London, United Kingdom:
Queen Elizabeth II made her first public appearance outside the walls of Windsor Castle in nearly five months on Wednesday, making a joke about the country’s icy relations with Russia.
The 94-year-old monarch has been protected due to the coronavirus pandemic, but has ventured out to attend military service in the south-east of England.
The maskless monarch said she was “thrilled” to be on mission again and shared a joke with a Royal Australian Air Force officer.
She asked him if the jets he was working with were “sent to chase the Russians?”, To which he replied: “That’s right Ma’am, it’s a lot of fun for us.”
The British Air Force has in recent months intercepted a growing number of Russian planes approaching British airspace amid growing tensions between Moscow and London.
Wednesday’s outing was only the Queen’s fourth engagement outside the palace walls since Britain was first shut down a year ago, and the first since she visited the Abbey of Westminster in November.
The monarch and her husband Philip, 99, received their first dose of the Covid vaccine in January.
Buckingham Palace has not made public the royal couple’s second dose of vaccine, which is typically given in Britain 12 weeks after the first.
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