Queen sparks backlash for not wearing mask as she returns to royal duties

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • The queen attended her first engagement since lockdown started when she visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) alongside Prince William on Thursday.
  • The engagement sparked backlash though, as both the queen and Prince William were not wearing a mask.
  • A Buckingham palace spokesperson has since responded, saying "specific advice [had] been sought" and "all necessary precautions [had been] taken".

Her Majesty attended her first royal engagement since lockdown started this week alongside grandson Prince William.

The queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down and opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre – a state-of-the-art building from which hundreds of scientists conduct research and analysis to protect the UK against terrorist and criminal threats relating to explosives.

Though the queen and Prince William spoke to scientists about the research and work they're doing with the NHS amid the pandemic, neither were wearing masks, garnering backlash from royal watchers.

According to ITV News, Graham Smith, chief executive of the organisation which campaigns for an elected head of state, said that "the queen should be setting an example".

"I can't see how this fits with the rules everyone else is expected to follow, so the Palace needs to come up with a rules-compliant explanation," he said.

As it stands, the official guidelines from the government in the UK say face masks are to be worn in most indoor settings, when "social distancing may be difficult and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet." 

If not properly followed, citizens can be fined. 

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson has since responded, saying all relevant Covid-19 guidelines were followed, reports People, which included social distancing, primarily staying outdoors, testing for all meeting the queen and Prince William beforehand, and fencing off the area in which they were operating.

The publication adds that staff was arranged in small groups, and chief executive Gary Aitkenhead led the queen around to meet them. "Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with Dstl," the spokeswoman said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24