Queen Elizabeth II exited lockdown today for a rare new public appearance. For the first time in five months, she attended an official engagement in person, doing so to mark the centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force's founding.
Queen Elizabeth's first public engagement of 2021
The Queen visited the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede, where she toured the site and spoke with service personnel. At one moment, the Queen was overheard asking a serviceman if his jets were "being sent off to chase the Russians?" He responded, "That's correct, ma'am, it's a lot of fun for us." The Queen answered, "Hmm."
Upon arriving at the memorial, the 94-year-old monarch also remarked on her personal longevity, joking: "It's a very long time since I've been here." According to Daily Mail, her last visit to the memorial was to attend its opening in 1953, just one year into her reign.
The Queen's rare new public appearance
Wednesday's outing for the Queen was her first in-person engagement since mid-October, when she joined Prince William to visit a laboratory in Wiltshire. That was also her first joint engagement with her grandson in over three years.
Since then, Queen Elizabeth was also seen in December with her family at Windsor Castle, welcoming home Prince William and Duchess Kate following their train tour of late 2020. She had kept busy with virtual engagements, but the Queen was now out once again and even went without a mask after having been vaccinated earlier this year.