Donald Trump, you can be sure, is going to like Buckingham Palace. Although not quite as heavily gilded as his residence in the Trump Tower, the palace—especially the White Drawing Room—is a rather un-British riot of gold and purple excess.
It seems increasingly likely that Donald and Melania will be receiving an express invitation to visit her majesty’s London pad—or possibly the more restrained Windsor Castle, the details have not yet been finessed—shortly after the presidential inauguration in January.
It’s all part of the British government’s fiendishly clever plan to cut Nigel Farage—Mr. Trump’s favorite British politician, whom he put forward on Twitter as his pick for U.K. ambassador to America, in defiance of U.K. sovereignty and the fact that the U.K. already has a jolly good man in Washington—out of the special relationship.
As a source told The Sunday Times: “Nigel Farage can’t get [Trump] in front of the Queen.”
In their first official phone call, Trump told British Prime Minister Theresa May that his Scottish mother had been a royalist, and reportedly asked May to pass on his best wishes to her majesty.
Trump may be widely hated by the British public, and while there would likely be anti-Trump demos around London on the occasion of his visit, he would be assured of a warm welcome once through the gates of any of the queen’s residences.
And this may not just be the queen acting a part.
As one source tells The Daily Beast, “Deplorables are always welcome at Windsor. They make a very nice change from the smoothies. The Queen much prefers people who speak their mind—she’s married to one. They’d rather have a shoulder-to-shoulder chat with Donald Trump, even if he is just trying to sell them a golf course.”
One of the best things about being queen is the people you meet. No doubt, one of the worst things about being queen must also be the people you meet. And the queen, over the years, has had to extend the hand of friendship to a truly ghastly roll call of murderers, tyrants, and tinpot dictators; Bashar al-Assad, Robert Mugabe, and Martin McGuinness (who was IRA chief of staff at the time of the assassination of her husband’s cousin, Louis Mountbatten) among them.
Donald Trump will, in comparison, be a piece of cake. Indeed, its highly likely that the outspoken president and the outspoken prince consort will strike up a friendly relationship based on their well-rehearsed prejudices. Donald Trump launched his campaign by accusing some illegal Mexican immigrants of being rapists; Prince Philip once got in hot water for advising British students to come home from China before they developed “slitty eyes.”
And there’s one topic of conversation that promises to keep all parties fully engaged: the extensive building work that needs to be done at Buckingham Palace.
Maybe Trump, who is showing little enthusiasm for separating his business and presidential careers, will put in a competitive tender?
Trump’s official visit is likely to follow the by now well-honed routines of official state visits, although on this occasion the palace might expect to court huge criticism from the public if it showers an excess of ostentatious goodwill on the Trumps.
The centerpiece will inevitably be a magnificent state banquet in Trump’s honor, attended by all the senior members of the royal family, including Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Prince Charles.
Other guests would include the leaders of the major political parties, eminent academics, scientists, businessmen, and entrepreneurs, and most definitely not Nigel Farage.
This banquet would likely be held in the Buckingham Palace Ballroom.
In addition to British food, scintillating company and a table glittering with silver and gold candelabras dating from the reign of George IV, state banquets often include a musical aspect—for the banquet held in honor of the Chinese premier, for example, the musical program included a number of Chinese folk songs as well as a string version of “Nobody Does It Better,” the theme music from the 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. For Donald, they might play some of the Rolling Stones tunes he used on his campaign.
It will be fascinating to see who accepts an invitation to dine with the Trumps, given his popularity among boldface names in Britain appears to be as low as it is in Hollywood.
If the government is really intent on laying on the pomp factor, Trump and Melania will also be invited to ride in one of the queen’s horse-drawn carriages from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, accompanied by a regiment of mounted cavalrymen.
The queen would give the Trumps a gift. She gave Obama a collection of correspondence between various presidents and Queen Victoria, including one letter written in response to the death of Abraham Lincoln. Michelle was given an antique broach.
It would also be expected that Donald Trump would reciprocate. On his first visit to Buckingham Palace in 2009, President Obama gave Queen Elizabeth II a pre-loaded iPod.
Donald Trump will have other ideas, but he should note that a voucher for a one-night stay at a Trump hotel will not be considered appropriate.