- Donald and Melania Trump broke a major royal protocol rule by shaking hands with members of the royal family instead of curtsying and bowing on Tuesday.
- The moment was captured on video as the President and First Lady greeted the Queen, Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Cornwall at the NATO reception at Buckingham Palace.
- The couple also ignored this tradition during their State visit in June.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Donald and Melania Trump broke a major royal protocol rule during a visit to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday.
Upon their arrival to the NATO reception, the US President and the First Lady were greeted by Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, and Camilla, marking their second State visit this year after their trip to the palace in June.
A video of the meeting shows both the President and Melania opting for handshakes instead of a traditional bow or curtsy.
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump mingle with the Queen and the Royal Family at a reception for the Nato summit at Buckingham Palace. #RoyalFamily #NatoSummit #DonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/kUfF7QAD75
— The Royal Family Channel (@RoyalFamilyITNP) December 3, 2019
According to the royal family’s official guidelines, there are “no obligatory codes of behaviour” when meeting a royal. However, there are certain traditions that are usually followed.
The website advises that “while some people prefer to shake hands in the usual way,” the traditional form of greeting Her Majesty and other members of the family would be to bow or curtsy.
“For men, this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way,” the website reads.
“On presentation to the Queen, the correct formal address is ‘Your Majesty’ and subsequently ‘Ma’am,’ pronounced with a short ‘a,’ as in ‘jam.’
“For male members of the Royal Family, the same rules apply, with the title used in the first instance being ‘Your Royal Highness’ and subsequently ‘Sir.'”
This rule is even followed by other members of the royal family while greeting the Queen in public. Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle curtsied to Her Majesty and Prince Philip during a Christmas Day service in Sandringham in 2017, while Princes Harry and William bowed their heads.
- Chris Jackson/Getty Images
The video also shows Melania extending a hand towards the Duchess of Cornwall – something that you’re never supposed to do, according to an etiquette expert.
Prince Charles’ former butler, Grant Harrold, previously told Insider that “you should never offer your hand to shake – wait for them to initiate the handshake.”
“A royal handshake should consist of two-to-three pumps, with your palms open and thumbs down,” he added.
The women appear to have a rather informal relationship. This photo of them sharing a hug and a kiss on the cheek was taken at the duchess’ home, Clarence House, shortly before the palace reception that evening.
- Chris Jackson/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
This marks the second time this year that the President and First Lady have ignored protocol. During their State visit in June, the couple again opted for handshakes instead of a bow or curtsy while greeting the royals.
However, at the time there was slight debate over whether the president bowed his head when meeting Her Majesty.
Anne Gearan of the Washington Post, the designated “pool” reporter at the event on behalf of US media, said of the greeting: “Pool could not see this, but an up-close viewer reports that the president bowed slightly to greet the queen.”
According to White House protocol documents from the Ford administration, the Queen doesn’t always expect Americans to follow this rule.
“The Queen does not expect Americans to curtsy or bow, especially in an informal situation,” the guidelines read.