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Trump Appears To Break Royal Protocol By Touching The Queen

State visits have to be one of the more glamorous things a head of state gets to do — fancy dress parties featuring the best catering in the world is definitely something I could get on board with.

But when royals are involved, things get a bit trickier. Sure, monarchies tend to be remnants of a bygone era in the 21st century, but relations with them are still important. If nothing else, being able to navigate royal protocol can be a powerful way to connect with people and demonstrate respect for tradition.

Since her coronation in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II has met with just about every U.S. president.

From Truman to Trump, she has met 12 presidents, only missing out on Lyndon Johnson. So, visits are kind of a rite of passage.

They're important because the U.S. and the U.K. are close allies.

Instagram | @theroyalfamily

However, those visits haven't always gone off without a hitch, and it looks like President Trump is just the latest to run afoul of royal protocol.

Meeting with a monarch is a bit like being in a museum.

Unsplash | Mark de Jong

At least in that the prime rule is look but don't touch. The big difference is that if the Queen should offer you her hand, it's fine to shake it.

Otherwise, she's off-limits. And really, not touching people you don't know is generally good protocol whether you're talking about monarchs or not.

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Well, at the state dinner held in honor of the president's visit to the U.K., it looks like Mr. Trump did not obey museum rules.

It's possible that President Trump forgot himself amid the lavish surroundings of Buckingham Palace's banquet hall, where the number of gold-trimmed ornaments and furnishings could only be rivaled by Trump's own NYC penthouse.

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Maybe the speeches and toasts wore on him. Maybe he was helping a 92-year-old woman stand up. But, toward the end of the official proceedings, it looked like the president reached out and touched Queen Elizabeth's back.

That would definitely be a violation of royal protocol.

However, Queen Elizabeth made no outward show of disapproval — or of approval, either. She seemed to let it slide with grace, or at least pretended it didn't happen, and it was a momentary lapse anyway.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor the White House have commented on the apparent protocol breach.

Instagram | @theroyalfamily

Now, President Trump would be far from the first U.S. representative to be tripped up by royal protocol.

In a particularly cringeworthy example, back in 1977, President Carter met with the royal family and greeted the Queen Mother with a kiss full on the lips.

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A mortified Queen Mother was later reported to have remarked that "Nobody has done that since my husband died."

And, a decade ago in 2009, Michelle Obama full-on hugged the Queen.

Twitter | @jodiewiggins18

That was the kind of protocol breach that stuck with her afterwards. In fact, she recalled the incident in her 2018 memoir, Becoming, calling it an "epic faux pas." Her recollection of her majestic embrace is actually pretty understandable at a human level.

"Forget that she sometimes wore a diamond crown and that I'd flown to London on the presidential jet; we were just two tired ladies oppressed by our shoes," she wrote.

Twitter | @Albert_PrinceC

"I then did what's instinctive to me anytime I feel connected to a new person, which is to express my feelings outwardly. I laid a hand affectionately across her shoulder.

"I couldn't have known it in the moment, but I was committing what would be deemed an epic faux pas."

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"But I tried not to let the criticism rattle me. If I hadn't done the proper thing at Buckingham Palace, I had at least done the human thing."

And doing that human thing did not seem to shake the Queen one bit.

Getty Images | John Stillwell

Rather, Queen Elizabeth returned the gesture, pulling the First Lady closer with her own arm.

In fact, the two seemed to strike up a fast friendship over a number of common interests, and Michelle, Malia, and Sasha were all later treated to a guided tour of Buckingham Palace. The two have also reportedly kept in contact.

h/t USA Today