President Joe Biden is in Europe to meet with G-7 leaders this week, and according to the Washington Examiner, it appeared that he broke royal protocol on Friday as he was set to greet Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British royal family at a G-7 leadership dinner.
The Bidens’ 18-car motorcade arrived at the Eden Project in Cornwall around 7 p.m. local time for the reception but, notably, arrived after the Queen had arrived.
Royal protocol states that for a formal dinner, all guests should arrive prior to the Queen and already be seated when she makes her appearance.
As the Examiner noted, according to Debrett’s, an etiquette guide, “It is correct for everyone to arrive before the royal personage and protocol rules that no guest should leave an event before a member of the Royal Family.”
Queen seems happy to meet Bidens
Despite the apparent royal faux pas, the Queen appeared to smile at the Bidens as they conversed after the formal dinner. It marked her first official public event since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, and the first time she has met a foreign leader since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold on the world last year.
Yahoo News royal correspondent Rebecca Taylor noted that the Queen is not overly concerned with protocol and would not draw attention to it when meeting with guests, which is presumably especially the case given it’s the president of the United States.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his new wife, Carrie Johnson, were also in attendance for the event.
The Bidens were scheduled to attend Sunday afternoon tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle to wrap up the visit. The Daily Mail indicated that both sides hope for a quick trade agreement in the near future, including the reopening of international travel to England over the summer, now that both countries have experienced a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases.
He’s not the only one
Biden is not the first U.S. president to break royal protocol when meeting the Queen. Former President Donald Trump also arrived after the Queen during a meeting in 2018.
Trump was also observed walking ahead of her during a visit between the two, which is considered — by those who care — as a breach of protocol and was described as starting a “social media frenzy” by The New York Times.
Others, like former First Lady Michelle Obama, have also breached royal etiquette during visits, including one instance when Obama put her arm around the Queen, prompting immediate controversy.
All eyes will be on the final leg of Biden’s trip abroad as he’s scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin following his attendance at the G-7 summit, which could prove to be somewhat awkward given the meeting comes on the heels of two recent Russia-based cyber attacks on major U.S. industries.