Queen reveals fascination with Space in first appearance since Meghan and Harry interview

12 March 2021, 17:47 | Updated: 12 March 2021, 18:23

Experts and schoolchildren joined the Queen in a virtual event to mark British Science Week
Experts and schoolchildren joined the Queen in a virtual event to mark British Science Week. Picture: Buckingham Palace

By Maddie Goodfellow

The Queen has revealed her fascination with outer Space in her first public appearance since the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's bombshell interview.

Experts and schoolchildren joined the Her Majesty 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.

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."

The video call symposium was held on Wednesday, just a few days after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's bombshell interview in which they accused the royal family of racism and a lack of support.

Read more: Public opinion of Harry and Meghan has dropped to 'record low'

Today's engagement was the first since Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey, which has captivated the world and opened the doors on the inner workings of the Royal Family.

According to a new poll by YouGov, the interview has caused their popularity in Britain to drop to a record low, while public opinion of other senior royals remains almost unchanged.

The Queen was shown the latest pictures from Nasa's mission to Mars
The Queen was shown the latest pictures from Nasa's mission to Mars. Picture: Buckingham Palace

The couple made allegations of racist behaviour regarding members of the royal family and press, and revealed issues around their mental health.

Their popularity ratings actually saw a small uplift ahead of the interview, but they have since declined again and are now at their lowest ever level.

READ MORE: Prince William: Royals 'very much not a racist family'

READ MORE: Beyoncé speaks out in support of Meghan Markle after Oprah interview

The Queen met the first man in space - Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin - in 1961 soon after his historic mission, and when she was asked during the video call what he was like, she made everyone laugh by replying: "Russian."

She explained he did not speak English, and added: "It was very interesting to meet him, and I suppose being the first one, it was particularly fascinating."

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a scientist and presenter, said of Gagarin: "It must have been very terrifying to be the first one, and not really knowing what was going to happen."

The Queen quipped: "Well, yes - and if you could come back again. That's very important."

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.

Read more: Queen shares joke as she virtually unveils new statue in South Australia

Read more: Queen urges those worried about Covid jab to 'think about others rather than themselves'

Dr Aderin-Pocock, said after the video call with the Queen: "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."