Prince William Joins Queen for Her First Public Engagement in 7 Months

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Queen Elizabeth II has not performed public engagements since the coronavirus lockdown was introduced in the United Kingdom in March.

Her Majesty, joined by the Duke of Cambridge Prince William, visited the the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down near Salisbury today, where she met scientists who worked in the aftermath of the 2018 Novichok attack, and are supporting the UK's response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The queen unveiled a plaque to officially open the new 30 million-pound ($39 million) Energetics Analysis Centre, used by scientists for counter-terrorist work.

Despite the United Kingdom being in the midst of a resurgence of the virus, neither the Queen nor William were seen donning a face covering but both observed social distancing rules from each other and anyone else. The queen had arrived by helicopter separately from the Duke of Cambridge, who had travelled by vehicle.

"I can't see how this fits with the rules everyone else is expected to follow, so the Palace needs to come up with a rules-compliant explanation". All the tests came back negative.

However, the Palace said the decision was made after discussions with The Queen's medical team.

It was the monarch's first public engagement outside one of her homes - where she has had a reduced household staff known as "HMS Bubble" - since she attended a Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on 9 March. Before the United Kingdom was put into full lockdown on March 23, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, moved to Windsor Castle, which is around 25 miles (40 kms) west of London.

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After spending time with Prince Philip this summer in Scotland, the queen returned to Windsor Castle, a residential palace located outside of London, rather than to Buckingham Palace, which is a working palace with offices and staff.

Meanwhile, some people questioned why The Queen or William weren't wearing face masks.

During the pandemic, the only outdoor engagement the Queen took on was a scaled down Trooping the Colour, held on the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she and Prince Philip, 99, were isolating.

Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams suggested that Her Majesty could ask other royals to take her place at engagements.

She was on good form as she quipped while signing the guest book: "Well it proves we've been here, doesn't it?"

As she was introduced to experts at the facility, Queen Elizabeth was heard to say about coronavirus 'It's doubling itself again'.

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