For a large part of the coronavirus pandemic, Kate Middleton and Prince William have done remote engagements over Zoom. But when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started doing in-person events again in June, the two opted not to wear masks and instead social distance from the people they were talking to, a move that prompted some outrage among royal fans.
On Tuesday, Kate embraced PPE and the opportunity to be a royal role model. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a floral mask with a white shirt dress during her Baby Basics event in Sheffield.
The Duchess did take it off at one point for some photos, but still, the optics were there in some pictures: She’s wearing a mask out of courtesy to others and so should everyone else, public figures and royals included.
Then on Wednesday, she was back to old non-mask wearing ways. She and Prince William, both mask-less, made a surprise visit to Wales. Kate wore a Emilia Wickstead dress. For what it’s worth, the Wales government advises its citizens to wear masks in situations where they can’t keep six feet (two meters) apart from others. In England, it is legally required that citizens wear a mask in most indoor public settings.
Prior to this week’s two engagements, Kate had only done three in-person events, where she and the people around her did not wear masks.
On July 5, she and William visited Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn without masks. Other guests didn’t seem to wear them around Kate and William either. Ironically, the Duke and Duchess were there celebrating the NHS’s birthday and have been championing the NHS’ work combatting COVID-19 on their social media throughout the pandemic.
Kate’s second event was on June 25 when she visited The Nook in the village of Framlingham Earl. She wore a floral dress and again, no mask. When talking to people there, she tried to keep some distance (at least two meters—or 6.5 feet—is recommended by the NHS).
Kate’s first in-person event since quarantine began was June 18. The Duchess visited Fakenham Garden Centre in Norfolk. No one wore masks, but they did seem to keep an appropriate distance from other people:
Before the Cambridges started quarantining, they visited NHS 111 in March to thank healthcare workers for their efforts to combat COVID-19 but didn’t wear masks. (William, for what it’s worth, first wore a mask during a late June engagement.)