Should Melania Trump Curtsy To The Queen During State Visit? Etiquette Expert Offers An Explanation

Date April 26, 2019 14:06

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have received an invitation they had likely expected.


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The Queen invited the First Couple to pay a state visit to the UK. The visit will be held in early June this year. The Trumps’ predecessors, Barack and Michelle Obama and George and Laura Bush, also had such an honor, in 2011 and 2003 respectively.

The Trumps had met Her Majesty last year, as part of a working visit to the UK. This time will be different, and the first couple’s interactions with the monarch will be watched even more closely. And here’s one question that is on many people’s mind: how should the Trumps greet the Queen? And should Melania curtsy to her?

Etiquette expert’s explanation

MailOnline asked etiquette expert William Hanson how the President and First Lady should behave around the Queen.


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While many expect Donald to bow and Melanie to curtsy, Hanson explained that this part of the greeting is a matter of personal preference. Why, you may ask? That’s because Donald and Melania Trump are Americans!

The expert elaborated:

As [Donald Trump] is an American citizen, regardless of his presidential status, he doesn't have to do anything other than smile, make eye contact and shake hands.

He doesn't have to bow and Melania doesn't have to curtsey, because she is not a British citizen. Many non-Brits when they are meeting royalty do choose to bow or curtsey, especially if they are meeting The Queen, out of respect for her and her achievements, but it's completely their choice. Obama didn't.


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How other first ladies chose to go about it

As the expert explained, the gesture is entirely optional when it comes to non-Brits.

Former first lady of France Carla Bruni did curtsy to the Queen, and later even admitted she had rehearsed the move beforehand.

We don’t know if Michelle Obama curtsied or not, but she broke protocol at least once when she met Her Majesty. They were having a friendly conversation, and Michelle affectionately put her hand on the Queen’s back, without knowing it constituted a breach of protocol.

Despite that, the monarch seemed absolutely unfazed. So it’s safe to assume nothing will surprise her when she meets the Trumps.