- 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.
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The Queen, accompanied The Duke of Cambridge, this morning visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down, and formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. The Energetics Analysis Centre is 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. The Queen and The Duke viewed a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and met staff employed in Counter Terrorism and Security, as well as Dstl staff and members of the military involved in identifying the nerve agent and subsequent clear up of the Novichok incident of 2018. In recognition of their work The Duke presented the Firmin Sword of Peace to representatives of Headquarters South West (The regional Army command headquarters of the south west of England.) Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also spoke to scientists providing vital support to the UK response of the COVID-19 pandemic, working in analytic research areas and deploying microbiologists to NHS hospitals to increase testing capacities.
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.