Queen visits Wiltshire military base in first public engagement since lockdown

The Queen has visited a Wiltshire military base in what is her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since lockdown.

The 94-year-old monarch was joined by her grandson the Duke of Cambridge at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down near Salisbury.

She met scientists at the base, who are working as part of the UK’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Queen arrived in a helicopter while William arrived by car. Credit: PA

The royal pair were also introduced to staff who were involved in the Novichok poisoning attack in Salisbury in 2018.

Neither the monarch nor William wore a face mask when they arrived, though they arrived separately and walked two metres apart as they greeted staff.

A number of heightened security measures were also taken ahead of the visit to protect the royals from coronavirus, including the testing of staff and enhanced social distancing.

Heightened security measures were put in place ahead of the Queen's visit. Credit: PA

Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with Dstl.

Buckingham Palace spokeswoman

It is the first time the Queen has ventured from a royal residence, outside of her household of reduced staff - dubbed HMS Bubble - to carry out her duties as head of state since before lockdown.

But the Salisbury engagement comes amid a resurgence of the virus, as the country battles a second wave and stricter restrictions for some areas.

For more on the Queen’s visit, click here to read our Royal Editor Chris Ship’s analysis.

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