Queen Elizabeth snuck some family time into her latest outing.
The 92-year-old monarch took her second son, Prince Andrew, with her to work on Thursday as she brightened up London on her last outing before her Christmas break. With her husband Prince Philip, 97, retired from public duties, Andrew and her three other children sometimes accompany the Queen on public engagements.
Magnificent in magenta, the Queen visited lawyers and students and opened a new $25 million teaching facility.
And there were some family memories for the Queen at the historic Lincoln Inn, which is home to a number of senior lawyer’s offices. As she walked through the Inn, which holds the earliest records of any of the four Inns of Court dating from 1422, observers said the monarch looked bemused by a portrait of her late sister, Princess Margaret, painted by Bryan Organ in 1970. She also viewed a painting of Queen Victoria opening the Great Hall (or New Hall, as it was then known) in 1845.
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The Queen was there to open the new Ashworth Centre, built underneath the historic institution.
“It’s amazing,” she told the Treasurer, the Right Honourable Lord Justice Patten, who was guiding her around.
In the Great Hall, the Queen and her 58-year-old son met members of the Inn and its staff before she unveiled her second plaque of the day, smiling as she noted that her great-great grandmother’s name was printed alongside hers on it.
She also signed “The Golden Book,” whose first royal signatures were King Charles II and the future King James II when they visited in 1672, as well as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The Queen was lucky to be wrapped up in the magenta coat by Stewart Parvin and matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan on the chilly winter’s day.
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A little girl was there to help warm the spirits, after waiting an hour to hand the Queen a bouquet of flowers. Evie Hayden, 4, from Kent, was picked from the crowd to meet the monarch.
Evie, who was accompanied by her mother, Michelle, 34, had missed nursery school to travel up to London.
“I was so cold,” she told reporters afterwards.
“We almost didn’t make it as there were missed trains and a bit of a fall – there’s mud on her tights – but what an incredible experience,” her mother said.
Each year, members of the royal family join Queen Elizabeth at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, for Christmas. Guests usually arrive in the early afternoon on Christmas Eve. (The family opens their presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day.) After their church outing on the big day, the royal family heads back to Sandringham House for a lunch of Norfolk turkey and other festivities.