Thursday, 15 October 2020

The Queen leaves lockdown

 




The Queen sought to send a reassuring message to the county as she got back to business today, carrying out her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since before the coronavirus pandemic gripped the nation.

Her Majesty was joined by her grandson Prince William at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury to meet scientists who worked in the aftermath of the 2018 Novichok attack, and are supporting the UK's response to the Covid-19 outbreak. 

It is the first time the Queen has ventured from a royal residence in seven months, outside of her household of reduced staff - dubbed HMS Bubble - to carry out her duties as head of state. 

 But while the pair maintained strict social distancing, neither opted to wear face coverings despite her Majesty falling into the 'at risk' age bracket.

 The 94-year-old shunned a mask, seen by some royal fans as a positive and uplifting message as parts of the UK teeter on the brink of another looming lockdown.     

Heightened safety precautions were taken ahead of the visit to protect the Queen against coronavirus as she flew to the site in a helicopter, while the Duke of Cambridge arrived by car.  

All 48 people who were due to come into close contact with them were tested for Covid-19 by Dstl beforehand, and while the testing process is still not foolproof, 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 has spent lockdown at the Berkshire residence for her safety, but has been busy behind closed doors, carrying out telephone audiences, video calls and dealing with her red boxes of official papers.



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