President Donald Trump and his family are leaving for the UK next week for his first state visit after several delays, again highlighting the Royal Protocol issue – which is acceptable and unacceptable when he meets Queen Elizabeth.
Last summer, during a working visit to the UK, Trump made headlines when he shook hands with the 92-year-old monarch instead of bowing.
Although the move was criticized by some online, it was not against the rules (as they are).
“There are no mandatory codes of conduct when meeting the queen or a member of the royal family,” according to the royal family’s official website, “but many people want to observe the traditional forms.”
For men, this means “a neck bow (only of the head).” For women, “a little reverence”.
However, the website says: “Other people prefer to just shake hands in the usual way.”
A handshake is not unusual for a president or a first lady: Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have also chosen to shake the queen’s hand during her shower at Windsor Castle in 2016.
Trump was first invited to a state visit – an offer to be extended by the Queen – in 2017, but it was repeatedly repulsed, speculating that the delay was due to concerns about the protests he might encounter.
In addition to other controversies in his relationship with Britain, Trump sparked intense tensions in June 2017 after attacking the mayor of London in the aftermath of a terrorist attack there.
In July he met the Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in the midst of the expected protests about his work trip. A “Stop Trump March” in London attracted tens of thousands of people.
The state visit is three days next week, Monday to Wednesday, and includes a private lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, tea with Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The queen also organizes a state banquet for the president.
In an interview prior to his meeting with the Queen last year, Trump said: “She is a wonderful woman. I’m really looking forward to meeting her. I think she represents her country so well. “