UK Queen makes first public appearance after illness
London: Queen Elizabeth II made her first major public appearance today, weeks after ill health had forced her to cancel all engagements, as she joined her pregnant granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton to celebrate 150 years of London's Tube.
A smiling Queen stepped out of her royal car accompanied by husband Prince Philip to attend an event to mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground network. Just behind her, in a separate car, was her granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton who was handed an iconic 'Baby on Board' badge by the network chiefs.
"I will wear it at home", said the pregnant wife of Prince William, who is expecting her baby in July this year.
Queen Elizabeth II, who turns 87 next month, is the longest serving monarch in British history.
She had to cancel a number of events last week as she was still recovering from symptoms of gastroenteritis, which saw her admitted to hospital here on March 3, the first time in 10 years.
Buckingham Palace said she had been continuing her "usual rhythm of business" away from the public eye and recovering well.
"The fact that she is attending today's event speaks for itself," a palace spokesperson said. The 86-year-old looked well and relaxed during her visit to Baker Street, where the royal party was greeted by three senior transport figures, Sir Peter Hendy, commissioner of Transport for London, London Underground's managing director Mike Brown and chief operating officer Howard Collins, as surprised passers-by looked on.
They then moved downstairs to the station platform where they were introduced to maintenance and train staff and were invited to view a restored 1892 underground coach, and meet staff and apprentices involved in the restoration project.
Staff then escorted the trio through a brand new S7 train before the Queen unveiled a plaque, naming the train "Queen Elizabeth II".
Baker Street, home to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, was part of the first stretch of the world-famous Tube network which ran between Paddington and Farringdon and opened on January 9, 1863, when it was known as the Metropolitan Railway.
The Queen last visited a Tube station in February 2010, when she travelled to Aldgate station in east London to meet staff and view a memorial plaque dedicated to the seven people killed at Aldgate during the July 7, 2005 serial bombings.