After endless awkward hand-holding opportunities with Theresa May came the crowning moment (excuse the pun) of Donald Trump's first official trip to the UK.
Though the visit had been downgraded from a state visit to a working one (he wouldn't address the Houses of Parliament, there would be no official banquet in his honour, and there would be no overnight stay at the Palace), he and his wife Melania would still be meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, for afternoon tea at Windsor Castle.
The couple arrived (a reported 15 minutes late, no less) at Windsor on Friday afternoon, apparently managing to avoid passing the crowds of protestors that had lined the streets. After paying homage to British fashion with her choice of a striped Victoria Beckham dress, worn for engagements in London while her husband met with Theresa May, the FLOTUS changed into a cream Dior skirt suit for her royal moment, an outfit which – dare we say it – wouldn't look out of place in the Duchess of Sussex's working wardrobe. (Indeed, when Melania touched down in the UK wearing a grey shift by Roland Mouret, the sartorial comparisons with Meghan were unavoidable.)
But Donald Trump's controversial trip to Windsor Castle was surely never going to run smoothly: what could possibly go wrong when a President not known for his expert handling of decorum and etiquette meets The Queen, a head of state whose day-to-day manners and interactions are codified by centuries of royal tradition?
Spoiler alert: it seems that Trump's White House aides neglected to brief the President on the most important tenets of royal etiquette. The Commander in Chief managed to pack not one but three major protocol slip-ups into the first stage of his royal meeting.
If there's a golden rule for meeting the Queen, it's not to be late. However, Trump didn't seem to be aware of this: he and Melania reportedly arrived around 15 minutes late to Windsor Castle, leaving the 92-year-old monarch standing around in the summer heat. Eagle-eyed royal watchers noticed her checking her watch a number of times before the President's arrival.
OK, this break in protocol is somewhat up for debate. While these days, the rules about bowing and curtseying when you meet a member of the royal family are less strictly observed: indeed, the family's official website suggests that there are 'no obligatory codes of behaviour.' However, a small bow (a nod of the head would do) or curtsey (which doesn't need to be a full Theresa May manouevre) has long been considered a sign of respect for The Queen. Both Donald Trump and Melania opted out, choosing a handshake instead. Let's just thank heavens that his grip didn't appear too vice-like this time...
And here's the big one... It's considered very disrespectful to turn your back on The Queen, but Trump did just that when he strode ahead of Her Majesty while inspecting the Guard of Honour, at one point eclipsing her entirely. Ever the consummate professional, the Queen merely stepped to the side and kept to her pace.
Via our sister site Grazia.
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