US President Donald Trump has been in the UK for less than 24 hours, and there have already been a series of gaffes and protocol breaks.
The latest is a seemingly-innocent gesture that took place during the white tie state banquet at Buckingham Palace last night.
As the Queen was delivering her speech, eloquently talking about their respective countries’ future together, Trump reached over and briefly put his hand on Her Majesty’s back.
While it doesn’t seem untoward, touching the Queen in any way other than a handshake is considered a serious ‘no-no’.
Michelle Obama was criticised for hugging the Queen when she was First Lady, while LeBron James was famously shamed for putting his arm around Kate Middleton in the US.
The official statement on the royals’ website states: “There are no obligatory codes of behaviour when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family” but there are a series of protocols for those who “wish to observe the traditional forms”.
These traditional forms also include bowing or curtseying to the Monarch, which the Trumps also did not do.
Fist bumping instead
Men are expected to bow their heads, and women to bend their knees for a small curtsy, but handshakes are also accepted.
The President and First Lady opted for the latter, and funnily enough, Trump’s handshake also drew attention for looking more like a fist bump.
Body language expert Judi James told The Express, “Trump’s greeting ritual with the Queen could have looked awkward and a still from it could make the gesture look dangerously like a fist-bump”.
“But as Trump approached he shook from a respectful distance and if the Queen performed her signature ‘fingers only’ handshake he seemed to have curled his own fingers in, leaving his hand looking as though it was forming a fist-like shape.”
Charles also broke protocol
Meeting the royals means navigating a minefield of traditions and protocols, and the first interaction of the Trumps’ three-day state visit began with a breach of protocol on Charles’ part.
Usually, it is the Monarch who greets state guests first, as she and the Duke of Edinburgh did for the Obamas on their state visit, and this deliberate change of pace has been widely considered as another way the Queen is handing over responsibilities to her heir.
Awkward hand hold
It wouldn’t be a Trump visit without an awkward, hand-swatting moment, and while this one isn’t the best we’ve seen from Melania, it’s still quite entertaining.
As the couple touched down in London for the start of their visit, the President was seen clumsily reaching for his wife’s hand.
She grabs it, and they hold hands for a few moments before she breaks away to push hair away from her face and then keep her hand across her body.
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