Queen Elizabeth II made three public appearances recently after weeks of remaining home due to mobility issues stemming from a hospitalization last fall.
The events included the opening and closing ceremonies of a horse show on the grounds of Windsor Castle and an unexpected appearance Tuesday at the launch of a new line of trains at Paddington Station, called the Elizabeth Line, which is expected to open to the public on May 24. The queen was seen with a cane or walking stick in all of her appearances.
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The 96-year-old monarch made her first appearance Friday at the horse show, called "A Gallop Through History," which featured over 500 horses and 1,000 performers. The program traced British history through both Queen Elizabeth I and Elizabeth II. The current monarch, a life-long horse lover, has attended the royal show every year since its inception in 1943.
Elizabeth also attended the finale of the show Sunday and was given a standing ovation by the star-studded audience that included actors Tom Cruise and Helen Mirren.
"She's just a woman that I greatly admire," Cruise told Reuters. "I think she's someone who has tremendous dignity, and I admire her devotion. What she's accomplished has been historic."
Cruise's sentiments echoed world leaders and members of the Parliament because the queen remained a source of strength during the COVID-19 pandemic despite losing her husband of 73 years, Prince Phillip.
The horse show fell during the yearlong platinum celebration of the queen's 70-year reign, which will culminate next month in a four-day celebration that includes musical performances and a street fair. Merchandise celebrating the jubilee has been made in the queen's honor, including a Barbie doll, tea sets, clothing items, and tote bags.
However, Tuesday's appearance was not expected. Buckingham Palace said the station had been aware of the possibility that the queen would attend.
"In a happy development, Her Majesty The Queen is attending today's event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth line," the palace told the BBC. "Her Majesty was aware of the engagement and the organizers were informed of the possibility she may attend."
Her appearance at the train station was the first time the queen had attended an event outside the Windsor area since Philip's memorial service seven weeks ago in Westminster Abbey. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and London's Mayor Sadiq Khan were also at Tuesday's event.
"We're all incredibly touched and moved and grateful to Her Majesty for coming to open the Elizabeth line today," Johnson said. "It was fantastic to see her."
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Elizabeth's youngest son Prince Edward accompanied the queen to the event and had been scheduled to perform the royal duties in her place. Members of the royal family have stepped up since Elizabeth's hospitalization by taking on some of the ceremonial expectations and duties of the queen. Last week, Elizabeth's oldest son, Prince Charles, read the royal remarks at the state opening of Parliament, one of England's most important events.
The queen has still attended meetings virtually after being ordered to rest by palace doctors.