When President Joe Biden arrived at Windsor Castle, England, this week, he immediately breached protocol and repeatedly manhandled King Charles III.
The U.S. president wasn’t the first to breach protocol in this way, and likely won’t be the last – but his strange behavior as he inspected the King’s Guards quickly went viral online.
Video footage showed the president wandering, in a daze, ahead of the King as he inspected the guards. King Charles III walked slowly behind the president until the pair reached the end of the first row of guards. At this point, the King clearly gestured to the president three times that it was time to leave before Biden eventually realized and turned around.
Buckingham Palace Brushed Off Protocol Breaches by Joe Biden
Following in the footsteps of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the King’s representatives brushed off the breach in a public statement.
According to the Palace, President Biden’s decision to walk ahead of the King was “in fact the correct protocol,” citing rules that allow foreign leaders allowed to walk a few steps ahead of the Monarch during the inspection.
The Palace also politely brushed off a breach of protocol in 2009, when then-First Lady Michelle Obama was seen putting her arms around the Queen – a gesture the late Queen reciprocated.
Did Donald Trump Do It Too?
Reporting on the Joe Biden debacle was wildly different compared to a similar incident that took place during former President Donald Trump’s state visit to the United Kingdom in 2018.
That hasn’t stopped many online commenters from pointing out that the former president did something similar when he inspected the Queen’s Guards alongside the Late Queen Elizabeth II.
The incident caused an uproar among progressives, who, despite generally opposing conservative, historic institutions like the British Monarchy, argued that the incident showed the former president to be incapable of following rules.
“Trump Awkwardly Blocks Queen Elizabeth At British Military Inspection,” a headline from HuffPost reads.
“Trump made one of the biggest royal faux pas when visiting the queen — and people are outraged,” Insider wrote.
Notably, however, former President Donald Trump is a public supporter of the British Monarchy as an institution and a huge fan of the late Queen.
During the incident, the former president could be seen stopping, looking to his left – where he expected the Queen to walk – only to notice she wasn’t there.
The late Queen noticed the confusion, and she herself chose to walk to the right of Trump, allowing him to walk closer to the guards instead.
Does it matter? In the grand scheme of things, not really – but it’s clear that one president was oblivious to the protocol, and the other tried to follow it.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.