The Queen has made a surprise visit to the opening ceremony of the Elizabeth line at Paddington Station. She was joined by her youngest son, Prince Edward.
The longest reigning head of state was unable to attend last week’s Queen’s Speech due to mobility problems.
“In a happy development, Her Majesty The Queen is attending today’s event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth line,” said a Buckingham Palace spokesperson.
“Her Majesty was aware of the engagement and the organisers were informed of the possibility she may attend.”
The Queen and Prince Edward were welcomed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Andy Byford.
They then met Crossrail staff and those who will run the railway, including train drivers, station staff and apprentices. The Queen was also given an Oyster card and shown how to use it on a ticket machine.
The Queen Unveiled a plaque stating that the Elizabeth line has been “officially opened” and spent 10 minutes in the station before departing, escorted by Prince Edward.
Andy Byford, TfL’ss Commissioner, said: “Her Majesty The Queen has a long association with London’s transport network, and I am delighted that Her Majesty was able to visit our magnificent Paddington Elizabeth line station today. In a landmark year for Her Majesty, during the Platinum Jubilee, everyone at TfL is committed to ensuring this new railway will serve as a fitting tribute and will – by creating faster journeys, new jobs, and economic growth – become a vital part of London’s recovery.
“What could be better for encouraging back on to public transport, and what better symbol could there be of London’s renaissance from the pandemic.”
The project, which has been delayed by construction difficulties and signalling complications, will open to the public on 24 May.
Image credit: TfL