Queen Elizabeth makes Russia quip in first outing in five months
Wednesday's outing was only Queen Elizabeth's fourth engagement outside palace walls since Britain first locked down a year ago Steve REIGATE POOL/AFP

Queen Elizabeth II made her first public appearance outside the walls of Windsor Castle in nearly five months on Wednesday, making a quip about the country's frosty relationship with Russia.

The 94-year-old monarch has been shielding due to the coronavirus pandemic, but ventured out to attend a military service in southeast England.

The maskless monarch said she was "delighted" to be out on engagements again, and shared a joke with an officer from the Royal Australian Air Force.

She asked him if the jets he worked with were "being sent off to chase the Russians?", to which he replied: "That's correct Ma'am, it's a lot of fun for us."

The British Air Force has, in recent months, intercepted an increasing number of Russian aircraft approaching UK airspace against a backdrop of increasing tensions between Moscow and London.

Wednesday's outing was only the queen's fourth engagement outside palace walls since Britain first locked down a year ago, and the first since she visited Westminster Abbey in November.

The monarch and her husband Philip, 99, received their first dose of the Covid vaccine in January.

Buckingham Palace did not publicise the royal couple's second vaccine dose, which is typically given in the Britain 12 weeks after the first.

© 2021 AFP