The real Christopher Robin dies, aged 75

James Cusick
Sunday 21 April 1996 23:02 BST
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Christopher Robin Milne, the son whom writer AA Milne first introduced to the world in his books as angelically kneeling at the foot of his bed saying his prayers, has died aged 75.

In one of the most enduringly adored series in children's literature, AA Milne used his son Christopher's love for a small toy teddy bear to create the world of Pooh. Winnie the Pooh arrived in the bookshops in 1926, Now We are Six a year later, and The House at Pooh Corner in 1928.

But while Alan Alexander Milne enjoyed international fame from his work, his young son Christopher is thought to have hated his reputation as the inspiration for the fictitious character. Far from being the idyllic childhood of the books, the nursery life of the real Christopher Robin was stamped with authority and formality. The young child apparently grew to hate his father's creations. In early childhood he was supposed to said about his father: "One day I'll write verses about him and see how he likes it."

Christopher Robin Milne was born in 1920 in London. As the Pooh stories grew in stature, even brought to life by the Disney studio animators, so too has the academic analysis of AA Milne's work. Photographs of the Milne family in the 1920s show how closely the illustrations of the fictitious Christopher Robin resembled Milne's own son. But like many children's authors who invent an idealistic world, the reality was far from the truth.

Christopher Robin - unlike his fictional counterpart who will always remain in the woods with his friends Pooh, Owl and Roo - was sent to boarding school. He eventually won a scholarship to Cambridge University, dropped out, joined the army, fought in the Second World War, went back for his degree and eventually open a bookshop in Dartmouth in 1951. There he sold autographed copies of the Pooh stories, donating the money to Save the Children.

In 1974 he described in his book The Enchanted Place how his father had needed him "When I was three, my father was three. When I was six, he was six. He needed me to escape from being 50."

Mr Milne is survived by his wife Lesley and their daughter.

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