As the house lights went down in a West End theatre in London this week, a man and a woman arrived late and begged the pardon of those on their way to their seats in the centre of the circle.
In the darkness, one or two members of the audience noticed that the woman in a simple dark green dress, accompanied by her husband, was The Queen who apparently alone with the Duke of Edinburgh had slipped into the theatre, unaccompanied by bodyguards and aides.
“It was amazing they just sat among the audience and enjoyed the show,” a journalist from The Lady magazine told the London Evening Standard.”
“They were incredibly apologetic for asking people to let them past and there was no hubbub or fuss about it at all.”
The journalist said that she had arrived in good time for the production on Monday night, but noticed as she was waiting for the start that four prominent seats remained empty in the middle of the auditorium.
Just as the house lights came down the late party arrived, but went unnoticed by most of the audience until the interval.
“When the interval came the Queen shuffled discreetly out,” she said. “At this point with the lights up people began to notice that she was there and there was a round of applause which she acknowledged with a wave.”
Buckingham Palace sources claim that the Queen regularly takes similar outings, but usually goes unnoticed. Hello magazine says The Queen’s last reported visit was to see the musical Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 2006.
War Horse is being shown nearby at the New London Theatre. The play, a First World War drama, was adapted from a book by Michael Morpurgo.