This morning Kate surprised many royal watchers by accompanying the Queen and Prince Philip to Bakers Street Station to mark the 150th anniversary of the London underground. This wasn’t the only royal visit in celebration. In January, Prince Charles accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall marked the anniversary by taking his first tube ride in 33 years.
This was the Queen’s first major public engagement since March 1st, after suffering from gastroenteritis. It was also noted that this is the third engagement that the Kate has accompanied the Queen on. Prince Philip, who accompanied both women, probably wasn’t surprised to take third place on this visit.
The Queen has taken ‘the Tube’ as it is referred to in the UK (in Canada it is called the Subway) on a few occasions. Accompanied by her sister, Princess Margaret and governess, Marion Crawford, she took a ride in May 1939, four months after it opened. it must have been a novelty for the young princesses at the time. She has made a handful of visits since then. In 1969 she opened the Victoria Line and in 1977 she unveiled the Piccadilly link to Heathrow airport.
During the Queen’s last visit in 2010, she went to Aldgate Underground station to unveil a plaque commemorating the July 7th bombings and she was presented with a London underground sign for Buckingham Palace. On this visit, the royal party viewed a restored 1892 underground coach, and Catherine and Prince Philip watched the Queen unveil a plaque naming the train ‘Queen Elizabeth II’. Nice to know that if someone refuses to give up a seat for her and asks ‘does this train have your name on it?’ she can reply, ‘why yes, it does!’
However, the tube is no novelty for Kate. Nostalgically revealing, ‘I used to use the Tube on a regular basis. I miss travelling on the Tube.’ During the visit Catherine was presented with an underground badge ‘Baby on Board’. The button’s purpose ‘saves men the embarrassment of having to guess if a woman is pregnant.’
It was nice to see Kate ramping up her engagements and growing more comfortable in her royal role. Upon receiving the Baby on Board button jokingly replied, “I’ll make sure I wear it at home.”
Image via British Monarchy Flickr