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Trump enjoys longer-than-expected afternoon tea with the Queen

UK News | Published:

The US president appeared a little flummoxed by the ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle.

The Queen and Donald Trump during a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle

The Queen and US President Donald Trump appeared in no rush to leave each other’s company – after their first meeting lasted far longer than scheduled.

The two world figures, joined by first lady Melania Trump, were due to spend around half an hour getting to know each other over afternoon tea, but it overran by almost 20 minutes.

Meeting the Queen can be a daunting proposition that has left world leaders looking nervous in the past, and Mr Trump appeared a little flummoxed by the ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle.

Donald Trump and the Queen inspect a guard of honour at Windsor Castle
Donald Trump and the Queen inspect a guard of honour at Windsor Castle (Matt Dunham/PA)

At one point he looked out of step with the choreography of inspecting the guard of honour – but once inside the Queen’s home, he was photographed happily grinning away as he relaxed.

Body language expert Judi James said: “He’s not trying to be cool at all. He’s obviously showing that he’s utterly delighted to be there with the Queen. He looks like a delighted child.”

When he first arrived with wife Melania, opinion among commentators is divided over whether he was acknowledging the Queen when he appeared to nod his head slightly.

The first lady did not curtsey but Mr Trump and his wife did not breach protocol as there is no expectation for heads of state or anyone meeting the monarch to bow.

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While not an official state visit, the encounter at Windsor Castle still had the feel of a major meeting between two heads of state – with the guard of honour from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards on parade, national anthems played and the formality of the occasion adding to its significance.

The Queen, a veteran of such encounters, led the way and when Mr Trump inspected the guardsmen in their scarlet tunics and bearskins, she gently corrected the choreography of the ceremony when Mr Trump stopped after striding ahead.

During her 66-year reign there have been 13 American presidents, from Harry S Truman to Mr Trump, and she has now met all of them except one, Lyndon B Johnson.

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The pomp and ceremony continued when the guard of honour marched off along the gravel drive that had been raked and watered just an hour ahead of the president’s arrival.

Before they had tea in the castle’s Oak Room, Mr Trump and the Queen paused at the Sovereign’s Entrance, where a small senior group of the monarch’s household were waiting.

First in line was her lady-in-waiting, US-born Virginia Ogilvy, Countess of Airlie, and when the Queen introduced her to the president, the monarch told him she was American.

Details of the afternoon tea were not released by Buckingham Palace, but it is likely sandwiches were made fresh by palace cooks as two chefs were spotted peering from a window to catch a glimpse of the president.

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