'Irresponsible': Queen's first royal engagement sparks backlash

Kristine Tarbert
·Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·2-min read

The Queen has stepped out for her first official royal engagement in seven months, but the outing was met with some anger over a very obvious omission.

The 94-year-old monarch was in Salisbury to meet with novichok poisoning heroes alongside grandson Prince William, but neither the royals or anyone else present wore a face mask, which sparked widespread backlash online.

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks with staff during a visit to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II on a royal engagement in Salisbury, England. Photo: Getty

Piers Morgan took to Twitter to voice his concerns about the lack of face coverings, as London prepares to go into Tier 2 restrictions on Friday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Why no masks or social distancing? Sorry, but this is not a smart move by the royal family as the virus rages and the country heads into another lockdown,” the TV personality said.

And plenty of other royal fans seemed to agree.

“The entitlement of this. No mask wearing when you could have set a real example and shown that it is OK to wear a mask. Instead everyone has to get tested so you don’t have to wear a mask. Seems we aren’t ‘all in this together’. That is the UK. Covid story,” was one person’s response.

“Not wearing masks. Ok. Seriously nobody in the Royal family has any sense of what is happening in the real world?” another angry fan wrote.

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (L) stands by as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) unveils a plaque to officially open the new Energetics Analysis Centre at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The Queen was joined by Prince William. Photo: Getty

According to the palace, the decision was made after consultation with the Queen’s medical team, adding all 48 staff who came near the royals were tested for COVID-19 before the visit could happen.

“Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with (the laboratory),” a statement said.

RELATED:

There were some royal fans who supported the move.

“Everyone there was Covid tested and all cleared. Do you honestly think they'd go round infecting everyone?” was one person’s response.

“Everyone involved had been tested and cleared. In the same way that those performing on stage or being filmed currently are,” another defended.

SALISBURY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park on October 15, 2020 near Salisbury, England. The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben Stansall - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Staff members were tested before the royals' visit. Photo: Getty

However, even the fact people were tested didn’t have some convinced.

“Really weird not to wear masks. It's so irresponsible. Messaging and optics matter (even if the Royals did have everyone tested before showing up)!

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William spoke with staff involved in identifying the deadly nerve agent in Salisbury. The Queen then officially opened the $64 million Energetics Analysis Centre at the high-security Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

Click here to sign up to our daily newsletter to get all the latest news and hacks. Or if you have a story tip, email us at lifestyle.tips@verizonmedia.com.