Christopher Robin in real life: Who was Christopher Robin Milne?

1 August 2018, 12:42 | Updated: 1 August 2018, 13:52

By Tom Eames

Disney will release the latest chapter of the Winnie the Pooh legend this month, and it looks rather lovely.

Ewan McGregor stars as the title character in Christopher Robin, in which an adult Christopher reconnects with his cuddly childhood pals including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Piglet, during a difficult time in his life.

But was Christopher Robin based on a real person?

  1. Who wrote Winnie the Pooh?

    Winnie the Pooh
    Picture: Getty

    Winnie-the-Pooh, also known as Pooh Bear, was created by English author AA Milne.

    He first appeared in the book Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926, followed by many more over the years.

    Disney first purchased the rights to Pooh in the 1960s, and have since released various movies, TV shows and books based on the character.

  2. Who was Christopher Robin in the books?

    Winnie the Pooh
    Picture: Disney

    Christopher Robin appears in Milne's poems and in the two books: Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928).

    In the books, he is a young boy and one of Winnie's best friends. His other friends are Eeyore, Kanga, and Roo, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, and Tigger.

    In the second book, the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood throw Christopher a farewell party after realising that he must leave them soon.

  3. Was Christopher Robin based on a real person?

    Christopher Milne in 1925
    Christopher Milne in 1925. Picture: Getty

    Christopher Robin was based upon author AA Milne's own son, Christopher Robin Milne, who in later life grew unhappy with the use of his name.

    Christopher Milne wrote in one of a series of autobiographical books: "It seemed to me almost that my father had got where he was by climbing on my infant shoulders, that he had filched from me my good name and left me nothing but empty fame".

    Born in 1920, for his first birthday he received an Alpha Farnell teddy bear he called Edward. This bear, along with a real Canadian bear named 'Winnipeg' that Milne saw at London Zoo, eventually became the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.

  4. What happened to the real Christopher Robin?

    Christopher Milne and Lesley de Selincourt in 1948
    Christopher Milne and Lesley de Selincourt in 1948. Picture: Getty

    In 1941, during World War II, Christopher joined the army, but initially failed the medical exam. His father used his influence to help get Christopher a position as a sapper in the Royal Engineers. After the war, he returned to Cambridge and got a degree in English literature.

    In 1948, he became engaged to Lesley de Sélincourt, a cousin on his mother's side, and they married in July that year.

    He occasionally saw his father after the elder Milne grew ill, but once his father died, he did not see his mother during the last 15 years of her life; and she even refused to see him on her deathbed.

    Several months after his father's death in 1956, Christopher's daughter Clare was born and diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy. She later ran a charity for the disabled called the Clare Milne Trust.

    Milne died in his sleep on April 20 1996 in Totnes, Devon, aged 75.

  5. Who has played Christopher Milne on screen?

    He is portrayed by Will Tilston and Alex Lawther in the 2017 film Goodbye Christopher Robin, which was "inspired by" his relationship with his father.

    A fictional Milne is also portrayed by Orton O'Brien and Ewan McGregor in Christopher Robin, the 2018 Disney film.

    As Christopher Robin, the character has been voiced by many actors over the years, including Tom Attenborough, the grandson of the late Lord Richard Attenborough.