15 October 2020

No mask Ma’am? Queen shuns face covering on first public engagement outside royal residence since March

There is always a fascination around the Queen’s appearance as she carries out her royal duties, but today it was all about what she wasn’t wearing.

Observers noted that as she carried out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation, she was not wearing any face covering.

Nor was her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, as they visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury, meeting scientists providing vital support in the UK’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak, who were also without masks.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with Dstl.”

Buckingham Palace said all necessary precautions were taken for the visit (PA Wire)

But all 48 people who were due to come into close contact with the royals were tested for Covid-19 by Dstl beforehand, and all came back negative.

Kensington Palace declined to comment as to whether the duke was also required to have a test in order to be able to accompany his grandmother.
Second in line to the throne William and the Queen, who previously would have been side by side, walked two metres apart as they were greeted by staff.
The Queen also arrived by helicopter separately from the duke, who travelled by car.
Small groups of those taking part in the royal visit were arranged two metres apart for social distancing.
The Queen was venturing from HMS Bubble for the first time in seven months (PA Wire)

The Queen was venturing from HMS Bubble – the nickname for her reduced household of staff – for what was her first external engagement in seven months.

And the 94-year-old Monarch was on good form as she quipped while signing the guest book: “Well it proves we’ve been here, doesn’t it?”

She was dressed in her trademark block colours – a Stewart Parvin old rose cashmere coat and silk dress of autumnal woodland florals with a matching Rachel Trevor Morgan hat – with black gloves and her signature black Launer handbag.

There was also the traditional royal duty – the unveiling of a plaque to officially open the Dstl’s new £30 million Energetics Analysis Centre, used by scientists for counter-terrorist work.

As she signed the visitors’ book she quipped ‘Well it proves we’ve been here, doesn’t it?’ (PA Wire)

The Salisbury engagement comes amid a resurgence of the virus, with the country battling a second wave and stricter restrictions in place in some areas.

The royal pair were also introduced to staff involved in the rapid response to the Novichok poisoning attack in Salisbury in 2018.

The Queen was last at an official public engagement outside of a royal residence when she joined the royal family for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 9.

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