The Queen made a surprise appearance today at the unveiling of the long-awaited Elizabeth Line. The new tube line that has been named in her Majesty’s honour stretches from Reading through Central London and on towards Abbey Wood near Greenwich.
In the rare public engagement the 96-year-old monarch unveiled a plaque at Paddington Station and was resplendent in a buttercup yellow Stewart Parvin double-wool crepe coat. The Queen, who has always been partial to a spot of colour-blocking, paired the long-line coat with a matching canary yellow hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan decorated in turquoise fabric flowers that matched the yellow and turquoise silk dress she wore below her coat.
Having taken almost twelve years to complete, today’s opening was a moment for celebration. It seemed fitting, then, that the Queen should complete her look with a diamond brooch, a celebratory string of pearls and pearl drop earrings.
This was the Queen’s first public engagement outside of Windsor since Prince Phillip’s memorial service seven weeks ago. The station workers and assembled delegates were surprised to see the Queen, who missed the state opening of parliament last week due to mobility issues.
She was accompanied by her youngest son Edward, the Earl of Wessex, who stood alongside his mother as she was welcomed by Boris Johnson, the London mayor Sadiq Khan and the commissioner of the Transport for London, Andy Byford at Paddington Station.
The overjoyed staff led the Queen to a ticket machine where she was presented with her own Oyster card, which she topped up with a five pound note, featuring her famous side profile. Using a rather chic mahogany cane she was led around the station, before finally ending at the plaque that read that she had “officially opened the “Elizabeth Line”.
The Prime Minister made a speech, telling guests and station staff: “We’re all incredibly touched and moved and grateful to her Majesty for coming to open the Elizabeth line today. It was fantastic to see her.”
Earlier in the day Johnson was forced to pose for a rather awkward photo opportunity, sat side by side on a new Elizabeth Line train carriage with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, whom Shapps had referred to the Electoral commission earlier this month after Khan revealed the start date of the new Crossrail commuter line on the eve of local elections. The threesome appeared to grin through any tension as they sat through five minute journey on the new tube line.
The Queen’s sunny palette could perhaps offer clues as to what she will wear to her Platinum Jubilee party on the 3rd of June at Buckingham Palace, which is set to feature a plethora of the UK’s most beloved entertainers and musicians.
The Elizabeth Line will open to passengers on May 24.