Yesterday, Queen Elizabeth II made a surprise public appearance to attend a service to mark the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force at the CWGC Air Forces Memorial, in Runnymede in Surrey.
Although she has taken a few official video calls in the past months, it was the first time she’s been seen IRL since December, when she welcomed Prince William and Kate Middleton after their tour of the UK.
During the socially-distanced engagement, she chatted to members of the Air Force, and had a wreath laid on her behalf. In a sea of navy uniforms, she stood out in her signature lime green outfit.
Some people questioned the fact the monarch wasn’t wearing a mask. They had also brought up the same health concerns in October, which Buckingham Palace clarified with a statement.
‘A Buckingham Palace spokesperson has weighed in on the controversy, announcing: ‘Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with Dstl,’ they said.
There were probably several reasons Queen Elizabeth didn’t wear a face covering on this occasion.
Firstly, the ceremony was held outside, and in the UK it’s not a legal requirement to wear a mask unless you are inside a store, restaurant or hotel, or on public transport.
Secondly, social distancing was put in place, and extra precautions will no doubt have been taken, such as perhaps testing everyone present.
It’s also thought the Queen has had her second Covid vaccine jab, having had her first round, alongside Prince Philip, back in January.
Given that she chatted to servicemen at the ceremony, her voice would also have been less muffled without a mask, even though she was chatting from a distance.