8 ways Trump could offend the Queen during his state visit to the UK

  • US President Donald Trump is visiting the UK this week.
  • During his three-day stay, he will meet the Queen for the second time.
  • Some fear the president will slip up on the myriad of protocols that surround meeting Her Majesty.
  • Speaking to ITV News last year, former royal butler Grant Harrold broke down what Trump will have to remember.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US President Donald Trump has arrived in the UK for a controversial three-day visit.

The president was welcomed with a rude message near London’s Stansted Airport where he arrived on Air Force One on Monday morning.

Large protests are scheduled in central London against Trump on Tuesday, with a giant blimp of the president depicted in a diaper set to make a second appearance following his first trip to the UK as president last year.

On Monday, Trump arrived at Buckingham Palace where he was greeted by Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Queen. Later, he and his wife Melania will dine at a full state banquet with the Queen and senior members of May’s government, though several politicians are boycotting the event, including Mayor Sadiq Khan of London with whom the president has been jousting on Twitter.

Read more: Trump attacks Sadiq Khan as a ‘stone cold loser’ after London mayor compares him to a fascist

Trump’s second meeting with the Queen is highly anticipated as many fear the unpredictable president could break some of the innumerable protocols that surround meeting Her Majesty.

Speaking to ITV News last year, former royal butler Grant Harrold broke down exactly what the president will have to remember during his time with the Queen.


1. You can look, but you can’t touch

“I always say to people that with members of the Royal Family, you can look but you can’t touch.” Harrold told ITV.

Trump is infamous for his over-the-top handshakes, but he will have to let Her Majesty take the lead when they greet each other, as protocol dictates that the Queen must offer her hand first for a handshake to take place.

It is also advisable that the president does not shake the 93-year-old’s hand too vigorously.


2. Let the Queen take the lead

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James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) walks just behind the Queen in a sketch for the Olympics in 2012.
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BBC

The Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms does not follow – she leads – something Trump will have to bear in mind.

“If they’re going somewhere or having a walk around,” Harrold said, “the Queen will actually walk slightly in front or alongside Mr Trump.”


3. Remember how to address her

NATO entered an emergency session last year after Trump broke diplomatic protocol by reportedly calling the German leader Angela Merkel by her first name.

This won’t fly with the Queen.

“When you meet the Queen for the first time, the correct term is to say ‘Your Majesty,’ and then after that, it’s ‘Ma’am,’ as in ham, and then when you’re leaving her presence you might then repeat ‘Your Majesty’ to finish the conversation,” Harrold said.


4. Wait to be offered a seat before you sit

“Donald Trump shouldn’t sit down … until the Queen sits down,” Harrold said. “The Queen should actually sit down first, and she will offer a chair to Mr Trump as she sits down, and then it’s a sign that he can then sit down.”

When they’re done talking, he said, Trump should watch for when the Queen is rising from her chair, and get up at the same time.


5. Do not eat too fast or too slowly

On their state visit, Donald and Melania Trump will enjoy a state banquet with the Queen and senior members of the UK government – which involves another myriad of rules and protocols.

“He’s got to remember even though he’s president, the member of the Royal Family will be the first to start eating, so he will have to wait until … the Queen begins eating – which is a very strict rule,” Harrold said. “And then when the Queen has finished, that means that the course is over, so it will then be cleared.”

He added: “So it’s worth him bearing in mind that he’s got to be quite a fast eater, and keep an eye on what the Queen’s doing at all times.”


6. Put the phones away

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President Donald Trump talks on the phone aboard Air Force One.
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White House

Let’s hope the president isn’t expecting any important calls during the visit, as the Queen operates a strict no phones policy.

“Unfortunately for Mr Trump, when he’s with Her Majesty the Queen, there’ll be no phones to be shown,” Harrold said.


7. Do not mention Brexit

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President Donald Trump speaks to Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May.
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Reuters/Thierry Charlier

It’s paramount that the Queen and all members of the Royal Family remain politically neutral – therefore Trump is advised to steer clear of any kind of political topics of conversation.


8. Bow, but bow properly

Donald and Melania Trump are not required to bow since they’re not British citizens. But if they do decide to bow or curtsy, they should do so correctly.

Bowing should be done from the neck, subtly, not from the waist, Harrold explained. And if the first lady chooses to curtsy, she should do so with her right foot behind the left.

Watch the video interview with Harrold on ITV here »