All forms of human life can be spotted traveling on London’s underground ‘Tube’ network, but there was a rare appearance Wednesday by Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.
The heir to the throne made a journey on the system’s Metropolitan line to mark the 150th birthday of the Tube.
Unlike most commuters on the creaking system, the Royal couple were able to find a seat for their one-stop journey, because the train was empty, according to BBC reporter Peter Hunt.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as the pair are formally known, traveled one stop westbound from Farringdon to Kings Cross.
It is the first time Charles has used the Tube in 33 years, according to the Daily Telegraph. The last time was in April 1979 when he opened the first stage of the then-new Jubilee line.
The royals were presented with special commemorative Oyster swipe cards by staff to use to open turnstiles at each end of their journey.
The cards were each loaded electronically to the value of £10, Hunt reported. However, neither needed to pay as everyone over the age of 60 is entitled to free travel on public transportation in London.
At Kings Cross, the couple returned above ground to the main line station where they saw a plaque marking ‘Platform 9 and ¾’ – the fictitious departure point for the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter novels.
A record 1.171 billion passenger journeys were made during the 2011-12 financial year, across a city-run network that now covers 249 miles and connects 270 stations on 12 lines.
It is a remarkable milestone for the network, carved from the hot clay beneath London’s streets and which survived the bombs of World War Two.
Abraham Lincoln was president when the world’s first subterranean passenger service opened between Paddington and Farringdon on Jan. 9, 1863.