Queen Elizabeth’s first public appearance since March has left many disappointed, as the senior monarch chose not to wear a face mask in spite of British public health guidelines.
Along with Prince William, the Queen held a meet-and-greet with 48 people — yes, in the year 2020 and with the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on — on Thursday, as part of a private tour of a military lab.
The Queen, with The Duke of Cambridge, visits @dstlmod and formally opens the new Energetics Analysis Centre - a state-of-the-art building dedicated to scientific research and analysis to protect the UK against terrorist and criminal threats relating to explosives. pic.twitter.com/7AUzA8bZ8Y
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) October 15, 2020
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told iTV that both senior royals were given the all-clear to go maskless by medical professionals. As well, everyone involved was reportedly social distancing and tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
But, many still felt that by not wearing face masks at a gathering, the royal pair were setting a poor example for the public.
The gov: everyone must wear a face mask
The Queen: ✨no✨
— Maya Duran Duran (@MayaDoran2) October 16, 2020
No wonder there’s uproar over restrictions in this country when even the monarch fails to use an opportune moment to lead by example and wear a mask. #MaskGate #Queen #Covid19UK #RoyalFamily #Britain 😷 https://t.co/TYcUOo3Eiz
— Serena A. Chaudhry (@SerenaChaudhry) October 16, 2020
🎵God Save us fae the Queen
No wan mask tae be seen,
Quite, quite obscene.🎶 pic.twitter.com/HPPdWRgUKA
— Billy Kay (@billykayscot) October 16, 2020
As royal commenter Omid Scobie put it, while protocols were followed, the visuals alone fail to illustrate that; without context, seeing a 94-year-old woman and her grandson go maskless may suggest that it’s OK to be around vulnerable seniors and large groups without a face mask.
“While sensible and safe precautious [sic] were clearly made, I do worry that most people seeing the photos/videos won’t know the back story,” he tweeted. “As the majority of the UK enters tighter restrictions, seeing leaders in masks would have been a strong visual.”
(My two cents: While sensible and safe precautious 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).
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) October 15, 2020
Some royal watchers noted that in the absence of a face covering, the Queen’s ensemble possibly included a virus-inspired accessory: She sported a pink-and-yellow brooch that Yahoo reports has been compared to graphics of the novel coronavirus.
Yesterday a bare faced Queen (see what I did there) went to what used to be known as the UK’s home of ‘germ warfare’.
HM wore pink & sported a brooch that looked remarkably like the graphic being used to traumatise the entire world, a gift from Prince Philip in 1956 apparently🧐 pic.twitter.com/mctgcqGVGr
— Suky Spook (@Sukyspook) October 16, 2020
Here’s hoping the Queen’s next public outing will take note of the criticism of this one.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost Canada and has been updated.