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Queen had reportedly ‘got her second Covid jab’ ahead of first public engagement of year

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The Queen at the service to mark the Centenary of the Royal Australian Air Force in Surrey

STEVE REIGATE / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

The Queen ventured out of Windsor Castle yesterday, 31 March, for her first public engagement of the year as she paid tribute to the Royal Australian Air Force on its centenary. The 94-year-old monarch, whose 95th birthday is on the 21st of this month, visited the Commonwealth Air Forces Memorial in Runnymede, Surrey, to mark the occasion.

The Daily Mail reports that the Queen ‘got her second Covid jab’ before facing the public without a face mask yesterday. It is suggested that she made her appearance, which ties in closely with 12 weeks since she received her first Covid jab, after getting her second dose of the vaccine. While the Queen has been very busy attending virtual meetings over Zoom, this was her very first in-person engagement in a long time. The last public engagement attended by the Queen was a performance at Windsor Castle by a Salvation Army band last December.

The Queen during her visit to The Royal Australian Air Force Memorial

Steve Reigate – WPA Pool / Getty Images

The Queen looked remarkably well, she was wearing a lime green and ivory dress and jacket by Angela Kelly with a matching hat, embellished with faux daffodils and orchids, and the Australian wattle brooch presented to her on her first tour of Australia in 1954.

The Queen joked: ‘It’s a very long time since I’ve been here,’ as she arrived at the memorial, which she had opened in her coronation year, on 17 October, 1953. She added: ‘You’ve got a good day for it. It’s a very windy spot normally,’ as the UK basked in the last of the March heatwave.

The Queen at the Runnymede Memorial Unveiling, 1953

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The Queen spoke to one RAAF officer about working with Typhoon jets in Northumberland, asking if they were ‘being sent off to chase the Russians?’ He replied: ‘That’s correct Ma’am, it’s a lot of fun for us!’ During the service a wreath was laid on behalf of the Queen by her new equerry, Major Thomas White. 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 in for maintenance.

The Queen during a visit to The Royal Australian Air Force Memorial

Steve Reigate – WPA Pool / Getty Images

In a foreword the Queen said: ‘As one of the oldest Air Forces in the world, it is fitting to pay tribute to the efficiency, skill and sacrifice of the men and women who have served in its ranks, in Australia and overseas, during the past one hundred years. Throughout my reign, the Royal Australian Air Force has shown immense dedication to duty and has defended our freedom in many conflicts around the world.’

To round things off, the Times writes that the Queen was reportedly given the promise of a present, to be delivered once they have been made: two RAAF dog jackets for her new corgis.

The Queen at the Runnymede Memorial Unveiling, 1953

PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

The event comes as the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, recovers at home after undergoing heart surgery at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London earlier this month. Today, 1 April, also marks the first anniversary of ‘Megxit’, Meghan and Harry’s formal departure from the Royal Family.

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