Princess Anne Makes Surprise Visit to New York City — and Rides the Staten Island Ferry!

Princess Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Princess Anne made a surprise visit to New York City that included a trip on one of the Big Apple's more unique modes of public transit.

On Tuesday, the N.Y.C. Department of Transportation shared a photo on Twitter of Anne, 72, aboard the Staten Island Ferry, which shuttles commuters and passengers between lower Manhattan and the borough of Staten Island for free at all hours of the day.

"We were pleased to welcome Her Royal Highness Princess Anne to the #StatenIslandFerry today," the Department of Transportation wrote on Twitter alongside the photo, which shows Princess Anne looking out over the waters of New York Harbor.

Queen Elizabeth's only daughter arrived in New York on a flight to John F. Kennedy International Airport from London on Monday and spoke at a gala dinner for the English-Speaking Union of the United States. The next day, she visited the National Lighthouse Museum in St. George, Staten Island, according to the Staten Island Advance.

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Princess Anne was named honorary chair for the museum's Illuminating Future Generations campaign, a fundraising effort the museum launched in January to raise money for preservation and expansion of its gallery space, according to the Advance.

The Princess Royal, who the Advance called "one of the great champions in the international lighthouse community," took a tour of the museum with curator Amanda Nesci and unveiled a miniature figurine of Needles Lighthouse on the U.K.'s Isle of Wright in memory of her parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, before departing back to Manhattan, the paper reports.

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"I think lighthouses have been a particularly good way of educating people about the importance of maritime in all its formats," Anne, whose husband Timothy Laurence was a commander in the Royal Navy while she wore the Royal Navy ceremonial outfit for her mother's funeral last month, told an audience at a luncheon in Battery Park on Tuesday put on by the museum, per the Advance. "It's not just about trade, but the impact of what we do to the sea, and how we can look after it better, and the way in which it affects our lives."

"The lighthouse still has a really important part to play," Princess Anne added. "The story that goes with lighthouses and how we got here is just as important, and [the] museum has made an astonishing impact in telling that story. What you do needs scope, to tell more of that story."

Princess Anne, Princess Royal walks behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown is pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, during a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster on September 14, 2022, in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II's coffin is taken in procession on a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where she will lay in state until the early morning of her funeral. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.
Princess Anne, Princess Royal walks behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown is pulled by a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, during a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster on September 14, 2022, in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II's coffin is taken in procession on a Gun Carriage of The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where she will lay in state until the early morning of her funeral. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.

Martin Meissner - Pool/Getty Princess Anne at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth

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The museum first reached out to Anne inquiring whether she would be interested in visiting in 2019, but issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic forced the visit to be re-scheduled twice, according to the Advance.

Princess Anne's visit to Staten Island came nearly 65 years after Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip toured the borough during a trip to the United States on Oct. 21, 1957.

A palace source tells PEOPLE that Princess Anne's visit to New York was scheduled before Queen Elizabeth's death. King Charles, Anne's brother, permitted her to go ahead with the trip as planned.

TOPSHOT - Britain's King Charles III, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Britain's Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex arrive at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022, for the State Funeral Service for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. - Leaders from around the world will attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The country's longest-serving monarch, who died aged 96 after 70 years on the throne, will be honoured with a state funeral on Monday morning at Westminster Abbey. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Britain's King Charles III, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Britain's Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex arrive at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, 2022, for the State Funeral Service for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. - Leaders from around the world will attend the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. The country's longest-serving monarch, who died aged 96 after 70 years on the throne, will be honoured with a state funeral on Monday morning at Westminster Abbey. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

ARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty

Princess Anne's trip to the U.S. marks a wider return to royal duties among members of the family following the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth, which ended a week after the monarch's funeral on Sept. 19.

The Princess Royal was by her mother's side when the history-making monarch died on Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

"I was fortunate enough to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother's life," Anne said in a statement, released by Buckingham Palace on September 14. "It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys."