I would say that the most British thing I could possibly think of involves the queen drinking tea and eating Marmite finger sandwiches on the London Underground on the way to Baker Street while quoting Monty Python, and fully 50 percent of that happened today — the queen toured the Tube at the Baker Street station as a celebration of the subway system’s 150 years of operation. I guess ideally Benedict Cumberbatch would also have been involved, but you can’t have everything.

Chances are Grist readers don’t care that much about the royal family, being disaffected ex-colonists (statistically) and pinko commie anarchists (that’s just a guess), but you gotta admit the queen is a dear old lady and it’s fun to look at her being lightly puzzled by modern transit technology.


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Obviously the queen does not take a lot of public transit, but this wasn’t her first time. Here she is riding the tube in 1969:


And here she’s opening the Piccadilly line extension in 1977:


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Of course, basically every other day for the last 150 years she’s been ferried around in a magical gryphon-drawn carriage made out of a pumpkin, but those three times, she was out slogging through the public transit system with the rest of you plebeians! Except that of course the rest of you plebeians had been cleared out for the occasion.

Anyway, to me the most interesting part of all of this is that they gave Kate Middleton a “Baby On Board” badge. When I first heard that, I was like “ugh, way to reduce the woman to her pregnancy, if you want give her a dumb shitty gift how about button that says ‘I Celebrated 150 Years of the London Tube and All I Got Was Reduced to My Role as a Royal Incubator’?” But it turns out these are real things, which a pregnant woman can wear so that people know they can give up their seat to her without inadvertently calling her fat.

Obviously Kate Middleton will never need it, because of the auxiliary pumpkin carriage (Gryphon Force 2), but it seems pretty useful for mere mortals! I was going to make myself a “Just Got a Fat Tum, Perfectly Capable of Standing” badge but this is a more elegant solution.

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