Queen carries out first public engagement since lockdown
Published: 06:51 PM, 15 October 2020
Queen is carrying out her first public engagement outside of palace grounds since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, visiting the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday visited Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down near Salisbury with the Duke of Cambridge and carried out her first public engagement since lockdown began seven months ago. Her grandson Prince William accompanied her in the visit.
It is the first time she has appeared in public outside of Windsor Castle, where she has been living, since March.
The two royals arrived separately, with the Queen coming by helicopter and William by car. They last saw each other face to face when they met privately at Balmoral during the summer.
All her companions were checked up and tested negative for Covid-19 before the tour.
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.”
The monarch formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre, where she was greeted by the Chief Executive, Mr Gary Aitkenhead.
Small groups of those taking part in the royal visit were arranged two metres apart to ensure social distancing.
They met scientists who are helping with the COVID-19 response, providing research support and deploying microbiologists to NHS hospitals to increase testing capacities.
The Queen was dressed in a pink coat and matching hat, wearing black gloves and carrying her trademark black Launer handbag. But the Queen and Prince William were seen without face masks as the entire companions tested negative earlier.
The media were not allowed close to the visitors and wore face masks.
The Queen left Buckingham Palace for the castle on March 19 just days before the UK was plunged into a national lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.