The Queen braved the grey weather on Thursday as she took to an open-top vehicle in Hyde Park, central London. She was driven around in a Range Rover to inspect the massed ranks of the King's Troop Royal Artillery. Wearing an eye-catching pink coat and hat, the Queen appeared to be on good form and took her place on a dias after the drive, where she received the royal salute from the servicemen and women as their guns and horses thundered past.
The military unit was formed by the Queen's father King George VI in October 1947. The late King had wanted a troop of horse artillery to take part in the great ceremonies of state. The Troop are famed for firing gun salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions, and for providing a gun carriage and a team of black horses for state and military funerals. When not performing ceremonial duties, they can be deployed around the world on operations.
The Queen was driven around in a Range Rover
While the Queen was a passenger during this engagement, she is still comfortable behind the wheel and at the age of 91, she still insists on driving herself to and from locations, mainly around her private estates. Earlier this year, the monarch was pictured driving her Range Rover to the Royal Windsor Horse Show and looked perfectly at ease in the driver's seat.
As part of the "royal prerogative" – powers and rights that the sovereign alone possesses – Her Majesty is the only person in the UK who can drive without a license, even though driving licenses are issued in her name. Among her many privileges, she has never needed to take a driving test and is allowed to drive without a number plate on her state car.
Her Majesty inspected troops at Hyde Park
The royal first developed her motoring skills as a teenager in the Second World War, when she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary second subaltern. The then-Princess Elizabeth, 18, trained as a driver and a mechanic, learning how to change a wheel, rebuild engines and drive ambulances and trucks. She earned a reputation for not being afraid to get her hands dirty, and five months later, Elizabeth was promoted to honorary junior commander in the summer of 1945.