“Mr Trump appeared momentarily unsure of what he was supposed to do, forcing the Queen to walk around the back of him to get onto his right hand side for the inspection to proceed.”
Trump walking in front of the Queen and then stopping is just great pic.twitter.com/F2qo8maJ5f
— Daniel Orton (@MisterOrton) July 13, 2018
And that’s not the only breach of royal etiquette he was accused of. Earlier, he faced even harsher allegations from the U.K. Independent.
“Mr Trump and Melania, the first lady, defied protocol when they greeted the Queen: Mr Trump failed to bow and Ms Trump did not curtsy, instead simply shaking hands,” they reported.
— Joanna Gasiorowska (@JoGasiorowska) July 13, 2018
The one issue with that is that, according to the U.K. Mirror, Trump actually did bow, although it was apparently short in duration.
This wasn’t a whole lot different for the Obamas, who also committed breaches of royal protocol. The press took a slightly more jovial tone with them (Time Magazine even defended Michelle Obama when she committed the venal sin of touching the queen, noting that “The First Lady of the United States is not required to curtsey before her or any other crowned head. In any case, the touch lasted just a second or two, and the Queen did not seem particularly perturbed — though she appeared slightly surprised as she drew away”).
This all said, it was another excuse for Britons to take to Twitter to protest Trump:
Trump is rude to the Queen by cutting her off as they walk.
If I saw one of my teenagers doing this to anyone's grandmother … we'd have a problem but you know what? My teenage boys would never do this.
Trump has not one redeeming quality. He's so disgusting https://t.co/8AjUL4kSIo
— ☇RiotWomenn☇ (@riotwomennn) July 13, 2018
Many of these people spitting mad online aren’t even British, and I’m sure their outrage has nothing to do with what they think of Trump as a person. They care deeply about royal protocol, something they didn’t know about until a half an hour ago.
At least there was some sanity on social media, however:
‘Others online also debated whether Trump and first lady Melania Trump broke with royal protocol when they opted to shake hands with the queen instead of bowing or curtsying.’ This is in fact what Americans do. We’re not her subjects. https://t.co/xe4shnyHFQ
— David Boaz (@David_Boaz) July 14, 2018
Royal protocol is something the British inexplicably still care about, like cricket or Oasis’ post-’90s output. If your protocol is so ridiculously strict that you expect all non-subjects to follow it and they repeatedly fail, perhaps you ought to blame it on the ridiculousness of the protocol as opposed to the people breaking it.
Either way, it was a great opportunity for the British and American press to excoriate Trump, and they didn’t miss it.