Queen smiles in first appearance since Harry and Meghan’s interview

The Queen joked with experts and schoolchildren in a virtual event to mark British Science Week (Pictures: AP/Getty Images)

The Queen appeared to be in good spirits in her first public appearance since Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah.

Her majesty joined experts and schoolchildren in a virtual event to mark British Science Week, showcasing the latest pictures from Nasa’s mission to Mars and classroom rockets made by the pupils.

It comes after Meghan revealed she had suicidal thoughts after joining the Royal Family and alleged an unnamed member raised ‘concerns and conversations’ about how dark her son Archie’s skin might be before he was born.

During the video call, an image of the Winchcombe meteorite that recently fell to earth in the Gloucestershire town of the same name was shown to the Queen, who said: ‘I’m glad it didn’t hit anyone.’

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a scientist and co-presenter on the BBC’s The Sky At Night programme, asked the monarch what Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, was like when she met him in 1961.

She made everyone laugh when she replied ‘Russian’, before quickly adding: ‘He didn’t speak English. But no no, he was fascinating. And I suppose, being the first one, it was particularly fascinating.’ 

The group went on to discuss how important technology, science and maths is to space travel and to people on Earth. 

The Queen said: ‘This past year has really driven home the importance of science and technology in all of our lives, from the search for the vaccine, the rollout to the public, to the technology that enables all of us in different locations across the UK to gather and speak. STEM is very much a part of our lives.’ 

The Queen on a video call with people for British Science Week. The Queen on a video call with others for British Science Week. In the Queen's first public appearance since Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview, she made a joke with those involved in the discussion for British Science Week.

Her Majesty has said the Royal Family will address Meghan and Harry’s claims ‘in private’ (Picture: Getty Images)
The group spoke about the importance of science and STEM subjects (Picture: Getty Images)

Gagarin went on a world tour soon after his space mission in April 1961 and was invited to lunch at Buckingham Palace by the Queen, and he also met then prime minister Harold Macmillan.

Dr Aderin-Pocock said after the video call: ‘When I mentioned Yuri Gagarin to her I couldn’t believe her answer. It was not what I expected, she made us all laugh.

‘She has a wonderful sense of humour and it makes you realise, given the fact that he died in 1968, how long she has been our monarch. She is living history, in fact.’

It comes after Prince William was the first royal to address Harry and Meghan’s claims, saying: ‘We’re very much not a racist family.’ 

Royal author and historian Sarah Gristwood has discussed the interview, saying: ‘Go back 100 years, and the Royal Family would probably have hoped that one of the justifications for their existence was that they were meant to represent the best of British life.

‘That’s got pretty hard to believe over the past decades. And this interview sure doesn’t help.’

Buckingham Palace has said the whole family was ‘saddened’ by the ‘serious allegations’ which will ‘be addressed by the family privately’ – although added that ‘recollections may vary’.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk. 

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Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview: Key moments

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have spoken to Oprah Winfrey in a bombshell interview about their decision to step back as senior working members of the Royal Family.

Here are the key points from the interview, which UK viewers can watch at 9pm on ITV on Monday, March 8.