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The Queen and Prince William go to incredible lengths for public reunion - best photos

The monarch recently returned to Windsor Castle

queen william
Danielle Stacey
Online Royal CorrespondentLondon
Updated: 15 October 2020
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queen arrival© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen stepped out for her first public engagement since returning to Windsor Castle, with her grandson the Duke of Cambridge.

The monarch, 94, and William, 39, who is second-in-line to the throne, visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), near Salisbury, and formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre on Thursday.

HELLO! understands that all of those who came into close contact with the Queen and the Duke during their visit - 48 people - have been tested for COVID-19. Specific advice has been sought from the medical household and all relevant parties and all necessary precautions taken, working closely with Dstl.

The Queen arrived at the engagement by helicopter while the Duke travelled by car. 

William last accompanied his grandmother on an external public engagement in July 2017, when they met members of the community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

It also marked the first time we've seen Her Majesty publicly reunited with one of her family members in public after spending lockdown at Windsor Castle with the Duke of Edinburgh.

READ: Kate Middleton and Pippa Middleton's special reason to celebrate with family

WATCH: The Queen and Prince William open the Dstl's new Energetics Analysis Centre during joint royal engagement

queen pink coat© Photo: Getty Images

The monarch and her husband attended their granddaughter Princess Beatrice's wedding to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in July before departing for their annual summer break in Balmoral in August. The Cambridges were reportedly among the Queen's family members to visit Her Majesty in Scotland during the school holidays.

The Queen then spent some time privately with Prince Philip on the Sandringham estate before returning to Windsor Castle last week. 

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queen dstl© Photo: Getty Images

During their joint outing, the Queen and Prince William were given a private tour of the Energetics Enclosure, where they viewed displays of weaponry and tactics used in counterintelligence.

In the Energetics Analysis Centre, they viewed a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and met staff employed in Counter Terrorism and Security.

MORE: The Queen wows in pastel pink for radiant public return, and we're in love

queen william dstl© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen and William watched an explosive-detection scenario as police sniffer dog Max was tasked with finding explosives in a white van.

The Queen asked: "Is he more interested in the ball or the explosives?", and smiled when told: "Always the ball."

The monarch and the Duke also met Dstl staff involved in identifying the nerve agent and subsequent clear up of the Novichok incident of 2018, as well as scientists providing vital support to the UK response of the COVID-19 pandemic, working in analytic research areas and deploying microbiologists to NHS hospitals to increase testing capacities.

queen outfit© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen wore a Stewart Parvin old rose cashmere coat and silk dress of autumnal woodland florals with a matching hat by Rachel Trevor Morgan.

Her Majesty also added a further sweet touch to her outfit, wearing her Andrew Grima yellow gold, diamond and carved ruby brooch - which was a romantic gift from husband Prince Philip dating back to 1966. 

She also added pearl earrings, a pretty pink lipstick and her trusty Launer London handbag.

william visitors book© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen was on good form as she quipped while signing the guest book: "Well it proves we've been here, doesn’t it?"

Her Majesty's public outing was the first to have taken outside a royal residence in seven months. She was last seen at the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey with the royal family in March.

The monarch knighted Captain Sir Tom Moore for his fundraising in July in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where she also watched a mini socially distanced Trooping the Colour for her official birthday in June. 

MORE: Inside the Queen's second home Windsor Castle

william queen unveil plaque© Photo: Getty Images

Before departing, the pair unveiled a plaque to officially open the Dstl’s new £30 million Energetics Analysis Centre, used by scientists for counter-terrorist work.

When Her Majesty asked: "Where are you going to put it?" referring to the plaque, chief executive Gary Aitkenhead said: "In the foyer as a reminder of a very proud day."

queen william salisbury© Photo: Getty Images

After the royal visit, Mr Aitkenhead said: "There is no greater accolade than to have the Queen and the Duke of Cambridge open this extraordinary building, particularly during a global pandemic.

"We showed her just a small fraction of what we do here on this site.

"The focus was particularly on explosive detection, which was crucial to the Manchester Arena bombing attack and Parsons Green terrorist attacks.

"She was impressed actually at the range of people, the passion and the enthusiasm that all the staff here show.

"The work here at Porton Down is crucial to protecting the UK’s safety and if there is any kind of explosive threat, both at home or abroad, the team here are involved.

"We talk about the science inside; we are the science behind our country's military capability, policing, counter-terroism and national security."

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