Queen Elizabeth II was photographed performing her first public engagement outside a royal residence since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year as social media fume over the monarch not wearing a mask.
The Queen, 94, was joined by her grandson the Duke of Cambridge at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down near Salisbury, meeting scientists providing vital support in the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The British royals have been criticized for not wearing a face mask in a public place, with Journalist Darren McCaffrey tweeting, “The Queen, a future King and a policeman – but no mask in sight. Should they be setting an example and wearing one?”
“One hundred percent they should. Doesn’t matter your age of who you are.” Martin McHugh replied.
Colette Jones said, “So disappointed in their behaviour. They are supposed to be role models.”
Paul Dale tweeted, “How extraordinary that the Queen and William should be out and about without masks. Hardly very helpful for the Government’s messaging. And since the royals never do anything by accident, I assume it’s a deliberate snub.”
Royal author Omid Scobie weighed in with a comment, “While sensible and safe precautions were clearly made, I do worry that most people seeing the photos/videos won’t know the back story.
“As the majority of the UK enters tighter restrictions, seeing leaders in masks would have been a strong visual.”
Wondering if anti-monarchy group will let this slide, sure no, Republic tweeted, “Is that how the rules work?”
Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said, “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.”
Royal commentator Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, noted that Queen and William would inevitably be criticised, but medical expert advice must have been implemented.
“The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge will inevitably be criticised for not wearing a face covering, but medical advice was sought while the royal visit was being planned and social distancing seemingly was maintained throughout,” Mr Little said.
Although there were no physical face masks SurgeZirc UK learned, all 48 people who were arranged to meet with the royals were tested for COVID-19 and all had their results as negative.
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 the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.”