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The Queen carries out secret visit to MI5 head office in London

Her Majesty returned from Windsor for the meeting

queen mi5
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
25 February 2020
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The Queen carried out a previously unannounced visit to MI5's head office in London on Tuesday, to thank staff for their "tireless work" to keep the country safe. The 93-year-old monarch, wearing a plum coat with a matching hat and a patterned dress, was pictured with Director General Andrew Parker as she left the headquarters.

READ: Rare sighting of dressed-down Queen leaving Windsor Castle

WATCH: The Queen gives a speech at MI5

During the visit, Sir Andrew Parker gave the Queen a tour of the agency's private museum and showed her artefacts relating to double agents who helped deceive the Nazis over the site of the Second World War D-Day landings. She was also told about the work of her King George VI, in helping to distract the enemy during the war by visiting a fake oil storage depot in Dover built by Shepperton film studios on behalf of the War Office.

Her Majesty delivered a speech to staff, saying: "I would like to take my visit here today as an opportunity to thank you all for the tireless work you do to keep our country safe.  I am always struck by the remarkable resolve with which you carry out your vital role.

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queen andrew parker© Photo: PA

The Queen and MI5's Director General Andrew Parker

"There will no doubt continue to be significant threats and challenges ahead.  But on each of my visits to MI5, I have been impressed by the way that you have adapted to the changing threats to our nation.  Whether responding to the threats from the Nazis or the Cold War, domestic terrorism or the cyber sphere, you have always demonstrated the utmost commitment to your motto: "Regnum Defende". 

"Because of the nature of your work, it is without public recognition, so it is on behalf of the country that I say to you all, thank you."

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queen mi5 visit© Photo: PA

The Queen visited the headquarters on Tuesday

MI5's motto means "Defence of the Realm." Last year it was revealed that the Queen's grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, had spent a week with each of the three branches of the UK’s Intelligence Services – MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – working full-time alongside operatives and agents to get an understanding for their crucial roles.

The Queen was pictured being driven from Windsor Castle to London on Monday. Her Majesty was dressed down in a dark overcoat, with a leaf-patterned silk scarf and was wearing a pair of pearl earrings, as she sat in the back of the car.  

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