July 28, 2021

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Joe Biden’s Protocol Breach at Queen Elizabeth II Meeting Explained by Royal Expert – Newsweek

2 min read

Joe Biden left his sunglasses on when he met Queen Elizabeth II, but a former royal butler told Newsweek “he should have removed them.”

The U.S. president and first lady Jill Biden arrived at Windsor Castle on helicopter Marine One for a military Guard of Honor and tea with the 95-year-old monarch.

However, amid the glare of English summer, the 78-year-old did not remove his dark glasses.

Grant Harrold, a former butler to Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, told Newsweek the president was entitled to wear his shades to the event but should have removed them at the point he greeted Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth II and Joe Biden
Joe Biden and Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on June 13 in Windsor, England, after the G7 Summit. The U.S. president kept his sunglasses on when greeting the queen, widely considered a breach of royal protocol.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

“If you’re meeting the queen face-to-face there’s no sunglasses or anything like that at all because eye contact is quite important with any introduction,” said Harrold, who gives etiquette advice through his website The Royal Butler.

“It’s fine for Biden to have had sunglasses on but he should have removed them when he actually met the queen,” Harrold continued. “Everyone else has to, it doesn’t matter who you are, even royals remove sunglasses when they meet royals. It’s one of those rules I always write about in my etiquette texts. It is a breach of protocol. I get the sun might have been shining in his eyes but the queen didn’t have sunglasses on. Jill, the first lady, didn’t have sunglasses on.”

Biden wore the glasses when, holding hands with the first lady, he first approached the dais in Windsor Castle’s Quandrangle to greet the queen.

He also had them on while standing, hand on heart, for the U.S. national anthem, but he did take them off part way through the ceremony.

Once the formalities were over, the Bidens joined Elizabeth inside the castle for tea away from the media.

While neither side released any account of what was discussed between the public figures, a picture gave a glimpse into the decor of the 1,000-year-old castle.

The trio were photographed against a backdrop of fuchsias, artwork from the royal collection and two grandfather clocks.

Around an hour and 15 minutes after touching down in Windsor the president and first lady were back in the air and on to their next stop, Brussels, in Belgium.

At Heathrow Airport, Biden told the press Elizabeth was “very gracious.” He added, “I don’t think she’ll be insulted, but she reminded me of my mother.”

For the queen, it caps off her busiest three days in more than a year after she attended a G7 reception on Friday and her scaled-down Trooping the Color birthday parade on Saturday.

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