Aspiring hermits Prince Harry and Meghan Markle retreated to the notably reclusive borough of Manhattan today to visit the One World Observatory and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
The not-so-royal couple were accompanied by Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City.
But neither New York politician saw fit to don a face mask outside — nor did they ask their esteemed guests to.
Instead, Hochul, de Blasio, his wife Chirlane McCray and their son Dante, bared their faces and posed up close for photos with the Sussexes in front of the gathered crowd.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are in New York this morning and have just visited the World One Observatory with NY Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul.
Huge police operation for the Duke and Duchess. pic.twitter.com/x4gYFBcE0B
— Jamie Johnson (@JamieoJohnson) September 23, 2021
In case you needed reminding, a post on the New York City government website says: ‘A state order requires everyone over age 2 who can medically tolerate a face covering to wear one when outside their home if unable to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.’
This of course contradicts the New York City health department, which says, ‘Once you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to wear a mask outdoors or when gathering with friends and family at home or in other private settings.’
In August, Mayor de Blasio said he was hoping to ‘give a very clear message to all New Yorkers strongly recommending mask usage, regardless of vaccination status’.
Cockburn doesn’t blame Harry and Meghan for their confusion — and not just because they’ve lived in California for a while.
There are still some mask mandates in place in NYC, but, as Lionel Shriver describes in these pages, many of them are enforced by businesses rather than the state, city or federal government. ‘Loads of institutions, universities and employers have taken the public health crusade into their own hands, continuing to enforce strict, often scientifically senseless “COVID security” regulations that the law does not require,’ she writes.
And after a torrid start to the pandemic, the seven-day average death rate in New York City is currently…11.
Upon departure, Prince Harry told the Telegraph’s Jamie Johnson that his visit to the museum had been ‘great, thanks’ and gave him a thumbs-up.
Cockburn only wishes his uncle could have a similarly fruitful visit to the Big Apple. He gathers Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York would like a word.