President Donald Trump met the Queen of England for the first time on Friday, July 13, and it’s not hard to see why it’s making some body language experts cringe. The Trumps paid a visit to the queen at Windsor Castle on their second day in the U.K. while on a weeklong tour in Europe following the international summit earlier this week. Of all the diplomatic drama that’s been brought up in the tense exchanges between the president and world leaders, one moment from his meeting with the monarch still manages to stand out. The video of Trump walking with Queen Elizabeth had some pretty bizarre dynamics, according to a body language expert.
In the videos on Twitter, the two of them are seen strolling down the green at Windsor Castle to make inspections of the Honour Guard. The queen appears to gesture to the president and instruct him how to proceed, but Trump doesn’t quite get the message. Instead, he steps in front of her, and then looks around to see where she is. The queen (who is 92 and a fair bit shorter) is left to maneuver her way back to his side. Needless to say, the whole interaction looked awkward.
I spoke with Dr. Lillian Glass, a body language expert who’s studied Trump and his interactions with world leaders numerous times. She was unable to contain her laughter over the clips of the two walking down the field together.
"He doesn’t follow her direction, he’s beating to his own drum," Glass says. "He’s looking around for the queen and he’s — I mean, this looks like a skit from Saturday Night Live."
"The queen in her lifetime has never been in back of anybody," she claims. "His head of protocol did not teach him that there’s a special etiquette for the queen. Somebody did not give him the memo on that."
In fact, the error by the president was so obvious, Glass says, that she’s convinced he didn’t receive any protocol training on the interaction beforehand. Elite Daily asked the White House if he had received protocol training, but did not hear back immediately.
I ask if it’s possible he received training but simply forgot to employ it, and Glass says she doesn’t think so. "I don’t think he would’ve done that in all fairness to him," she says. "It’s so blatant, it’s not something you forget."
Glass adds, as a comparison, that there have been other times Trump has met with world leaders and managed not to make, in her words, such a faux pas.
The walking video seemed to serve as a moment of levity during an otherwise tense week diplomatically; Trump on Wednesday and Thursday made some choice remarks about his allies and their agreements at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit in Brussels. On Friday, British tabloid paper The Sun published interview audio of him speaking critically about British Prime Minister Theresa May, comments which he later backpedaled over in a press conference later that day. Amid all this, users on social media appeared to have a laugh over the walking moment.
The video of Trump’s awkward walking was only one of several moments captured during their meeting outside Windsor Castle, though. In other cases, Trump seems to be in step with the queen. Noting other photos of them walking together, Glass says, "They’re shoulder to shoulder and in step — that’s a good thing, he’s doing it right."
As for how the queen responded to the whole scenario? "She’s annoyed, you can see it in her facial language," Glass claims about that specific moment. "She’s telling him what to do, she’s very direct, but he’s not paying attention to her, he’s ignoring her."
Despite that particular fumble, Glass says, looking at photos of them shaking hands and talking, it’s clear that Trump and the queen like each other. Elite Daily asked Kensington Palace about the queen’s feelings upon meeting the president, but did not hear back immediately.
"That’s one of the most genuine smiles you get from the queen," she observes. "She never usually smiles that bright when she meets people."
And so, for now, it appears this particular special relationship remains, well, special.