‘That’s one way to train’: Queen jokes with RAF officer over his unusual exercise routine

Queen Elizabeth II took part in her second official virtual royal engagement while speaking to members of the Armed Forces

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 15 July 2020 09:00 BST
(Buckingham Palace/PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

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The Queen found herself highly amused upon hearing about an RAF officer’s unorthodox fitness regime during her second official virtual royal engagement.

Last week, Queen Elizabeth II joined a video call with several members of the Armed Forces based around the world.

One of the participants of the call was Lance Corporal Shanwayne Stephens, who is a member of the Jamaican bobsleigh team.

Lance Corporal Stephens told the monarch about his role as pilot of the bobsleigh squad, to which she responded: “Gosh. Sounds a very dangerous job.”

The 94-year-old then asked the RAF officer how he stays fit, prompting him to outline how he pushes a car up and down the streets as part of his exercise routine.

“Oh,” the Queen said in response, a surprised expression on her face as she chuckled at the unexpected answer.

“Well I suppose that’s one way to train,” she added while laughing.

Lance Corporal Stephens is part of the Queen’s Colour Squadron.

He and two other military personnel spoke to the Queen, who is based at Windsor Castle, about how they have been carrying out their roles throughout the coronavirus pandemic both at home and abroad.

“Everybody’s been extremely busy with the pandemic and doing a wonderful job,” stated the Queen, whose sign-in name on the video call was “Windsor UK”.

(Buckingham Palace/PA Wire
(Buckingham Palace/PA Wire (Buckingham Palace/PA Wire)

After their call, Lance Corporal Stephens said the Queen “had a big smile on her face when I said about pushing the car”.

“I think she was quite impressed with that,” he added.

Lance Corporal Stephens made headlines during lockdown by pushing his fiancée’s Mini Cooper around Peterborough.

“We had to come up with our own creative ways to get our training done to be ready for our competitive season which starts in November,” said Lance Corporal Stephens, who joined the RAF in 2011 and specialises as a sniper.

The RAF officer said joining the video call with Queen Elizabeth II was “a bit strange”.

“I’ve been in close proximity with the Queen on quite a few occasions but never actually had a face-to-face conversation with her – well screen-to-screen,” he said.

“She just said it had been a hard time and it was nice to keep in contact with everybody.”

Lance Corporal Stephens added that the monarch “seemed very relaxed” and was “really smiley”, making him “feel a bit more relaxed”.

During the video call, the Queen joined in conversation with representatives from the British Army, the Royal Navy, the RAF and the Chief of Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter.

Lieutenant Colonel Barrie Terry of the Yorkshire Regiment, who is currently deployed to the UN Peacekeeping mission in Bamako, Mali, said that the Queen “took to the technology really well”.

“I think with her background, she’s used to her grandchildren and her children at various stages of their life being away due to service in the Armed Forces, especially with Prince Philip,” said Lieutenant Colonel Terry, who has not seen his family in Gloucester since November.

“I think she’s familiar with the family separation that service life brings.”

The Queen also spoke with 22-year-old Able Rate Sophie Levy, who previously met the Queen in 2014 when she was a Sea Cadet.

“Her Majesty brought it up this morning and it was a nice personal connection to bring it up that I had met her all those years ago,” Able Rate Levy said.

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