While sources unilaterally agree that the queen and Prince Philip—who will host Donald Trump when he makes a state visit to Britain later this year—will be nothing less than entirely charming and hospitable to their American visitor, the same cannot be automatically said of the younger generation of royals.
Understandably, many fear that Harry and William may not feel particularly enthusiastic about extending the hand of friendship to a man who, not long after their mother’s death in 1997, told radio host Howard Stern he could have “nailed” Diana if he really wanted to and would have slept with her, “without hesitation.”
Royal biographer Penny Junor, the author of an authoritative series of best-selling Royal biographies on Charles, William, and Harry told The Daily Beast: “I wouldn’t think they had any idea about it until recently. My guess it was an idle boast but, boast or not, William would take a dim view. He and his brother are, not surprisingly, very touchy about their mother.”
Christopher Andersen, author of the best selling biography of the Windsor women Game of Crowns told The Daily Beast, “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have all privately expressed their distaste for Trump. Trump went after Diana so aggressively, peppering her with phone calls, showering her with flowers, that she complained to a friend he was giving her ‘the creeps.’
“None of the young royals want to be suddenly confronted with protestors, or appear to be cozying up to Trump. By all accounts, Trump is over the moon about the possibility of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the queen and members of the Royal Family. My sense is that the queen will remain her usual unflappable self and that Prince Philip, who is famous for his animosity toward the press and penchant for making politically incorrect statements, will get along just fine with Trump.
“But when it comes to the younger royals, especially given his crude comments about Diana after her death, it is hard to imagine that Charles, William, Harry and Kate will view Trump as anything but crass and overbearing.”
The British TV presenter Selina Scott, a friend of Diana’s, claimed in the Sunday Times that Trump “bombarded Diana at Kensington Palace with massive bouquets of flowers” writing: “As the roses and orchids piled up at her apartment, she became increasingly concerned about what she should do. It had begun to feel as if Trump was stalking her.”
As well as there being personal reasons for animosity between Trump and the Prince of Wales, there are political ones too.
Credible reports have emerged that the president’s staff have been trying to get messages via back channels to Prince Charles not to “lecture” Trump on climate change. The incontestable fact is that Charles’s views on the environment, globalism, and other issues run directly contrary to Trump’s.
The problem is that Charles is notably less willing than his mother to suppress his personal feelings in the cause of constitutional diplomacy (he refused to attend a banquet for the Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2016, for example, in protest at that country’s dismal human rights record and his support for the Dalai Lama), and it’s hard to see the two men quietly agreeing to disagree.
And as for Kate Middleton, can one really expect her to be sweetness and light to Trump, who outright and unapologetically victim-blamed her on Twitter after a long-lens photographer took a picture of her sunbathing topless in France? “Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!” Trump wrote, later adding, “Kate Middleton is great—but she shouldn’t be sunbathing in the nude—only herself to blame.”
The photos were taken from a distance of over a mile at a private house in France owned by William’s cousin David Linley.
The inevitable resurrection of those less than politic tweets ahead of Trump’s U.K. visit will undoubtedly infuriate Harry and William, who are understandably defensive about privacy issues.
While there is sympathy for the unpleasant task the younger generation of royals find themselves in, there is also a general belief that Charles and his family have a duty to rise above it, smile, and think of England.
If the Royal family can be said to have a purpose beyond raising funds for charity, then it is surely to foster positive relations with powerful foreign leaders.
“He is a democratically elected president, whose views are considerably more democratic than many of the heads of state the queen has had to entertain before,” says one source, “She entertained Ceausescu for God’s sake!
“The queen is a pragmatist, that is all. She is very used to the Donald Trumps of this world—she married one, after all. She is used to straight-talking men and she is used to volatile men; her father was volatile, and her husband is a straight talker. There is nothing very extraordinary about people like Donald Trump in the upper reaches of society, where people still do quite often speak their mind.”
Andersen says that Trump will bring his daughter Ivanka on the trip, “mainly for the purpose of acting as a buffer with William, Kate, and Harry.”
It is he says, an astute move: “Not only do these burnished millennials all look like they stepped out of the pages of Vogue, but William and Kate and Ivanka and Jared, all roughly the same age, can bond over what it’s like raising toddlers and protecting them from the glare of the media spotlight.”
And, quite possibly, compare notes about thin-skinned, headstrong fathers and fathers in-law.