Saturday, 28 Nov 2020

Queen accused of ‘letting Britain down’ after failing to wear a face covering

The Queen has been accused of "letting Britain down" when she failed to wear a mask at her first public engagement since lockdown began in March.

Queen Elizabeth II, 94, carried out her first engagement outside of a royal residence in seven months at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury on Thursday.

She was joined by her grandson Prince William as she met scientists providing vital support in the UK's response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

But after she was photographed not wearing a mask, royal commentator Benjamin Butterworth accused the Queen of "letting Britain down."

Do you think her Majesty "let Britain down" by not wearing a face mask? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below


And Mr Butterworth added he is "sure" Meghan Markle would wear one.

Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Butterworth said: "The Queen let Britain down when she failed to wear a mask."

Presenter Dan Wootton interjected: "How dare you, Benjamin! She is 94 years old. She may have a reason. Do you know about her health issues?

"I don't but she could be exempt."

Mr Butterworth continued: "What we know is she is at more risk and the people around her are at more risk when they don't wear masks."

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Following the backlash, Buckingham Palace was forced to issue a statement clarifying the Queen had followed the advice of her doctors and safety measures had been put in place.

Heightened safety precautions were taken ahead of the visit including all 48 people who were due to come into close contact with the monarch and William were tested for Covid-19.

The Queen and William followed social distancing rules and remained two metres apart. The event was also outside.

However, Mr Butterworth said: "The truth is what we know is some of the tests aren't completely accurate.

"If anyone of those people had an incorrect negative test that puts her at serious risk."

Mr Wootton accused him of just wanting to criticise the Queen as Mr Butterworth said: "I'm sure Meghan Markle would wear a mask. She's been photographed wearing one."

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 Dstl."

It is the first time the Queen has ventured from a royal residence, outside of her household of reduced staff – dubbed HMS Bubble – to carry out her duties as head of state since before lockdown.

But the Salisbury engagement comes amid a resurgence of the virus, as the country battles a second wave and stricter restrictions for some areas.

The Queen knighted Captain Sir Tom Moore for his fundraising in July in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she also watched a mini socially-distanced Trooping the Colour for her official birthday in June.

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