Will Trump bow to the Queen? Here is how royal protocol works

President Donald Trump will be in England at the end of the week where he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II.

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While what they may discuss is of some interest on both sides of the Atlantic, the burning question, at least on social media, is will the American president bow to England’s monarch.

There are rules that surround the royal family and how people address and interact with them, but none of the rules are more important than those that apply to the country’s ruler.

For instance, if you happen to be at an event the queen is attending, you may not leave until she has. If you are at a dinner, don’t start eating before she does.

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Dining etiquette involving the royals likely will not be a problem for Trump. Whether he bows when he meets the queen could be another topic.

Here’s what is expected of Trump when he meets the queen at Windsor Castle on Friday.
Trump will be presented to the queen by a courtier, likely with the phrase, “Your Majesty, may I present Mr. Donald Trump.”

From that point, the website Royal UK offers the following tips. While the website says there are no obligatory codes of behavior, there is tradition. Here are some of the site’s tips:

  • Be early. Guests should arrive before a royal.
  • When meeting the monarch, men execute a “neck bow” – basically nodding their head downward, not bowing from the waist. Women do a small curtsy. Some people shake hands. This is acceptable, but the queen is known not to shake hands with everyone.
  • When presented to the queen, the correct formal address is “your majesty” and subsequently “ma'am,” (rhymes with “jam”).
  • When addressing male members of the royal family the same rules apply, use the title in the first instance (“your royal highness”) and subsequently (“sir”).
  • For other female members of the royal family, the first address is “your royal highness” and subsequently “ma'am.”
  • Grant Harrold, known as “The Royal Butler,” told The Independent that "President Trump should not offer his hand to the queen for a handshake, but should wait for the queen to offer the handshake. Only then may he accept and he must remember the grip should not be too tight or too loose, and it is two to three pumps then hands go back to your side."
  • Visiting heads of state are expected to bring the queen a present, but you’re not to present the gift to her in the setting of a meeting or dinner.

Here’s what the president shouldn’t do when he meets the queen, according to the BBC. 

  • Don’t leave the event before the queen. The monarch is the last to leave the meeting.
  • Don’t turn your back on the queen.
  • Don’t touch her.
  • No selfies, or photos of the queen.
  • The queen should not be asked a personal question.
  • Don’t expect her to start a conversation with you if you are sitting to her left, at least not right away, according to Debrett, royal etiquette experts. The guest of honor sits to the monarch’s right at a meal. She will spend the first course of the meal talking to that person. She will then switch attention to the person on her left for the following course and talk with that person.

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