Queen Elizabeth II altered her schedule so she could congratulate balloonists Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard on their historic round-the-world flight. Her Majesty and Prince Philip chatted with Jones, a 53-year-old Briton, and his Swiss copilot Thursday at the Bristol, England, balloon factory that made the record-breaking Breitling Orbiter 3. Piccard, 41, said the Queen was “very interested in how the balloon was fueled and how we managed in the living conditions.” “She gave me the impression she had been monitoring our progress,” said Piccard, a psychiatrist from Lausanne. The men became the first balloonists to circle the globe nonstop when they landed in Egypt on March 21 after a 20-day flight.

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