Queen Elizabeth made a show-stopping appearance live on the BBC news yesterday as she officially opened the corporation's new headquarters, pressing ahead with engagements as her husband, Prince Philip, awaited exploratory surgery.
At one point, the 87-year-old monarch appeared directly behind television newsreaders who were live on screen as she toured the new wing of Broadcasting House in central London.
The sovereign, whose husband was in hospital for an abdominal operation a few streets away, walked through the packed newsroom directly behind live presenters Julian Worricker and Sophie Long.
They turned to see the head of state watching them and quickly acknowledged her as the guided tour came to a halt, with staff breaking into applause.
"That is one of the most bizarre bits of television that the BBC has produced for some time, as the queen makes her way past the BBC news channel studio," said Simon McCoy, who was presenting coverage of her visit.
Moments before, the sovereign had officially opened the hi-tech new wing to the 1932 art deco building, which brings all the British Broadcasting Corporation's news operations under one roof.
Buckingham Palace said the operation on 91-year-old Prince Philip was planned and came after "abdominal investigations" that were carried out over the past week. "He is in good spirits," a spokeswoman said.
She declined to elaborate on Philip's condition or when the decision was made to operate, saying only that he was expected to be in the London Clinic for up to two weeks and that further updates would be issued "when appropriate".
Agence France-Presse, Associated Press