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Royalty

Donald Trump keeps Queen Elizabeth standing in heat as she waits for him to arrive at Windsor Castle

‘For so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing,’ Trump said

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 2:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 10:23am

US President Donald Trump met Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on Friday – eventually.

Half-shaded by a tent, the 92-year-old monarch stood in a blue hat and coat in blazing sunshine waiting for the president and first lady Melania Trump to arrive. And waited. It was more than 10 minutes before the black Range Rover pulled up on the gravel at the castle outside London.

Trump and his wife climbed out of the car and, after handshakes and a little small talk, they stood either side of the monarch as the US national anthem was played.

Trump walked ahead of the queen while inspecting troops from the Coldstream Guard and did not bow when he met her – a couple of minor protocol breaches – but the meeting, once it happened, went smoothly.

The band played “hands across the sea” to mark the links between the two countries before she led her guests into the castle for that most English of engagements: tea.

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“For so many years she has represented her country, she has really never made a mistake. You don’t see, like, anything embarrassing. She is just an incredible woman,” Trump told The Sun newspaper.

“My wife is a tremendous fan of hers. She has got a great and beautiful grace about her.”

Trump’s previous comments about the royals have been less than tactful, including boasting that he would have slept with Princess Diana “without even hesitation”, and saying “who wouldn’t” photograph Kate, the duchess of Cambridge and Prince William’s wife, topless.

The meeting was what many Britons found the toughest part of Trump’s already contentious trip to swallow.

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Some 1.86 million people signed a petition at the June 2017 general election, wanting to prevent Trump from making a state visit “because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen”.

His four-day trip to Britain is not a state visit – with the formal trappings of a carriage procession and certain banquets – but it bears many of the hallmarks, including time with the head of state.

Just one in three (35 per cent) Britons polled earlier in the week thought the monarch should meet Trump, as opposed to half (49 per cent) who thought she should not.

Buckingham Palace said no other royals will be meeting him at Windsor.

The queen, whose father was on the throne when Donald Trump’s Scottish-born mother became a US citizen in 1942, has hosted 12 US presidents, missing only Lyndon Johnson.