloon by Piglet, pats him on the head and tickles Pooh’s ears.
The colourful drawings in the new tale are in the classic EH Shepard style and by illustrator Mark Burgess, who also drew the pictures for the first authorised sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh – Return To The Hundred Acre Wood – in 2009.
Penned by Jane Riordan, the short story sees Pooh, Piglet, Christopher Robin and Eeyore travel through London in an open top red double decker bus, visit the lion statues in Trafalgar Square, see the Palace guards, and walk hand in hand down The Mall.
The release – which is available free at www.Disney.co.uk/WinnieRoyalBirthday – was written to celebrate the Queen’s official birthday in June and Winnie-the-Pooh’s 90th anniversary.
AA Milne’s Pooh bear first appeared in a story book – called Winnie-the-Pooh – in October 1926 – although he previously featured in a poem and a tale in a newspaper.
Broadbent said he thoroughly enjoying being part of the new adventure.
“I have been a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh since I was a boy, in fact I named my very first and much loved teddy Pooh and that can only have been after the AA Milne character,” the actor said.
“I’ve loved being part of this story to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday and Winnie-the-Pooh’s 90th anniversary; it’s been an honour to narrate such an iconic story and I want to wish both Her Majesty The Queen and Winnie-the-Pooh a very Happy 90th.”
It is the first time the character has met the Queen in a Winnie-the-Pooh story.
As a youngster, Princess Elizabeth was said to have loved the Pooh tales.
AA Milne’s collection of poems, Teddy Bear And The Other Songs From When We Were Very Young, was dedicated to her when published in 1926 – the year of her birth.
She was also given a Christopher Robin china nursery set with hand-coloured pictures of Christopher Robin, Pooh and friends as a child.
Nicole Pearson, creative director at Egmont Publishing, said: “This is a celebration of two very British icons that have been part of our British heritage for 90 years.”
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