Family

President Trump and the First Lady Join Queen Elizabeth for Royal Tea

Protests broke out during the meeting at Windsor Castle — every aspect of the event was of interest to royal watchers

Sipping tea with the queen of England is an elaborate social event with plenty of pomp and tradition, and President Donald Trump and the ever-elegant first lady Melania Trump experienced it on Friday.

The Trumps met Queen Elizabeth II for tea at Windsor Castle, the queen’s weekend residence.

Though their time together at the castle was scheduled to last less than an hour, every aspect of the event was of interest to royal watchers.

“There are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting the Queen or a member of the royal family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms,” according to the official website of the British royal family. (Check out the fascinating royal tea-time protocols in the video, below.)

Among those traditional details: When greeting a member of the British royal family, men should bow slightly from the head. This is called a neck bow.

Conversely, a small curtsy will suffice for women. (Some with their noses in the air were startled when Trump did not bow slightly from the head and Melania Trump did not curtsy — they opted instead for proper handshakes.)

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Upon announcement, the proper way one should address Queen Elizabeth II is “Your Majesty,” and then, “Ma’am,” for subsequent references.

 The same rules apply for male members of the royal family; on first reference, one is supposed to use “Your Royal Highness” and then “Sir,” subsequently — as in the case of the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

When addressing other female members of the royal family, such as Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge, the first address is always, “Your Royal Highness,” and “Ma’am” on subsequent references.

Handshakes are acceptable, but only if the queen extends her hand first. Beyond that, touching a member of the royal family is discouraged, notes Fortune.com.

Then there’s the dining aspect of the royal visit.

“The best way to approach sharing a meal with the queen is with calmness, steadiness, and a little bit of delicacy,” said Rupert Wesson, academy director at Debrett’s, a British coaching and publishing company on the topic of etiquette, as NBC.com reported.

“There are little differences between American dining and British dining,” added Wesson. “In British dining, the fork remains in the left hand and the knife remains in the right hand, assuming you’re right-handed.”

With President Trump’s acknowledged penchant for fast food, some sourpusses wondered if he would be able to pull off royal tea with the queen. 

This is silly and cheap sniping, of course.

Related: Media Scramble to Churn Out Anti-Trump Narratives on His European Trip

Melania Trump, as always, has distinguished herself throughout the trip. On Thursday evening, the first lady stunned in a pale yellow gown made of chiffon at a black-tie dinner hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May.

From her first day as first lady, Melania Trump has represented America with grace, compassion and style, and this trip thus far has been no different.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.

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