A smiling Queen Elizabeth, whose public engagements have been limited in recent months due to mobility issues, made a surprise appearance yesterday.
he attended a ceremony marking the completion of a long-awaited train line in London named in his honour.
The Queen, wearing a bright yellow hat and coat and carrying a cane, was joined by her youngest son Edward and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as she unveiled a plaque at Paddington station.
It is the latest public outing for the 96-year-old monarch who, despite missing the opening of parliament for the first time in nearly six decades last week due to what Buckingham Palace called ‘episodic mobility issues’, has twice attended a horse show at his Windsor Castle residence in recent days. “In a happy development, the Queen is attending today’s event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth Row,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said.
The £19bn (€22bn) rail project was originally due to open in December 2018, but was repeatedly delayed by problems with safety testing and signaling systems, even before the start of the pandemic.
Originally named Crossrail, the Elizabeth line will link destinations in west London including Heathrow Airport and Reading with Shenfield to the east. It will be open to the public on Tuesday.
The Queen has only been seen in public a few times since spending a night in hospital last October with an unspecified illness, after which her doctors told her to rest.
She has since carried out almost all of her duties remotely or in person at her home in Windsor Castle and did not attend the official opening of Parliament last week.
Mr Johnson said it was ‘wonderful’ to see the Queen open the train line and she was ‘in such great shape’.
The Prime Minister said it was time to think about a new north-south Crossrail line through London, which has been suspended during the Covid pandemic.
“I think we should continue with this. People say everything has changed, people are working from home.
“I strongly disagree. Public transport is what gives people opportunities,” he said.