President Joe Biden made two potential breaches of royal protocol while meeting with Queen Elizabeth. Royal watchers called the president out for making a royal faux pas the very first time he met with the queen as president. The protocols continued to be broken even after the two went their separate ways.
President Joe Biden’s First Presidential Visit With Queen Elizabeth Already Touched By Scandal?
Joe Biden, his wife Dr. Jill Biden, and Queen Elizabeth II met on Sunday where the United States president was given a Guard of Honor at Windsor Castle before the group retired inside for tea and private conversation. Already the president didn’t make a good first impression thanks to the ostentatious eyewear he kept on as he, Dr. Jill, and Queen Elizabeth stood for the US national anthem.
Biden’s iconic aviator sunglasses were firmly in place as he stood at attention for the anthem, despite the fact that the queen was in his presence. It’s royal protocol to remove sunglasses, unless they are prescription, while the queen is present. To be fair, the three were situated on a covered platform outdoors under the bright, summer sun.
Photos taken inside Windsor Castle, where the threesome took their afternoon tea, showed that Biden removed his eyewear after the anthem and kept them off once the group went indoors. Biden isn’t the only famous American to eschew the sunglasses rule.
Other Famous Americans Who Violated The Rule
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour once earned British fury after she kept her ubiquitous round sunglasses on during London Fashion Week 2018 even though the queen was in attendance. At the time, former royal butler Grant Harrold spoke with the Press Association, explaining, “She should have removed them before being in the presence of the Queen, let alone in discussion. Eye contact is important while holding a discussion, and not removing sunglasses is the height of bad manners and a serious breach of royal protocol.”
There’s a big difference between these two international incidents, however. Wintour was indoors the whole time while Biden wore his sunglasses outdoors, which is more understandable. Regardless of the president’s reasons for breaking the protocol, some Brits took to Twitter to express their displeasure with him for his perceived disrespect towards the queen.
That wasn’t the only breach of protocol that Biden made during his trip to the U.K. After sharing tea and conversation with Queen Elizabeth, Biden told the press that the queen “wanted to know” about the Russian and Chinese presidents. Biden made the comment to members of the media stationed at London’s Heathrow Airport.
“We had a great talk. She wanted to know what the two leaders that I – the one I’m about to meet with, Mr. Putin,” Biden said, adding “and she wanted to know about Xi Jinping, and we had a long talk, and she was very generous.” This seemingly innocent slip-up goes against the royal protocol that forbids speaking about topics of discussion that take place during private conversations with the queen.
Joe Biden isn’t the first president in recent memory to make a gaffe while meeting the queen. Former President Donald Trump also broke royal protocol in 2018 while meeting the queen after he placed his hand on her back while the two walked together. It’s a huge no-no to touch the queen, even for an American president.
On both occasions, Queen Elizabeth gamely ignored the breaches and proceeded on as if nothing was the matter. When you’ve been on the throne for almost 70 years and spent most of your life meeting with various foreign dignitaries, it’s a little easier not to sweat the small stuff.
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