Royal Corner

The Queen Returns to Public Engagements

Her Majesty was joined by her grandson, The Duke of Cambridge, on her first public engagement since the moving back to Windsor.

OCTOBER 15th, 2020

© Getty Images


he Queen has conducted her first public engagement today since returning to Windsor Castle earlier this month. The monarch was joined by her grandson the Duke of Cambridge for the visit to Porton Down, home of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL). The Royals were there to officially open the new Energetics Analysis Centre, as well as meet with staff employed in Counter Terrorism and Security.

The engagement was also an opportunity for the Queen to meet with scientists providing vital support to the UK’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to offer her personal thanks.

The Queen arrives at Porton Down and was greeted by Dtsl’s Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead - © Getty Images

For the visit the Queen wore a Stewart Pervin old rose cashmere coat and silk dress of autumnal woodland florals and accessorised the outfit with a matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan. She also added her Andrew Grima yellow gold, diamond and ruby brooch, which was a gift from her husband Prince Phillip in 1966.

To ensure the safety of all those attending today, all relevant precautions were taken, including all 48 DSTL staff meeting with the royals testing negative for COVID-19. Furthermore, the Queen arrived at the engagement by helicopter and her grandson by car. After fans noted that the Queen wasn’t wearing a mask, a requirement in certain areas in the UK, 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 Dtsl.’

This is down to the Porton Down not listed as an essential setting for a mask to be worn as adequate social distancing can be maintained. Furthermore, due to the nature of their work, they are tested regularly to ensure they can carry out their work in a safe environment.

The royals were greeted by Dtsl’s Chief Executive Gary Aitkenhead who took the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge on a private tour of a new weaponry and tactical centre, which is used by intelligence agencies. It was here where they met with the team who had investigated and identified the novichok poison used in Salisbury in 2018.

The Queen was joined by Prince William for the engagement - © Getty Images

The royals were introduced to staff who assisted with the clean-up of the novichok attack in Salisbury in 2018 - © Getty Images

The Queen was given a demonstration - © Getty Images

© Getty Images

Prince William later presented the Firmin Sword of Peace to members of 102 Logistics Brigade, in recognition of the military’s work in cleaning up the area of the attack and for “going above and beyond their normal duties in the community.”

The Queen was followed by her grandson in signing a guest book and made a sweet joke, quipping: “Well, it proves we’ve been here, doesn’t it?”

Prince William later presented the Firmin Sword of Peace to members of 102 Logistics Brigade - © Getty Images

Prince William later presented the Firmin Sword of Peace to members of 102 Logistics Brigade - © Getty Images

The Duke of Cambridge signs the guest book as The Queen looks on - © Getty Images

Her Majesty later unveiled a plaque to officially open the new £30m Energetics Analysis Centre and asked Chief Executive, Gary Aitkenhead: “What are you going to do with it?”

He replied: “We’ll display it with pride in the lobby as a reminder of a great day.”

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