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Queen Elizabeth II makes surprise visit to London rail line named in her honor

By Ashley Williams

May 17 (UPI) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II made a surprise visit Tuesday at London's Paddington train station to mark the opening of the $25 billion Elizabeth Line, which is named in her honor.

The queen and her youngest son, Prince Edward, attended the ceremony to mark the completion of the project, formally known as Crossrail.

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The queen appeared to be highly pleased with the ceremony, which included unveiling a plaque at the station honoring her. It reads, "Officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen on Tuesday 17 May 2022 during Her Majesty's The Queen's Platinum Jubilee."

She used a walking stick during the visit and wore a sun yellow outfit and matching hat. She was also shown how to use a commemorative Oyster Card for the new Elizabeth Line, which officials hope will cut travel times across the city.

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Also attending the ceremony Tuesday were Prime Minister Boris Johnson, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and London Transport Commissioner Andy Byford.

Tuesday's was the 96-year-old queen's first visit in public in almost two months. She's cut back significantly on royal duties because of mobility issues and COVID-19 diagnoses recently. Britain is honoring the queen's Platinum Jubilee this year, which will include four days of celebration next month.

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The Elizabeth Line will open to the public on May 24. It runs from the Reading station in the west to the Shenfield station on the east and has a connection to London's Heathrow Airport.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth departs the service of Thanksgiving for the life of her husband, Prince Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London on March 29. The couple were married there in 1947. Andrew died in April 2021. Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE

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