The Queen came face-to-face with a baby elephant called Elizabeth during her visit to Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire on Tuesday (Apr. 11). The royal and her husband Prince Philip met the adorable creature as they toured the new Centre for Elephant Care, which is home to a herd of nine Asian elephants, including Elizabeth. The animal, who was born in June, was named after the Queen in celebration of Her Majesty's 90th birthday last year.
As Patron of the Zoological Society of London, the Queen had the honour of opening the new care centre, which is set within 30 acres of land. The royals were introduced to vets and zoo keepers and shown around the arena. They watched the team carry out daily tasks such as nail filing and mouth care. Assistant curator of elephants Lee Sambrook said the Queen had been interested to hear about the round-the-clock care the animals receive, and compared it to keeping horses.
Then it was time for the Queen and Prince Philip, 95, to have a go at zookeeping. The Queen fed a banana to one elephant named Donna, and looked highly amused when the seven-year-old animal extended her trunk asking for another banana. Her Majesty backed away and shook her head, signalling that she had none left, when Prince Philip came to the rescue and offered a second banana to friendly Donna.
During their visit, the Queen also unveiled a plaque to mark the centre's official opening. She was presented with a photo of baby elephant Elizabeth, and also offered a beautiful posy of flowers from four-year-old schoolboy Arthur.
The next engagement of the day took the Queen and Prince Philip to Priory View in Dunstable, an independent living scheme for older residents. The royals were given a tour of the facilities, which included a beauty salon, and met some of the older residents, who live in the accommodation but still want to maintain their independence. Resident Pauline gave the Queen and the Duke a tour of her apartment, which is one of 83-self contained on the premises.