LONDON — Britain’s longest reigning monarch may be gone, but she will certainly never be forgotten. And now, if you want, you can print it on a t-shirt.
Royal memorabilia has been around almost as long as the British monarchy itself – people have been shelling out for Jubilee memorabilia since the 1600s, according to Buckingham Palace. The Platinum Jubilee marking Queen Elizabeth’s 70th anniversary on the throne in June was no exception, yielding all sorts of festive collectibles.
In recent days, they’ve been joined on store windows and shelves with a new, darker category of merchandise, honoring the late Queen with tote bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, mugs, magnets and more.
Selections from the Cool Britannia gift shop included t-shirts with photos of the Queen at different ages in her life, overlaid with the words “Forever in Our Hearts”, and mugs bearing the years of her birth and death. death and a message of recognition.
The store is right next to Buckingham Palace and Green Park, where throngs of mourners have descended in recent days to lay flowers, flags, stuffed animals and handwritten notes as far as the eye can see. And lots of passers-by stop to buy goods, according to an employee who agreed to be interviewed. (NPR is not naming her because she is underage.)
She says current bestsellers are just about anything with the Queen’s face on them, including Platinum Jubilee memorabilia and merchandise produced since the Queen’s death – an opportunity for the country has long planned out of necessity.
The store employee says that as soon as the Queen’s death was announced, vendors contacted the store to let them know souvenirs to mark the occasion were now available. A colleague had to drive to Liverpool – a journey of around four hours across the country – overnight to pick them up in time for the next day.
The store predicted demand would be high, she added, so they’re not exactly selling out. But the store manager, who identified himself as Wahid KVC, says some popular items are running out, in particular a commemorative tote bag with the Queen’s face on both sides.
Notably missing from the shelves was much of any loot from King Charles III, but the manager says people started asking. While the new monarch may have had decades to prepare for her new job, at least this gift shop still needs a little more time.
He says the store certainly plans to start selling these items soon, but has not yet obtained them from suppliers, likely due to delays caused by the 10-day national mourning period.
This window is ongoing as London is still packed with locals and visitors queuing to pay homage to the queen for his body is on display in Westminster Hall.
A few blocks away, mourner Maria Donderici walked from the line to the pub wearing a blue t-shirt with pictures of the Queen young and old, wrapped in the outline of a heart. “You will remain in our hearts,” he said.
Donderici says she ordered it from Amazon to wear on that day specifically. She stood in line for about eight hours, all told.
“Also, I love the royal family,” she added, “so I wanted to have something as a memento.”
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