The Queen, in a pale blue outfit and matching hat (with feather detail!) by Angela Kelly, visited the famous ZSL London Zoo for the opening of the exhibit, Land of the Lions, which will provide a new breeding center for a group Asiatic lions.
And while it s rare for the Queen to ever be distracted during a speech, even Her Majesty couldn t help but look over her shoulder as two twin lions – Indi and Heidi – growled and quarreled over a choice piece of meat during her opening address.
There are currently four Asiatic lions at the London Zoo: 4-year-old twin sisters, Heidi and Indi, Rubi, 6, and Bhamu, 5 – the only male.
The exhibit is part of a global breeding effort to help secure the future of Asiatic lions as there are only 500 left in the wild.
During her visit, the Queen took a trip down memory lane when she was shows a picture of herself at the zoo 40 years ago. Also in the picture were philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield, 69, (whose family funded the lion house at the time) and her then 4-year-old daughter Arabella.
When the Queen was told they were among those gathered at the zoo, she motioned to the crowd to look at them. “She smiled and said, We have changed a lot, and I said, Yes, ” Dame Vivien tells PEOPLE.
And while Arabella doesn’t recall the day she met the Queen, she knows the picture well. “It was my big moment. I peaked at the age of four!” Arabella says. “The Queen looks incredible and has definitely aged better than me!”
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And Prince Philip, beside his wife in the spring sunshine, asked where they were going to hang the plaque the Queen had unveiled.
“He looks fantastic. We are lucky to have them, Dame Vivien adds.
It is an important week for the Queen, who marked Commonwealth Day with a service at Westminster Abbey surrounded by many of her family, including grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry and Princess Kate.