The 95-year-old is the nation’s longest reigning sovereign and has herself been in the principal royal role of monarch for nearly 70 years, pledging her whole life to royal service.
She welcomed General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, to Windsor Castle today for a face to face audience, as he relinquished his role.
“I suppose if you get into that job, you know, it is easier to continue, isn’t it really?” the Queen remarked, after hearing he had been in the post for the second longest in history.
The monarch, who was without her walking stick, was pictured standing as she greeted Gen Sir Nick in the castle’s Oak Room, having pulled out of attending the Cenotaph ceremony three days ago due to a sprained back.
Dressed in a green, orange and white floral dress and wearing a string of pearls, the Queen, who is head of the armed forces, smiled and shook hands with Gen Sir Nick as they began chatting.
He told the Queen he had been in the post for eight years, with the Queen remarking it was “rather sad” he was leaving, adding: “It’s a long time.”
Gen Sir Nick discussed the Duke of Edinburgh’s late uncle, saying: “It is a long time. In fact, the only person who has done longer I’m told is Lord Mountbatten … so I am quite surprised by all that.”
The Queen chuckled and replied: “Oh really? Oh?” She added: “I suppose if you get into that job, you know, it is easier to continue, isn’t it really?”
Gen Sir Nick said: “I think that’s right. Although I have to say I think the time comes when it’s ready to move on.”
After chatting together standing up, the pair went on to sit in nearby chairs to continue their conversation.
It is the first time in nearly a month that the Queen has been pictured carrying out an in-person engagement since she hosted a reception for the global investment summit at Windsor on October 19.
She held a face to face audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week but was not pictured doing so.
It was the second of two audiences the Queen held yesterday.
Buckingham Palace said the head of state earlier met virtually with commanding officers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards via video link.
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