Here's why the Queen didn't wear a mask yesterday

queen elizabeth
(Image credit: Getty)

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.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.