- There are particular rules to follow about the proper way to interact with members of the royal family.
- President Donald Trump called reports that he was late to meet Queen Elizabeth in 2018 “fake news” after she was photographed appearing to look at her watch.
- Bows and curtsies are traditional greetings, but Trump has opted for handshakes.
- Royal protocol dictates that you shouldn’t touch a royal unless they extend their hand, and Trump appeared to touch the Queen at a state dinner.
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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.
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.
When Trump met the Queen, he went for a handshake instead of the traditional bow.
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.
Trump went for a handshake upon greeting the Queen again in 2019. Melania also opted for a handshake in lieu of a curtsy.
President Donald Trump appeared to touch Queen Elizabeth’s back at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.
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.”
- Read more:
- 10 times the royals broke their own protocol in 2018
- The Queen thinks royal protocol is ‘rubbish,’ according to Michelle Obama
- Commoners’ most hilarious reactions when meeting royals
- Every time Meghan Markle broke royal protocol
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