DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

When Donald Trump Slut-Shamed Kate Middleton and Harassed Princess Diana

The president’s history with the British royal family is creepy, to say the least.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Donald Trump’s never met a woman he didn’t want to insult, assault, or otherwise demean. He is a classic misogynist—a man who views women as the ornamentation of a man’s world. And there’s nothing more frightening to a misogynist than an empowered woman. It is why Trump, a former beauty pageant owner, was up in arms over the all-female Ghostbusters remake, or why he rebuked Beyoncé for “thrusting her hips forward in a very suggestive manner” during her Super Bowl performance.

As you may have heard, President Trump is visiting the United Kingdom this week. It’s an occasion that’s been marked by protests, including a gigantic orange balloon of Trump in a diaper; a petition to Parliament garnering over 1.8 million signatures, arguing that his “well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales”; and, in a remarkable self-own on a par with throwing out $80 worth of sushi, the Green Day song “American Idiot” climbing the charts. Given that Trump will cross paths with the British royal family—perhaps they’ll even have to help him down a flight of stairs—it is also occasion to revisit his bizarre history with Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, respectively the mother and wife of Prince William.

Following Diana’s split from Prince Charles in 1996, Trump, who was still married to his second wife Marla Maples at the time, is reported to have sent numerous bouquets to her home. “Trump clearly saw Diana as the ultimate trophy wife,” veteran U.K. journalist (and Diana confidant) Selina Scott wrote in The Sunday Times. “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.”

Scott recounted how, over dinner, Diana said of Trump, “What am I going to do? He gives me the creeps.” She recommended Diana “just throw them in a bin,” eliciting laughter from the ex-royal. And when Diana tragically passed the following year, Scott claims that “Trump told his friends his biggest regret was that they hadn’t dated,” since Trump, despite a steady stream of rejection, thought he “would have had a ‘shot’ with her.” Trump seemed to confirm this himself in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback: “I only have one regret in the women department—that I never had the opportunity to court Lady Diana Spencer. I met her on a number of occasions. I couldn’t help but notice how she moved people. She lit up the room with her charm, her presence. She was a genuine princess—a dream lady.”

That same year, Trump sat down for an interview with Howard Stern, and the conversation eventually shifted to the late Lady Di. “You could’ve gotten her, right? You could’ve nailed her,” Stern prodded, leading Trump to reply, “I think I could have”—but only, he’d later say, if she got an HIV test first.  

As for the Duchess of Cambridge, when a creepy paparazzo snapped grainy, long-lens photos of her sunbathing topless while on holiday at a remote hunting lodge in southern France, Trump unleashed a barrage of tweets shaming Kate whilst defending the photographer:

If that weren’t enough, Trump also phoned in to his favorite television program, Fox & Friends, to complain some more about Kate’s tanning session. “While we’re all fans of Kate, can you imagine… why would she be outside in the nude?” said Trump. “Why would she be standing in the nude in the swimming pool or wherever she was? And she’s Kate, so you know, it’s terrible what they did, it’s terrible to take pictures, but how can you do a thing so stupid… To be outside of a swimming pool without a top on, and you’re Kate? Maybe they can stop it, but it is a very, very foolish thing she did.”

St. James’s Palace, meanwhile, issued a statement condemning the photos: “Their Royal Highnesses have been hugely saddened to learn that a French publication and a photographer have invaded their privacy in such a grotesque and totally unjustifiable manner. The incident is reminiscent of the worst excesses of the press and paparazzi during the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and all the more upsetting to the duke and duchess for being so. Their Royal Highnesses had every expectation of privacy in the remote house. It is unthinkable that anyone should take such photographs, let alone publish them.” A French court eventually ruled in favor of the royals, awarding the duke and duchess €100,000 in damages.

And the Duchess of Sussex likely has the Duchess of Cambridge’s back. During a 2016 appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry, had some strong words for candidate Trump: “As misogynistic as Trump is, and so vocal about it, that’s a huge chunk of it. You’re not just voting for a woman—if it’s Hillary—just because she’s a woman, but certainly because Trump has made it easy to see that you don’t really want that kind of world that he’s painting.”

Oh, to be a fly on the wall on Friday, when Trump visits the Queen at Windsor Castle.