Money & Power

A Brief History of Donald Trump's Controversial Interactions with the British Royal Family

The U.S. President will meet with Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle later this week.

Donald Trump is finally making his controversial trip to the U.K. later this week.

When Trump first accepted the invitation to visit England at the beginning of his term, he reportedly envisioned playing golf with the Queen, perhaps hoping for a photogenic moment similar to the shots of Reagan riding horses with the monarch during his term.

But that initial invitation immediately prompted a petition to block the meeting, and so it has been put off until now. "Donald Trump's well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualifies him from being received by Her Majesty the Queen or the Prince of Wales," reads the document.

"Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the U.K. in his capacity as head of the U.S. Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen," it continues.

The petition quickly garnered over a million signatures, triggering the requirement for a debate in British parliament. The government responded that Trump should be able to meet with the Queen.

"[Her Majesty's] Government believes the President of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a State Visit. We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalised."

Trump will meet with the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday, after a tour of Blenheim Palace, the 18th-century home where Winston Churchill grew up, and Chequers, Theresa May's official country home.

He will be avoiding London for much of the trip; protests are expected in the capital city.

But this isn't the first time Trump's interactions with the British royal family have prompted controversy. Here, a brief timeline of Trump's somewhat unsavory history with Princess Diana, Duchess Kate, and the rest of the Windsors.


Following the announcement in December 1992 that Princess Diana had separated from Prince Charles, then-American businessman Donald Trump reportedly started courting the Princess of Wales, allegedly bombarding her with flowers to the point that she said, "He gives me the creeps."

According to accounts by British journalist Selina Scott, Trump pursued Diana quite aggressively. "Trump clearly saw Diana as the ultimate trophy wife," 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."

Princess Diana at the United Cerebral Palsy of New York Dinner at the Hilton Hotel in 1995.

The pair did meet once, though never dated, and after the Princess died, Trump had the following exchange on air with Howard Stern: "You could've nailed her, right?" Stern asked Trump. Trump replied, "I think I could've."

Then in 2000, Trump once again reminded the world that he had wanted to have sex with Diana, saying, "she was crazy, but those are minor details."

Donald Trump at Mar-A-Lago in 1995

In recent years, Trump changed his story and denied having pursued Diana romantically. In an interview with Piers Morgan in 2016, he said, "I did respect her, but no interest from that standpoint. But I did meet her once, and I thought she was lovely."

This reversal of tone may not hold much sway with William and Harry, given how protective they are of their mother and her public memory. "When it comes to the younger royals, especially given his crude comments about Diana after her death, it is hard to imagine that Charles, William, Harry and Kate will view Trump as anything but crass and overbearing,” said royal biographer Christopher Andersen.


In 2012, paparazzi used a powerful zoom lens to capture photos of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless while on vacation in the south of France with her husband, Prince William. These photos were then sold and published in a French magazine called Closer.

There was a public outcry and a broad consensus that the pictures were a grave invasion of Kate's privacy—and recently, a French court ruled in the royals' favor, awarding the Duke and Duchess €100,000 in damages.

Never one to shy away from rendering an opinion on a matter of public controversy, Donald Trump defended the photographers on Twitter, and shamed Duchess Kate, blaming her for the whole incident.

"Kate Middleton is great--but she shouldn't be sunbathing in the nude--only herself to blame," he tweeted.

"Who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!"

The Tweets are still public on his official account.

This unsavory history was on many people's minds when Theresa May revealed, during her first visit to Washington following the inauguration, that Donald Trump had accepted the Queen's invitation to Britain. The public response to this announcement was withering—and under threats of mass protest, Trump delayed his visit to England until now. He may also have heard the reports that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry weren't so keen on meeting with him.

That may also be a factor in why Melania made a solo trip to the Toronto Invictus Games in the fall of 2017.


The royal family keeps their political leanings to themselves, but Meghan Markle made her thoughts about Trump known before marrying Prince Harry in May. The then-actress called Trump "misogynistic" and said she would consider staying in Canada if he won the 2016 election. (Her show Suits filmed in Toronto.)


Donald and Melania Trump speak with Prince Charles during a reception at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 2005.

In December 2016, Prince Charles spoke publicly about the dangers of populism and xenophobia. He may well have been speaking of the climate—and campaign tactics—that lead to Brexit, but it's hard to ignore the veiled reference to Trump's politics as well.

“We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s."

Charles, a noted environmentalist, may also not be a fan of Trump's record on climate change. And in the forward of a recent book on the topic, Charles wrote: "I hope this modest attempt to alert a global public to the 'wolf at the door' will make some small contribution towards encouraging requisite action; action that must be urgently scaled up, and scaled up now."


Melania Trump meets with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games.

In September of 2017, Melania Trump embarked on her first solo international trip under her husband's administration, a big step for the presidential spouse who has taken her time stepping into the role embraced by most modern first ladies.

Following in the footsteps of her predecessor, Michelle Obama, Melania attended the Invictus Games in Toronto, an Olympics-style international competition for wounded servicemen and women.

The Games are Prince Harry's passion project, and in the past, he has recruited the American president and his family to help support the games. In 2016, the Queen even appeared in a video to smack talk the U.S.

Though Melania did meet with Prince Harry in Ontario, there was hardly the same cheeky rapport between the Windsors and the first family as in years past.


Given how Meghan spoke out against the Trump campaign, it's no surprise that he wasn't invited to her wedding, but in the end, no political leaders attended the celebration.

"It has been decided that an official list of political leaders–both UK and international– is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle's wedding," a spokesperson told Harper's Bazaar in advance of the big day. "Her Majesty's Government was consulted on this decision, which was taken by The Royal Household."

*This story originally appeared on
*Minor edits have been made by the editors

Recommended Videos
About The Author
Caroline Hallemann
View Other Articles From Caroline Hallemann
Latest Stories
Six standout new releases of the month-and one old favorite to revisit.
Who stands where during such events is determined by what is known as the order of precedence.
We get a closer glimpse at what the industrialist was like as a father.
Praises pour in for the late, great businessman John Gokongwei Jr., from those who have worked closely with him to employees who had encountered him.
This is your chance to help out while shopping for new kicks.
After years of rumblings, the beloved show is finally getting a revival on HBO Max.
Sotheby's London will offer 12 one-of-a kind Hemmerle pieces, the largest single-owner collection of Hemmerle ever to go on the block.
Liberal politics, Margaret and Tony's messy breakup, and the introduction of Camilla Shand.
Load More Articles