On Monday, President Trump and First Lady Melania landed in London where they planned to meet with the Queen of England for an honorary state visit.
Stepping off of Air Force One, the Trumps were greeted by Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, for their first formal visit to Buckingham Palace.
“Upon their arrival, royal gun salutes fired off in the background, a sign of respect during important ceremonial occasions,” ABC News reports.
The report adds:
The president and first lady participated in a ceremony with Queen Elizabeth II on the Buckingham Palace lawn. Trump joined Prince Charles in inspecting the Guard of Honor formed by Grenadier Guards in their traditional bearskin hats. Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and a senior adviser as well as her husband, senior adviser Jared Kushner, viewed the display from a palace balcony.
The state visit invitation was first extended to the 45th president just after he assumed the presidency in 2017 but is only now coming to fruition more than two years later. He previously visited the U.K. last year, taking tea with the queen at Windsor Castle at the time, but that was during a less ceremonial working visit.
President Trump is only the third U.S. president to be honored with a state visit hosted by the queen. President George W. Bush had such a visit in 2003, as was President Obama in 2011.
“This will be a visit of symbolism,” Heather Conley, an expert on US-UK relations at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, via ABC News. “The president is very enthusiastic about meeting the royal family. You’ll have to ask the royal family if the level of enthusiasm is the same.”
According to the report, the U.S. president and first lady are expected to meet with the most high-ranking members of the Royal Family except for the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, who is out on maternity leave.
Markle’s absence may help avoid potential awkwardness between her and Trump as the two have publicly criticized one another. ABC News reports:
Prior to marrying into the royal family, Meghan publicly criticized Trump as a “misogynist” during the 2016 campaign and suggested she’d be inclined to live in Canada if he were elected president. And Trump has, in turn, has called the duchess “nasty.”
“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump said in a recent interview with the British news outlet, The Sun, when asked about her past criticism. The president also said in the interview that he thinks “it’s nice” that there’s an American Duchess and added, “I’m sure she will do excellently.”
Politico reports just before Trump landed at Buckingham Palace, he criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
“[email protected], who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone-cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me,” Trump tweeted.
“Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job – only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!” the president added.