On the day London, Essex and York and other parts of the UK were told they’re facing stricter lockdown rules, the Queen stepped out for her first royal visit in seven months.
She joined Prince William for a rare joint engagement, visiting the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory near Salisbury.
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic was a big talking point during the morning event, and the Queen managed to sum up how we’re all feeling in just four words.
While chatting to Professor Tim Atkins, who coordinated the responses to both the Novichok poisoning and coronavirus, she referred to Covid as “this horrible new thing”.
The Queen has been in lockdown just the rest of the country, and her oldest son, Prince Charles, tested positive for the virus.
Her daughter-in-law Sophie Wessex is currently self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.
She delivered a moving and rare public address, praising NHS heroes and telling people across the Commonwealth “we will meet again”.
Her visit to Salisbury was her first public engagement since March, when she left London and moved to Windsor Castle with her husband Prince Philip.
She’s carried out two engagements behind closed doors – a scaled back Trooping the Colour ceremony to mark her official birthday and knighting fundraising hero Sir Tom Moore.
Parts of her trip to the Salisbury site were in a warehouse with an open side and a marquee, so some expected to see her wearing a face covering for the first time.
However, when she arrived by helicopter there was no mask in sight.
The Palace has confirmed that she made the decision after speaking to her medical team.
A royal source told Mirror Online: “Specific advice on this visit has been sought from the Medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with Dstl.
“All Dstl staff have also been involved in the UK’s response to Covid-19 so are well versed in the necessary precautions.”
All 48 staff who came into contact with the Queen and William during their visit were tested for Covid-19 ahead of the visit and declared negative.
A number of people have commented on her decision not to wear a mask, including royal commentator Omid Scobie, co-author of Meghan Markle and Harry’s biography Finding Freedom.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “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).”
Both the Queen and William strictly followed social-distancing rules throughout the visiting, ensuring they were two metres away from everyone – including each other – at all times.
The Monarch wore a pink coat and matching hat for the event, with black gloves and her trademark black Launer handbag.
As she signed the guestbook, she joked: “Well, it proves we’ve been here, doesn’t it?”