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.
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.
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.
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.
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).