The Queen was most amused after hearing about an RAF gunner’s unusual lockdown exercise regime during her second official virtual royal engagement via video chat.
Corporal Shanwayne Stephens, a member of the Jamaican bobsleigh team, told the Queen how he had resorted to pushing a car up and down the streets in an effort to keep fit and train during lockdown.
The monarch who was surprised to hear of the unusual method gave a chuckle and remarked ‘Oh’.
Her majesty laughed and added: ‘Well I suppose that’s one way to train.’
Her conversation with Lance Corporal Stephens came as the Queen held a video call from Windsor Castle with members of the Armed Forces based across the globe.
The Queen had replied ‘Gosh. Sounds a very dangerous job’ when Lance Corporal Stephens told her he was the pilot of the Jamaican bobsleigh squad.
The monarch remarked ‘Oh’, looked surprised and gave a chuckle when Lance Corporal Shanwayne Stephens, a member of the Jamaican bobsleigh team, told her how he kept fit
She asked: ‘So how do you train?’, prompting him to tell her about his unorthodox methods.
Lance Corporal Stephens, of the Queen’s Colour Squadron, was one of three military personnel who spoke to the monarch last week as she heard about the work they were carrying out at home and overseas as the coronavirus crisis continues.
The Queen, whose sign-in name on the screen was ‘Windsor UK’, told them: ‘Everybody’s been extremely busy with the pandemic and doing a wonderful job.’
Lance Corporal Stephens said afterwards: ‘She had a big smile on her face when I said about pushing the car.
The Queen spoke to Jamaica-born Lance Corporal Stephens (pictured), who joined RAF in 2011 and is based at RAF Northolt, and is trained in forced protection with specialisation as a sniper
Some residents of Peterborough offered their help to Shanwayne Stephens and Nimroy Turgott as they push a Mini down the road as practice for bobsleighing during lockdown
The Bobsleigh pair said they aimed to qualify for the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022
‘I think she was quite impressed with that.’
Asked if the Queen had backed his bid to compete at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, he laughed and replied: ‘I’ll have to send her a T-shirt.’
Jamaica-born Lance Corporal Stephens, who joined the RAF in 2011 and is based at RAF Northolt, is trained in forced protection with specialisation as a sniper.
The athlete made headlines during lockdown by pushing his fiancee Amy’s Mini Cooper around Peterborough to keep up his fitness.
With echoes of the 1993 film Cool Runnings, he also set up a temporary weights rack in his garden to train with his teammate Nimroy Turgott, who isolated with him when lockdown began in March.
Lance Corporal Stephens said: ‘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.’
The Queen held a video call from Windsor Castle with members of the Armed Forces based across the globe
The Queen also spoke to Able Seaman Sophie Levy, 22, (pictured) who joined the call from her first operational deployment on board RFA Argus off Curacao in the Caribbean
He said of the royal video-call: ‘It 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.
‘She just said it had been a hard time and it was nice to keep in contact with everybody.’
He added: ‘She seemed very relaxed and in fact she made me feel a bit more relaxed when she came on. She was really smiley.’
The Queen spoke to representatives from the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, as well as the Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter.
From the Army was Lieutenant Colonel Barrie Terry of The Yorkshire Regiment, who is deployed to the UN Peacekeeping mission in Bamako, Mali.
‘It was a novel experience from Mali, I think for her as well.
‘The internet connection held up, which was good,’ he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Terry said of the Queen: ‘I think she took to the technology really well, she was very happy, very au fait with it.’
The 47-year-old has not seen his family back in Gloucester since November as two periods of leave were cancelled because of travel restrictions, but he is due back in the UK next month.
His wife Anya is working for the NHS Trust in Gloucester, training healthcare professionals and return to practice nurses, and looking after their two sons Theo, 15, and 11-year-old Arthur.
The Jamaica Bobsleigh team – who are used to training without snow – resorted to pushing a car around the streets of Peterborough to stay in shape, with an eye on Olympic qualification
They said they had been inspired by the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics men’s bobsleigh team, immortalised in the 1993 film Cool Runnings
Lieutenant Colonel Terry said the Queen understood the separation that comes with serving in the military.
‘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,’ he said.
‘I think she’s familiar with the family separation that service life brings.’
The Queen also spoke to Able Seaman Sophie Levy, 22, who joined the call from her first operational deployment on board RFA Argus off Curacao in the Caribbean.
The ship was deployed in April to help British Overseas Territories during the pandemic, and will remain in the Caribbean over the summer to provide support for the annual hurricane season.
The Queen remarked: ‘So this is your first deployment is it? … Sounds as though you’re rather busy.’
AB Levy, from Windsor, said afterwards: ‘I called from a cabin on board so she was able to see what life on board is like and how we live on Argus.
‘She could see my photos in the background of my family.’
She previously met the monarch in 2014 as a 16-year-old Sea Cadet when she escorted her around Holyport College.
‘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.’
Social distancing restrictions mean that the ship’s crew is currently unable to spend free time ashore.
‘The Queen spoke … about my job, and that we haven’t been able to get off and that it must be quite a difficult time,’ she said.