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Remembering Queen Elizabeth's secret West End trips

The Queen was a major theatre fan

Elizabeth II
© Joel Rouse/ Ministry of Defence, OGL 3 <http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3>, via Wikimedia Commons

Given she was revered throughout the world, it was all the more intriguing when the Queen decided to go incognito.

One such occasion was when, during the West End run of the seminal hit War Horse, the Queen and her husband, the late Prince Philip, were sneaked into the New London Theatre (now the Gillian Lynne Theatre) to watch the award-winning play.

According to onlookers in October 2009, the royal pair were seated just after the lights dimmed. Eventually, of course, audiences twigged who they were sharing the room with, and gave the monarch a standing ovation at the end of the show. We even wrote a story on the event 13 years ago if you want to find out more.

As she was a passionate equestrian, it feels like a fitting show for her to watch. The monarch also got to meet Joey during a special backstage tour in 2013.

Apparently this isn't a one-off, and the Queen made a habit of quietly watching stage shows. Additional private outings included to Crazy for You at the Prince Edward in 1993 (eyewitnesses say she was grinning from ear to ear), Billy Elliot in 2006, the hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors in 2012 and My Fair Lady in the West End when it was staged at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

The Queen would also have watched the major 15-minute musical mash-up created by Andrew Lloyd Webber alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda earlier this year.