The Queen has marked the completion of London’s Crossrail project by attending the opening ceremony of the Elizabeth line.

Accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, she was welcomed by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, and the commissioner of Transport for London, Andy Byford, at Paddington station.

She met staff who have been key to the project and who will run the railway, including train drivers, station staff and apprentices.

Using a walking stick, she smiled warmly as she met Crossrail and Elizabeth line workers.

She was given an Oyster card and shown how to use it on a ticket machine. She walked slowly as she made her way around the station concourse

The Queen unveiled a plaque stating that she “officially opened” the Elizabeth line and spent 10 minutes in the station before leaving in a lift.

Johnson told guests: “We’re all incredibly touched and moved and grateful to her Majesty for coming to open the Elizabeth line today. It was fantastic to see her.”

Announcing the Queen’s intention to be at the ceremony, Buckingham Palace said: “In a happy development, Her Majesty the Queen is attending today’s event to mark the completion of the Elizabeth line.

Her Majesty was aware of the engagement and the organisers were informed of the possibility she may attend.

The Elizabeth line, named in the Queen’s honour, will open to passengers on 24 May. It was hoped the head of state would be involved in the opening ceremony 

but her attendance was not guaranteed as she has missed a number of big events this year owing to mobility problems.

She made a trip to the Royal Windsor horse show on Friday, and on Sunday was the guest of honour at the equestrian extravaganza A Gallop Through History near Windsor, the first big event of the jubilee festivities.

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