Sprightly Queen, 94, keeps calm and carries on without a face mask

Queen, 94, keeps calm and carries on without a mask outside after having her second jab – while cautious Joe Biden, 78, sticks to wearing two WHEREVER he goes

  • Queen was in Runnymede, Surrey, yesterday for first public engagement of 2021 outside Windsor Castle
  • She is now said to have received second Covid-19 jab some 12 weeks after first was revealed on January 9
  • Source says event at Air Forces memorial was outside and ‘took place in line with government guidelines’
  • Queen’s approach is in contrast to US President Joe Biden who regularly wears a mask even when outdoors 

The Queen, 94, looked carefree at her first public engagement away from Windsor Castle in five months yesterday while following England’s rules that allow her to go without a face covering outdoors.

But one of the world’s other elder statesmen Joe Biden, 78, continues to stick to the letter of his health experts’ recommendations by wearing two coverings even when outside – a cloth mask on top of a disposable mask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recommends that people wear masks in any public settings – and many of Mr Biden’s Democrat supporters are in favour of strict mask precautions.

The CDC also recommends that people can get the highest protection against coronavirus by wearing two masks at the same time, which can help block Covid-19 particles from exiting and entering the airway.  

But the fully-vaccinated US President is facing some criticism at home for continuing to wear a mask despite the CDC’s guidance stating that vaccinated people don’t have to wear them if they’re gathering with others who have received their shots.

Biden has been fully vaccinated for more than two months after receiving his second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on January 11. People are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second vaccine shot, according to the CDC.  

Biden, however, has continued to wear his mask for photo opportunities in the Oval Office and White House. On many occasions he is joined by Vice President Kamala Harris who is also fully vaccinated.

By contrast, the Queen, 94, has only be seen wearing a mask once, on November 7 last year when she had one on during a poignant visit to the grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of his burial.

Public Health England says people should wear masks indoors to protect against Covid-19 droplets from the mouth and nose which can be spread when someone breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. But are not required when outside, given that the risk of transmission is significantly reduced when there is increased ventilation. 

The Queen, 94, resumed public duties without a mask yesterday, left, while Joe Biden, right, continues to wear a mask

NO MASK, OUTDOORS: At the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede, Surrey, yesterday

NO MASK, OUTSIDE: With William and Kate in the quadrangle at Windsor Castle to meet volunteers on December 8 last year

MASK, INSIDE: At Westminster Abbey to mark the centenary of the burial of the Unknown Warrior on November 7 last year

NO MASK, OUTSIDE: During the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph on Whitehall on November 8 last year

MASK, INDOORS: At the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire on October 15 last year

NO MASK, OUTDOORS: Knighting NHS fundraising hero Captain Sir Thomas Moore at Windsor Castle on July 17 last year

Yesterday, the Queen travelled to Runnymede, Surrey, for her first public engagement of the year outside Windsor Castle as she attended a service at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Air Forces Memorial.

The event – at which the Queen paid tribute to the Royal Australian Air Force on its centenary – comes after she was said to have received her second coronavirus jab, some 12 weeks after her first was announced on January 9.

There was no legal requirement for the Queen to wear a mask because the ceremony was held outside, and social distancing was also in place – along with the likelihood that all those attending had been tested for Covid-19.  

The Queen’s approach is very different to that of Mr Biden who regularly wears one or two masks even when outdoors. The US President received his second Covid-19 jab on January 11, three weeks after getting his first. 

He was mocked for wearing masks by ex-president Donald Trump, who said at a debate last October: ‘Every time you see him he’s got a mask. He could be speaking 200ft away and he shows up with biggest mask I’ve ever seen.’ 

Buckingham Palace has not commented on reports about the Queen’s second vaccine or the lack of masks. But a royal source confirmed to MailOnline that the event was held outside and ‘in line with government guidelines’. 

The Queen was last seen outside her Berkshire home on November 8 last year when she attended the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Westminster, where she was not wearing a mask outdoors. However, one day earlier on November 7, she wore a face mask in public for the first time at Westminster Abbey.

The head of state followed Government regulations and adopted the covering when she visited the place of worship for a brief ceremony – which was her first public engagement in London since March 2020. 

Members of the Royal Family from the Prince of Wales to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had appeared at official events wearing face coverings for months leading up to November, and the Queen then followed suit.  

Details about the black mask with white edging were not released by Buckingham Palace – but it is thought to have been made by Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal adviser and curator, who designs many of her outfits. 

A few weeks earlier on October 15 she was joined by her grandson Prince William to visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down in Wiltshire – but did not wear a mask on this occasion. 

At the time, Graham Smith from Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, said the Queen should have been ‘setting an example’, adding: ‘I can’t see how this fits with the rules everyone else is expected to follow.’

But royal commentator Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said while the Queen and William would inevitably be criticised, medical advice would have been carefully followed. 

The Duke of Cambridge and the rest of the 48 people the monarch met were tested for coronavirus beforehand, and social distancing – including between William and his grandmother – was carried out during the event.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said at the time: ‘Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and relevant parties, and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with DSTL.’ 

MASK, OUTDOORS: President Joe Biden at Pittsburgh International Airport ahead of an infrastructure speech yesterday

MASK, INDOORS: Joe Biden speaks before signing a law in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC on Tuesday

MASK, OUTDOORS: Talking to reporters as he leaves the White House to travel to Wilmington in Delaware on March 26

NO MASK, INDOORS: Joe Biden at his first formal news conference in the East Room of the White House on March 25

MASK, OUTDOORS: Arrives at John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio to board Air Force One on March 23

MASK, INDOORS: Joe Biden receives the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination in Delaware on January 11

TWO MASKS, OUTDOORS: Joe Biden wears two masks at Raleigh-Durham Airport in North Carolina on October 18 last year

Porton Down has pioneered Covid-19 diagnostic testing and so was able to test everyone prior to them coming into contact with the royals. The Queen also arrived by helicopter separately from the Duke, who travelled by car. 

Rules on wearing face masks in Britain and USA 


Face coverings are required by law in certain indoor settings such as on public transport, in shops and places of worship.

The Government recommends wearing a face covering in indoor places where social distancing may be difficult and where the public come into contact with those they do not normally meet.

There are legal exemptions relating to age, health or disability for not wearing a face covering when required.

Government advice states that those who have had the vaccine should still follow national guidance, including wearing a face mask and practising social distancing.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recommends that people wear masks in public settings, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.

Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the US and in US transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

The CDC also advises that those who have been fully vaccinated should still continue wearing a mask and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. 

Small groups of those taking part in the royal visit were arranged two metres apart for social distancing, with marks on the floor where they should stand. 

In England, face coverings are required by law in certain indoor settings such as on public transport, in shops and places of worship.

The Government recommends wearing a face covering in indoor places where social distancing may be difficult and where the public come into contact with those they do not normally meet.

The Queen has been continuing to carry out her duties as head of state during the pandemic with many of them being virtual royal engagements via video call, including one where she encouraged people to have the vaccine.

A number of high-profile events have been staged in the grounds of Windsor Castle including a ceremony on July 17, 2020 where the Queen knighted veteran NHS fundraiser Captain Sir Tom Moore, neither of whom wore a mask.

The Queen, who is at a greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of her age, delivered two rare televised addresses to the nation just weeks apart during the first wave of the pandemic. 

The monarch has only ventured from HMS Bubble – the nickname for her reduced household of staff – on a few occasions for events, and watched a mini socially distanced Trooping the Colour for her official birthday at Windsor Castle last June.

The Royal Family has sported an assortment of face coverings during the pandemic – from the Duchess of Cornwall’s trendy leopard print mask to the Duchess of Cambridge’s classic floral Liberty fabric ones.

Some have been topical such as Camilla’s poppy-covered Royal British Legion mask at the Field of Remembrance ahead of Armistice Day last year.

Others have been practical and in keeping with their surroundings when the Duke of Cambridge wore a sterile blue surgical mask as he met scientists searching for a vaccine. 

Heir to the throne the Prince of Wales incorporated his charitable credentials when selecting a mask.

He was first seen in a covering in Belfast last September, wearing one made by artisans from Burma and sold by his organisation Turquoise Mountain, which works to protect heritage and communities at risk around the world.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wear face masks at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London on November 7 last year 

Prince Charles wears a face mask as he speaks to staff during a visit to The Ritz in London on December 10 last year

The Duchess of Cornwall wears a mask and visor at a Royal Voluntary Service event in Rickmansworth on October 8 last year

Princess Anne visits Citizens Advice Harlow in Essex on September 11 last year while wearing a face mask

Sophie, Countess of Wessex wears a mask as a St John Ambulance care volunteer at an NHS vaccine centre on February 25 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wear face masks as they volunteer with Baby2Baby in Los Angeles on August 21 last year

Diana, Princess of Wales channelled the royal face mask look some 24 years ago when visiting Harefield Hospital in 1996

William wore a surgical face mask when he viewed the removal of a bladder tumour at the Royal Marsden in London in 2013

Turquoise Mountain supports weavers in Burma and the prince’s blue £6.50 reusable mask was made by Nuu Nuu Pan whose family fled ongoing conflict in the region and has been living in a refugee camp since 2010.

‘Are they being sent to chase off the Russians?’: What Her Majesty asked jet fighter controller

The Queen was on sparkling form as she asked an airman about being sent to ‘chase the Russians’ at her first public engagement of the year outside Windsor.

She paid tribute to the Royal Australian Air Force on its centenary during a service at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, Surrey yesterday. The Queen, 94, wore a lime green and ivory dress and jacket by Angela Kelly with matching hat, and the wattle brooch presented to her during her 1954 tour of Australia, but did not wear a face covering.

She quizzed Squadron Leader Matthew Sander about his job as a fighter controller for Typhoon jets and asked if they had been ‘sent off to chase the Russians’. He replied: ‘That’s correct, Ma’am, it’s a lot of fun for us!’

The ceremony began with a flypast by the Red Arrows, but with white smoke only instead of the familiar red, white and blue. As they do not normally perform at this time of year, their smoke pods are being serviced. 

Afterwards the Queen was shown the names of some of the 1,383 Australian war dead who are commemorated on a panel at the memorial and was promised a present – two RAAF dog jackets for her new corgis, to be delivered once they have been made. ‘That’s very kind,’ she said. ‘I look forward to it.’

Of her first public engagement beyond the walls of Windsor Castle since November’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph, the Queen – who had her first Covid-19 vaccination in January – said: ‘I’m delighted to be here.’

Prince Philip, 99, is continuing to recover at home after undergoing heart surgery at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

Kate is a fan of delicately patterned floral masks – and was first seen in a face covering last August during a tour of Baby Basics UK which helped provide struggling families with nappies and infant clothing during lockdown. The Pink Pepper Liberty pattern mask from Amaia Kids costs £15. 

Kate has also used the Blue Pepper and Yellow Pepper versions made by the London-based boutique, whose clothes are often worn by the Cambridge children. 

Camilla was pictured in a mask for the first time at an official engagement last July, and joked about whether anyone could hear her speak.

The stylish blue Liberty peacock print mask was made by couture designer Fiona Clare as a birthday gift from a friend, and matched the navy blue shade of the duchess’s dress. 

It was a bespoke creation but can now be made to order by Fiona Clare for £48.

The Duchess opted for a striking leopard print face mask when she helped pack lunches for African Caribbean pensioners at the Pepper Pot Centre in West London last October.

Clarence House said the mask was a handmade gift from a member of the public. The Duchess has also chosen to wear clear visors, expressing her preference for those instead.

She was heard saying while wearing a fabric mask: ‘I cannot speak through this. It’s quite hard having a conversation. Those visors are much easier.’

The Princess Royal has worn a white monogrammed face mask featuring a small capital ‘A’ for Anne beneath a crown.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were both seen wearing masks as they volunteered by helping to prepare meals for NHS hospitals during lockdown last June.

Former working royals the Duke and Duchess of Sussex also stepped out in masks Stateside.

Meghan was pictured wearing a blue and white striped fabric one by Royal Jelly Harlem – an African-inspired clothing and home decorating line based in New York – as they volunteered at a drive-through run by Los Angeles charity Baby2Baby, which provides basic necessities for families in need.

Diana, Princess of Wales channelled the royal face mask look some 24 years ago. She wore a surgical face covering, gown and hair covering when she was filmed watching a heart operation at Harefield Hospital in 1996.

William wore the same when he viewed sections of a breast reconstruction procedure and the removal of a bladder tumour at the Royal Marsden in London in 2013. 

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