With a continuously busy schedule of official engagements the Queen is likely to have limited time for relaxation. She seemed perfectly at ease this weekend, however, as she shared a joke with officers during a visit to the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards in Edinburgh.
Seated next to Brigadier Mel Jamieson (centre), the British monarch joined in the merriment as she posed with troops for an official photograph.
During her visit to the Redford Barracks in the Scottish capital, the Queen also met over 300 soldiers from both Iraq and Afghanistan, and honoured each of them with an operational medal.
“It was amazing to be asked to receive the medal from the Queen. It was such a tremendous honour and I am really chuffed," said 21-year-old trooper Grant Hutchinson – one of the regiment's two youngest recruits. "It is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” his fellow soldier William Dalgliesh added.
Also on her visit, the Monarch received a guard of honour and inspected tanks stationed in the barracks before overseeing simulated displays of field operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the 83-year-old royal's Edinburgh trip meant she missed the nation's first Armed Forces Day celebrations in Kent - where thousands turned out to honour serving and fallen heroes - she and Prince Charles released messages highlighting the country's "deep and enduring gratitude" to its military personnel.
Photo: ę PA