People are mourning Queen Elizabeth — and buying lots of commemorative merchandise

by | Sep 18, 2022 | Top Stories

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Souvenir shops sell memorabilia of the late Queen Elizabeth II near Buckingham Palace in London.

Elizabeth Dalziel for NPR

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Elizabeth Dalziel for NPR

LONDON — Britain’s longest-reigning monarch may be gone, but she’ll certainly never be forgotten. And now, if you want, you can get that printed on a t-shirt. Royal souvenirs have 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 70 years on the throne in June was no exception, producing all sorts of celebratory collectibles. In recent days, they’ve been joined on window displays and store shelves with a new, more somber category of merchandise, honoring the late queen with tote bags, t-shirts, sweatshirts, posters, mugs, magnets and more.

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Citizens from across the U.K. have traveled to London ahead of Elizabeth’s state funeral on Monday to pay their respects in person to Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

Elizabeth Dalziel for NPR

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Elizabeth Dalziel for NPR

Selections at the gift shop Cool Britannia included t-shirts with pictures of the queen at different ages of her life, overlaid with the words “Forever in Our Hearts,” as well as mugs inscribed with the years she was born and died and a message of gratitude. The store is right near Buckingham Palace and Green Park, where droves of mourners have descended in recent days to lay down flowers, flags, stuffed animals and handwritten notes as far as the eye can see. And lots of people passing by are stopping in for merchandise, according to an employee who agreed to an interview. (NPR is not naming her because she is a minor.)

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Maria Donderichi wears a commemorative shirt in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II near Buckingham Palace.

Elizabeth Dalziel for NPR

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Elizabeth Dalziel for NPR

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