President Biden is being slammed for violating royal protocol in his meeting with the Queen, after he couldn’t be bothered to take off his sunglasses when he greeted the monarch at Windsor Castle, and then went on to spill details to the press about what they discussed over tea.
Biden, who with first lady Jill Biden met with the Queen on Sunday following the G7 summit in Britain, told the media at Heathrow Airport that the 95-year-old royal was interested in hearing more about Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
“We had a great talk. She wanted to know what the two leaders that I … the one I’m about to meet with, Mr. Putin, and she wanted to know about Xi Jinping, and we had a long talk, and she was very generous,” Biden said.
But revealing private details of a conversation with the Queen is a royal faux pas.
“The Queen is supposed to have told Michelle Obama that royal protocol was rubbish. It has nonetheless been a rule that an audience with the Queen is strictly private and to reveal its contents is a breach of trust,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told the Daily Mail.
“President Biden, by revealing that the Queen had asked about the Russian and Chinese leaders, did breach this rule. It is very possible that, as the G7 sees itself as a bulwark of democracy against regimes such as Russia and China, that this comment may have been prearranged in line with this theme,” he added.
Biden is scheduled to meet Putin in Geneva, Switzerland, on Wednesday for a summit amid the backdrop of heightened tensions between the two countries following the ransomware attacks on US businesses by Russian-based hackers and Moscow’s military buildup near Ukraine.
Biden’s other gaffe involved keeping his sunglasses on while first meeting the Queen at Windsor Castle.
Grant Harrold, a former butler to Prince Charles and Camilla, said Biden should have ditched the shades immediately instead of halfway through the ceremony — even if the sun was bright and temperatures rose into the 80s.
“If you’re meeting the Queen face-to-face, there’s no sunglasses or anything like that at all because eye contact is quite important with any introduction,” Harrold told Newsweek.
“It’s fine for Biden to have had sunglasses on but he should have removed them when he actually met the Queen. Everyone else has to, it doesn’t matter who you are, even royals remove sunglasses when they meet royals,” he added.
”It’s one of those rules I always write about in my etiquette texts. It is a breach of protocol. I get the sun might have been shining in his eyes but the Queen didn’t have sunglasses on. Jill, the first lady, didn’t have sunglasses on,” Harrold said.
Speaking with reporters Sunday, Biden said he invited the Queen to the White House for a visit and said she reminded him of his mother.
“I don’t think she’d be insulted, but she reminded me of my mother, the look of her and just the generosity,” the president said.