Queen Knights Captain Tom, in a Rare Public Appearance

Queen Knights Captain Tom, in a Rare Public Appearance

Queen Knights Captain Tom, in a Rare Public Appearance

Queen Knights Captain Tom, in a Rare Public Appearance

Bearing a sword that had belonged to her father, George VI, the queen approached Mr. Moore, who stood, rather than kneeled, with his walker. Neither wore a face mask, though as Mr. Arbiter noted, “the sword is quite long,” so the two were able to keep some distance. The queen drew closer to present Mr. Moore with the insignia of knight bachelor, and they chatted for a few minutes.

Credit…Pool photo by Chris Jackson

The queen’s inability to mingle with her subjects has forced Buckingham Palace to turn to social media. The palace maintains accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and has posted pictures and videos of her activities, including a photo of her with her husband, Prince Philip, on his 99th birthday.

Like other people of her age, a person with knowledge of the palace said, she has adjusted fitfully to technological innovations like Zoom calls. The queen has spoken on video with her grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, who now live in Los Angeles, about the birthday of their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

Her first foray into virtual public engagements was in June, when she and her daughter, Princess Anne, spoke to a group of health workers — the queen occupying the center square on the familiar checkerboard of people staring into their screens.

Royal watchers say the queen’s use of video calls has offered a glimpse into her personal interactions that is not often seen in images of her chatting in receiving lines. During a recent call with three members of the British military serving overseas, she served up a mix of stilted questions and wry asides.

When Lance Cpl. Shanwayne Stephens of the Royal Air Force told the queen that he moonlighted as the pilot of the Jamaican bobsled team, she replied, “Gosh, sounds a very dangerous job,” and quizzed him about how he trained. Corporal Stephens told her he pushed cars up and down the road near his home in Peterborough, England.

“Well I suppose that’s one way to train,” she said, as her eyes widened.

The queen has kept up other official duties. She still digests official government papers that are delivered to her in red boxes. A few days before July 4, she spoke by phone with President Trump, who wished her a “happy birthday, marking 94 extraordinary years,” according to the White House.


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