Queen Elizabeth Carries Out Secret Visit to MI5 Headquarters

Phil Boucher

The name’s Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth.

The British monarch, 93, made a surprise visit to the central London headquarters of secret intelligence agency MI5 on Tuesday.

Dressed in an elegant plum coat and matching wide-brimmed hat, the Queen received a personal tour of the spy center by MI5 director Sir Andrew Parker, and later thanked the agency — which deals with internal security as opposed the foreign threats handled by MI6 — for “the tireless work you do to keep our country safe.”

“I would like to take my visit here today as an opportunity to thank you all,” added the Queen. “I am always struck by the remarkable resolve with which you carry out your vital role.”

While cameras and reporters were not allowed inside the building — which is just a short walk from Parliament — it is known that the Queen viewed a number of exhibits in the agency’s private museum.

This included an Iron Cross awarded to Spanish secret agent “Garbo” by Adolf Hitler, who unwittingly honored the British spy and his equally secretive colleague “Tate” despite the fact that they were integral to a number of major deception operations against the Nazis, including those ahead of the crucial D-Day landings.

Queen Elizabeth | Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images

“There will no doubt continue to be significant threats and challenges ahead,” added the Queen in her speech, which was revealed by Buckingham Palace after the event. “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 cybersphere, you have always demonstrated the utmost commitment to your motto: “Regnum Defende” (Defence of the Realm).

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Queen Elizabeth | Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images

She added, “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.”

The Queen’s outing comes on the heels of grandson Prince Harry‘s announcement that he will no longer use the phrase “Sussex Royal” after his and Meghan Markle‘s official exit from front-line royal duties on March 31.

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In a lengthy statement released by a spokesperson on Friday, the Duke and Duchess added that while they “are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word ‘Royal,’ it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organisation, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation.”

True to their word, the Intellectual Property Office in London on Tuesday updated the trademark applications made in the name of their foundation to the status of “withdrawn.”