10 Shocking Things to Know About The Real Christopher Robin Behind Winnie-The-Pooh Story – There’re Lots of Skeletons in the Closet

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Waiting for the upcoming feature film Christopher Robin, with Ewan McGregor in the title role, Nexter.org prepared interesting facts you probably don’t know about the real Christopher Robin, his father A. A. Milne and Pooh himself. 

It was a real boy

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Source: BETTMANN/CORBIS

Christopher Robin Milne was born in Chelsea, London, on Aug. 21, 1920, just 21 months after the Great War ended. He was the first and only child born to former British Army officer Alan Alexander Milne and his wife Daphne de Sélincourt.

Christopher Robin’s parents dressed him up as a girl

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Source: BETTMANN/CORBIS

The Milnes wanted a girl. They were going to name her Rosemary, and right up until the day Christopher Robin was born, they were sure they were going to get a girl. When Christopher was born a boy, they barely even tried to hide their disappointment.

“We did rather want a Rosemary,” A.A. Milne wrote to a friend just a few days after his son’s birth, ”but I expect we shall be just as happy with this gentleman.”

It didn’t stop them from raising Christopher every bit as much as a girl as they would have if they’d gotten the daughter named Rosemary they’d been dreaming of. They grew his hair long, with his mother styling it after the look she’d had when she was a little girl, and dressed him up in girlish frocks and gingham dresses.

His father ignored him

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Source: BETTMANN/CORBIS

For the early years of his life, Christopher Robin’s father rarely made an appearance. Most of Christopher’s childhood memories of his father are of him working or being in another city altogether, rather than of him playing with his boy like he described in his stories.

Instead, Christopher Robin was almost exclusively raised by the live-in nanny his parents had hired, Olive Rand. He thought of her as more of a parent than his actual parents. For the first eight years of his life, he and his nanny were never apart for more than a few hours.

Christopher Robin’s father A. A Milne and his illustrator, E. H Shepard were destined to work together

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Source: EVENING STANDARD / GETTY

The two men lived a few streets away from each other when growing up in Kilburn, both fought at the Somme, and had numerous friends in common, but they only met many years later when they both working for the magazine Punch.

Christopher Robin’s real toy bear was not the inspiration for Shepard’s drawings

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Source: BNPS

Even though Christopher Robin’s real toy bear, an Alpha Farnell bear from Harrods, was named Pooh, he was not the basis of the illustrations.

E. H Shepard’s son, Graham, had a Growler that he called “a magnificent bear”. Shepard claimed that this Growler was the true visual inspiration for the iconic drawing. Oh bother!

The animals from Winnie-The-Pooh are based on Christopher Robin’s childhood toys

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Source: Getty Images

Eeyore the donkey had a drooping neck which made him look particularly gloomy, while Piglet  looked according to Milne like he should have high, squeaky voice. Alongside them, Kanga, Roo and Tigger were also inspired by Christopher Robin’s real toys. These childhood friends have since been donated to the New York Public Library.

The name Winnie came from a real-life female black bear

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Source: Getty Images

Named after Winnipeg, Winnie the bear was was one of the most popular animals at London Zoo in the 1920’s.

Christopher Robin Milne went on to become an author too

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Source: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Like his father, Christopher Robin wrote a number of books, including The Enchanted Places, about the real setting of the Hundred Acre Wood, Cotchford Farm by Ashdown Forest. You can still visit some of the locations that inspired the stories including Poohsticks Bridge.

He married his first cousin

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Source: J. WILDS / KEYSTONE / GETTY

Christopher Robin’s parents dreamed he’d marry Anne Darlington, the little girl they’d treated like the daughter they’d always wanted when he was young. Frankly, though, they’d have been happy with Christopher marrying almost anyone other than the woman he did—because Lesley de Selincourt was his first cousin.

Lesley was the daughter of his mother’s brother, and neither of his parents were thrilled about their union. His father was deeply troubled by the idea of his son marrying a blood relative, but his mother’s fury ran even deeper. Lesley was a side of the family she hated. She and her brother hadn’t spoken in 30 years.

Christopher gave away Winnie-The-Pooh

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Source: Getty Images

After leaving his parents’ home, Christopher Robin never held the stuffed bear that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh again. He left it with his father, who, when Christopher Robin grew up and got married, gave it to his publisher, E.P. Dutton.

Forty years later, Dutton gave Christopher the chance to take his old bear back—but Christopher Robin refused. He encouraged Dutton to donate the bear to the New York Public Library, writing the bear off with the words: “I like to have around me the things I like today, not the things I once liked many years ago.”


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10 Shocking Things to Know About The Real Christopher Robin Behind Winnie-The-Pooh Story - There're Lots of Skeletons in the Closet
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10 Shocking Things to Know About The Real Christopher Robin Behind Winnie-The-Pooh Story - There're Lots of Skeletons in the Closet
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Waiting for the upcoming feature film Christopher Robin, with Ewan McGregor in the title role, Nexter.org prepared interesting facts you probably don’t know about the real Christopher Robin, his father A. A. Milne and Pooh himself. 
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