Fans of the royal family expressed concerns over the wellbeing of Queen Elizabeth when the monarch made her first public appearance since the COVID-19 pandemic without a facemask.
Queen Elizabeth made her first public appearance when she joined her grandson, Prince William, on a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, Salisbury.
The Queen wore a pink coat designed by Stewart Parvin, which she matched with a Rachel Trevor Morgan hat for the outing. Queen Elizabeth also carried a black bag, black shoe, and black gloves, but did not wear a facemask.
Prince William and Queen Elizabeth II take a tour of the new East Anglian Air Ambulance base at Cambridge Airport on July 13, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images.
The official Instagram page of the Royal Family shared pictures from the monarch’s visit to the top-level laboratory, which showed that neither the Queen nor Prince William had their facemasks on.
The other people who were featured in the snaps were also without their facemasks. In the caption to the post, the Royal Family revealed that Queen Elizabeth formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Center, among other activities.
Many royal family fans reacted to the post in the comment section. While many lauded the Queen for still going strong even at 94, some others questioned why she did not wear a facemask during the outing.
One observer noted that neither of the people in the photos wore facemasks and wondered why that was the case given the recorded high cases in the United Kingdom.
Royal sources said all relevant guidelines on COVID-19 were followed during Her Majesty’s visit to the laboratory.
Another person said that people should wear facemasks when they are around Her Majesty, while a shocked fan asked, “No masks?” One other fan asked a similar question before noting that the people in the pictures seemed to be nearer than two meters.
The backlash that followed from the outing continued to grow, with some notable public figures also speaking about it. Piers Morgan said the Queen and Prince William’s decision not to wear masks was not a smart move.
A fan's comment on "The Royal Family" Instagram page | Photo: Instagram / theroyalfamily
Royal author Omid Scobie also opined that the British royals missed an opportunity to present a strong visual as the United Kingdom battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the growing concerns, royal sources said all relevant guidelines on COVID-19 were followed during Her Majesty’s visit to the laboratory. In addition to that, everyone that met with the Queen and her grandson tested negative for COVID-19.
Photo of a fans comment on "The Royal Family" Instagram page | Photo: Instagram / theroyalfamily
Necessary precautions were also taken with specific advice also sought from medical professionals and relevant stakeholders. In joining his grandmother on her first public outing since COVID-19 to the top-level laboratory, Prince William stepped up in his public role as a future king.
The Duke of Cambridge had previously joined the Queen periodically on her duties and was last beside her on a public engagement, in 2018, when they visited the Grenfell Tower after a fire disaster left over 70 persons dead at the London apartment block in 2017.