Queen Elizabeth Makes Surprise Visit to London Underground — and Buys First Ticket for Railway Named for Her

·3-min read
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project

PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth surprised commuters on Tuesday when she made a surprise appearance at a London Underground station.

The monarch, 96, helped open a new railway named in her honor. Looking radiant in an all-yellow ensemble, she bought the first ticket for the Elizabeth Line.

The Queen was joined by her youngest son, Prince Edward, who had been expected to carry out the royal duty on her behalf on Tuesday. But the Queen decided to make an appearance, marking her third public visit in five days. On Friday, she attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show, relishing the sight of her pony winning a prize, and on Sunday, she was on hand for a star-studded televised event celebrating her Platinum Jubilee.

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The palace said that the Queen had been "aware" of Tuesday morning's engagement to open the line and the organizers had been warned that she might attend if she felt able to do so (they even reportedly had two different plaques to be unveiled, which they switched from listing Edward to the Queen in the last moment.)

Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London during a visit to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London during a visit to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project

Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth at Paddington Station London

Clearly in a buoyant mood after her recent outings, the Queen felt well enough to join Edward. Buckingham Palace called the outing a "happy" moment.

"In a happy development Her Majesty The Queen is attending today's event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth Line," a spokesman said.

Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project

PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo Queen Elizabeth

Palace officials have stressed that the Queen has been experiencing "episodic mobility problems," and her appearance at any event going forward will only be confirmed hours before the start time.

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The prestigious Crossrail project, which was renamed in the Queen's honor, is set to open to the public on May 24th — in time for the main Jubilee celebrations that begin on June 2. The Queen and Edward met some of the staff who will be running the railway.

Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project

PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo Queen Elizabeth buys the first ticket for the Elizabeth Line

She was even shown how to purchase a ticket by customer service assistant Kofi Duah, who told her: "If I just give you this ticket here, you just put it by the yellow reader right there."

"On there?" the Queen replied, to which Duah said: "Perfect, and if you see on the screen here, it says you've got £5, and if you want to top up here's £5 and £10."

"And where might I go?" the monarch asked.

"You can go all the way from here to Abbey Wood," Duah replied.

"Oh nice, splendid," the Queen said.

Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project

Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images Queen Elizabeth and Prince Edward

While she may have purchased the first ticket, the Queen didn't take a ride on the new train — she left that to Edward to travel from Paddington station in London's west to Tottenham Court Road in the heart of the city.

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Her surprise appearance bodes well for the upcoming Platinum Jubilee weekend, which runs from June 2 to June 5 and will celebrate her astonishing 70 years on the throne. It is hoped she will be able to attend some of the official events, from Trooping the Colour (the annual public festivities for the Queen's birthday) on June 2 and the Thanksgiving Service at St. Paul's Cathedral on Friday, June 3.

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