Photo Op: Queen Takes the Train to Sandringham for Christmas

The royal picture of the day isn't of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, who stole the show at the Sun Military Awards this week in a strapless black velvet dress. It's of her Majesty, the Queen. More specifically, Queen Elizabeth on a train. A regular train for common folk.

Passengers must have choked on their tea and biscuits when they saw none other than her Majesty get off the train at King's Lynn station Tuesday and walk to her car without much fanfare on the platform and minimal security.

Fifty other passengers were reportedly on board the train, but the Palace booked all twelve seats in the Queen's first class compartment, which cost about £47 a ticket, so she could maintain her privacy during the ride, according to the Sun. One passenger told the Sun he had "no idea" the Queen was riding the rails.

To control costs, the royal train, which boasts nine carriages including cars for sleeping, dining and lounging, and offers added security and privacy for the royals, is only used on special occasions like the Silver and the Golden Jubilees. So the 85-year-old monarch traveled via First Capital Connect service to Sandringham in Eastern England where the royal family celebrates Christmas.

In keeping with tradition, the royals will gather at Sandringham house, a country estate that sits on 20,000 acres, for festivities that begin with a high tea on Christmas Eve, followed by a formal dinner and the official opening of gifts. This year's celebration will reportedly be the biggest British royal Christmas gathering in years, with 27 royals expected to gather for the holiday weekend.