President Trump met with the queen of England today and committed several protocol gaffes that left many feeling that his behavior was an insult to Britain and lacked the respect that should be shown the monarch — and if not a monarch, a 92-year-old woman.
The president was soundly condemned on social media for walking in front of Queen Elizabeth as they inspected a guard of honor of the Coldstream Guards. The queen was forced to bob and weave as she caught up to walk alongside him.
Trump did appear to notice, and in the video below you’ll see that as she catches up with him, she gives the tiniest gesture with her hand, signaling to him to continue walking.
Earlier, the president and first lady Melania Trump defied protocol when they greeted the queen: They did not bow or curtsy, but instead opted to simply shake hands. It is not obligatory to bow, as Americans are not her subjects, but doing so is widely considered good manners.
They also were late when meeting Queen Elizabeth, causing her to check her watch, on camera, several times. Overall, a certain deference to the queen is expected. Arrive before her, don’t speak unless spoken to or sit or eat until she has, and never turn your back or leave before she does. Trump managed to publicly flout a few of these rules of protocol.
And, as one person pointed out, his overall behavior was disrespectful and thoughtless toward an elderly woman, queen or not.
Commenters on Twitter were hard-pressed not to see his behavior with the queen and Prime Minister Theresa May as misogynistic.
Even though the royal family’s approach to royal protocol is reportedly much more relaxed than it used to be, these gaffes — intentional or not — are causing a bit of a backlash.
Trump will be the latest in a very long line of American presidents who have met Queen Elizabeth. HM has met with every sitting president since ascending to the throne in 1952, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson.
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