Queen Elizabeth II may not have been amused, but the Twitterati certainly was.
During President Trump’s hourlong visit with the queen at Windsor Castle on Friday — they shared tea, a handshake and traditional pomp-and-circumstance — one awkward moment stood out on social media. It was when President Trump momentarily seemed to (gasp!) walk in front of the queen.
Mr. Trump walked slightly ahead of the queen as they inspected her honor guard. At one point, she gestured to Mr. Trump and appeared to direct him forward with her white-gloved right hand. He walked in front of her and then stopped, which cut off her path and forced her to sidestep around him.
This is hilarious. The Queen acting like she’s training one of her dogs as Trump struggles to master the art of walking. pic.twitter.com/M7tNwJFlOX— SimonNRicketts (@SimonNRicketts) July 13, 2018
It was over in less than 20 seconds, but even some casual followers of the monarchy were aghast at the uncomfortable interaction.
Yes, it is a royal no-no to walk ahead of the queen.
The queen is also 92 years old — Mr. Trump’s elder by 20 years — and many said that alone should warrant deference.
Earlier, Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, also appeared not to have followed other long-running protocol, in which a bow or curtsy is customary. The first lady’s communications director said Mrs. Trump was briefed on royal protocol before the visit but it was unclear if the president, who eschews briefings, received similar guidance.
In recent years, the Netflix series “The Crown” has chronicled many royal customs, including some that reportedly caused tension early in Elizabeth’s marriage to Prince Philip.
Matt Smith, the actor who plays Prince Philip in the series, referred to the custom of walking behind the monarch in an interview in 2016.
“He is going to walk two steps behind her, wanting to feel the head of the family,” he said. “It’s an interesting conflict to explore.”
As for the queen, who is notoriously inscrutable, she did not appear to react to Mr. Trump’s misstep on Friday.
Katie Rogers contributed to this report from Windsor, England.
Follow Sarah Mervosh on Twitter: @smervosh