LONDON • Winnie-the-Pooh meets Queen Elizabeth II and a little boy who looks just like her great- grandson Prince George in a new story published on Thursday to mark both their 90th birthdays.
A.A. Milne's honey-loving bear, who first appeared in a story in 1926, the year of the queen's birth, travels to London with his human companion Christopher Robin and his woodland friends Piglet and Eeyore the gloomy donkey, to give the monarch a birthday "hum" or poem. It reads: "The Queen lived in her palace, as Queens often do/Doing all those busy things that busy Queens do/But The Queen could never know, as you and I do/ That doing nothing much can be the BEST thing to do? So from a forest far away, for your special day/We're sending you some quiet and a little time to play."
They meet her by chance outside Buckingham Palace, where she is holding the hand of an unnamed young boy, described as "almost as bouncy as Tigger" and looking remarkably similar to Prince George.
Winnie-the-Pooh famously tried to see the king in the poem Buckingham Palace, but he was "much too busy a-signing things".
They watched the changing of the guard and then went home for tea. As Pooh says on the trip home: "It must be a very great thing to be 90 years old."
Winnie-the-Pooh And The Royal Birthday was written by Jane Riordan with illustrations by Mark Burgess, who also drew the pictures for Return To The Hundred Acre Wood in 2009, the first authorised book since Milne's death.
The new story is free to download from the Disney website. There is an audio version narrated by actor Jim Broadbent.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NEW YORK TIMES