Every time President Trump broke royal protocol


Officials and dignitaries are briefed on royal protocol before interacting with a member of the royal family. They’re instructed on how to greet them, the appropriate distance they should keep, and how to conduct themselves at meals.

But missteps inevitably happen, and President Donald Trump appears to have broken royal protocol on several occasions over his visits to the UK.

For what it’s worth, the royal family doesn’t seem to mind that much when people go off-script. Queen Elizabeth has reportedly called royal protocol “rubbish.”

Still, here are five times that Trump may not have followed the royal rules.


President Donald Trump appeared to keep Queen Elizabeth waiting on his first official visit to the UK in 2018.

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth waits for the arrival of Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump in 2018.

President Donald Trump reportedly kept Queen Elizabeth waiting at Windsor Castle on his first visit to the UK in 2018. The Queen was seen appearing to check her watch, but it was unclear whether or not Trump and the first lady were actually late, if the Queen was early, or if she just wanted to know what time it was.

Trump later said that reports that he was late were “fake news” and that he actually arrived at Windsor Castle 15 minutes early, despite photos taken of the Queen waiting.

Read more: Donald Trump says he wasn’t late for his meeting with the queen – and claims she was the one who kept him waiting


When Trump met the Queen, he went for a handshake instead of the traditional bow.

CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump shakes hands with Queen Elizabeth in 2018.

According to the royal family’s official website, “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting the Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”

Bowing or curtsying isn’t necessary when meeting a royal, and American presidents aren’t required to bow to foreign monarchs. But even Prince William and Prince Harry bow their heads to the Queen if they’re seeing her for the first time that day, and many world leaders choose to do so as a sign of respect.

When Trump met Queen Elizabeth, he broke from tradition and opted for a handshake.


Trump may have broken royal protocol again by walking in front of the Queen.

Walking in front of Her Majesty is considered a breach of royal protocol, according to The New York Times. When Trump met Queen Elizabeth in 2018, he appeared to walk in front of her and cut her off.


Trump eschewed traditional royal greetings again this year on his return to the UK.

VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty ImagesQueen Elizabeth shakes hands with Donald Trump at Buckingham Palace in 2019.

Trump went for a handshake upon greeting the Queen again in 2019. Melania also opted for a handshake in lieu of a curtsy.

Read more: Melania Trump broke a major royal protocol rule when meeting the Queen and Prince Charles


President Donald Trump appeared to touch Queen Elizabeth’s back at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

USA Today/YouTube/INSIDERPresident Donald Trump appeared to touch Queen Elizabeth to help her out of her seat.

Royal protocol dictates that one must not touch the Queen unless she offers her hand first.

About 14 and a half minutes into a USA TODAY livestream of the event, it looked like Trump lightly touched the Queen’s back as she rose from her seat, which would have been a breach of royal protocol.

Michelle Obama made a similar mistake in 2009 when she put her arm around the Queen, writing in her book “Becoming” that she didn’t realise until later that she had committed “what would be deemed as an epic faux pas.”

For what it’s worth, Queen Elizabeth also reportedly told Obama that royal protocol is “rubbish.”

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