Queen Elizabeth II made an unexpected appearance at Paddington station in central London.
LONDON — The Queen paid a surprise visit to a train station in central London on Tuesday to observe a freshly built subway line named after her.
The 96-year-old monarch, who has cut back on public appearances, was seen Tuesday at Paddington Station, where she unveiled a plaque commemorating the formal opening of the Elizabeth Line. On May 24, the public will be able to ride the new east-west railway route.
“The organisers were advised of the possibility she may attend,” Buckingham Palace stated, calling the event “a pleasant development.”
The queen, dressed in a sunny yellow suit with a matching cap, walked gently while touring the station with a cane in hand, smiling as she spoke with train personnel.
The queen was also shown how to use an Oyster card on a ticket machine. For the official visit, she was accompanied by her youngest son, Prince Edward, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“We’re all deeply moved and grateful to Her Majesty for coming to launch the Elizabeth Line today,” said the group “Johnson explained. “It was wonderful to see her again.”
The queen’s visit on Tuesday is her first outside of Windsor since she attended a memorial ceremony for her late husband Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey in central London seven weeks ago.
On Friday, the monarch made her first public appearance in weeks, attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show to see her favourite equines compete. She appeared relaxed as the honoured guest of an equestrian exhibition near Windsor on Sunday, which was attended by celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Helen Mirren.
Her public appearances are being keenly scrutinised as the United Kingdom prepares to commemorate the monarch’s 70 years on the throne with four days of Platinum Jubilee celebrations from June 2 to 5.
She asked Prince Charles, her heir to the throne, to preside over the official opening of Parliament and deliver the Queen’s Speech, which lays out the government’s legislative agenda, last week.
According to palace authorities, she has been having “episodic mobility challenges” in recent months and is having difficulty moving around.