Prince Charles, Camilla take Tube to mark anniversary
Posted January 30, 2013
Of course the London Underground is 150 years old - you can tell just walking into it. So it was only fitting the British system known locally as "the Tube" would enlist some royals to help celebrate the anniversary of the world's most antique subway system.
Still, it must have been a surprise to commuters on the Metropolitan line today when who should board but Prince Charles the Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall. The couple got on at the Farringdon station and traveled to King's Cross, a three-minute journey along the oldest section of the system, which opened Jan. 9, 1863 and ran between Paddington and Farringdon.
Yet it wasn't the usual nasty commute for Britain's next king, according to British media reports. The train they rode was special, one of the air-conditioned trains being introduced in about 40% of the system. The couple swiped their own commemorative fare cards, issued for them with a $16 credit for the trip, which costs about $3. Other strap-hangers got on with the royals but were kept from getting too close, so they not only had a seat, they had a mostly empty car. No wonder they were grinning.
At first the palace press operation, usually so efficient, said this was the first time Charles had been on the Tube in 33 years. Oops. A few hours later, a correction: Actually he was last in the subway in 1986, when he and his first wife, the late Princess Diana, took the Tube to Heathrow Airport to open Terminal 4. Second wife Camilla is believed to have taken the subway at least occasionally before she married Charles in 2005.
In any case, she seemed to be familiar with the usual less-than-immaculate look of Tube trains. "Very nice, very smart," she commented to an Underground official about their ride.
Latest in Entertainment