Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks during a visit to the headquarters of MI5, which is the United Kingdom's domestic counter…
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks during a visit to the headquarters of MI5, which is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, at Thames House in London, February 25, 2020.

LONDON - Queen Elizabeth visited the headquarters of Britain's MI5 domestic spy agency on Tuesday to thank the country's spies for defending the realm. “I would like to take my visit here today as an opportunity to thank you all for the tireless work you do to keep our country safe," Elizabeth said.

"You have always demonstrated the utmost commitment to your motto - 'Regnum Defende' ['Defend the Realm']. Because of the nature of your work, it is without public recognition. So, it is on behalf of the country that I say to you all: thank you."

MI5, established in 1909 to counter German espionage ahead of World War I, is tasked with protecting British national security. Its main job is currently countering international terrorism though it is also a counter-intelligence agency. "I'm always struck by the remarkable resolve with which you carry out your vital role," Elizabeth said.

"There will no doubt continue to be significant threats and challenges ahead, but on each of my visits to MI5, I have been impressed by the way that you have adapted to the changing threats to our nation," the queen said.