Donald Trump has been lavishly welcomed by the queen, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla at Buckingham Palace at the start of his controversial state visit to the U.K.
Marine One touched down in the gardens of Buckingham Palace a little after noon Monday, having choppered just over a mile from the American Embassy, from where, a half hour previously, the president had shared a common complaint of foreign travelers: the crappy domestic TV.
“Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner ATT do something?”
As every tourist knows, sitting in your room watching TV and tweeting can be an alluring diversion, but it is no way to make the most of your trip overseas, and it was soon time to get out and meet some locals.
And what locals they were: Stepping out of his helicopter in the Buckingham Palace gardens, Trump and Melania were met by Prince Charles, in a significant moment for the heir to the throne.
Charles then led the Trumps to a tented reception area on the palace steps, where he was greeted by the queen, who wore green and carried her trademark leather handbag.
Her husband, Prince Philip, who has retired from royal duties, was not present.
Having safely delivered their cargo to the palace, the presidential choppers vacated the garden to make way for the marching band of the Grenadier Guards, and a guard of honor formed of the Household Cavalry.
Turning on the pomp and circumstance, two separate 41-gun salutes, fired in tandem at the Tower of London and at Green Park, resounded around the city.
The adult children of the president—joined by Jared Kushner, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and John Bolton, among others—watched from the balcony of the music room on the first floor of the palace as their father and the first lady, accompanied by Her Majesty, stood for a stirring rendition of the American national anthem before inspecting the guard of honor.
When Trump visited Windsor Castle in 2018, he was widely criticized for breaching protocol after walking ahead of the queen while inspecting the Guard of Honor.
This time, perhaps to forestall such an awkward moment, Charles accompanied Trump on the inspection instead of the queen, and invited him to walk ahead of him, before turning Trump over to the care of the company commander. Charles followed a few paces behind.
Trump was seen to exchange a few words with several of the soldiers.
Despite the warm weather, there was no reprise of an unfortunate incident over the weekend when troops wearing the traditional bearskin hats practicing for the ceremonial marking of the queen’s birthday, the trooping of the color, fainted on Horseguard’s Parade.
The president and his family then had a private lunch with the queen and Prince Harry (whose wife, Meghan Markle, he recently called “nasty” on tape and then tried to deny it) before being taken to see a special exhibition of artworks with historical significance to the U.S. from the queen’s collection in the Buckingham Palace picture gallery.
The queen personally led Trump and his wife around the exhibition, and Harry was seen chatting with Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
Trump and Melania then made the short hop to Westminster Abbey, where, with Prince Andrew by their side, they laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown warrior.
The final engagement of the afternoon was taking afternoon tea with Charles and Camilla, followed by a banquet at Buckingham Palace this evening, before which Trump is due to make a speech.
That’s right, a speech. The suspense is killing us.