Prince Harry Snubs Trump By Skipping State Banquet with the Queen
Duke of Sussex missing from event after president's comments about Meghan Markle
Prince Harry snubbed Donald Trump by not turning up to the official state banquet held by the Queen in honor of the president's visit.
The move by the Duke of Sussex Harry followed reports in the media that had twisted President Trump's comments about his wife Meghan Markle into a negative light.
Prior to the exclusive white-tie dinner, Harry had chaperoned the POTUS's daughter, Ivanka Trump, into Buckingham Palace's Picture Gallery for a presentation of American artifacts.
The young duke appeared to keep his distance from the president - who was accused in the media of calling Harry's wife Meghan "nasty" after learning of remarks she made about him while she was an actress.
Trump's comments were taken out of context, however, from an interview where he largely heaped praise on the American Duchess of Sussex.
According to the Daily Mail, the Queen's grandson quickly disappeared into the background and did not follow other members of the Royal Family as they walked around the exhibition with the American leader and his party.
The 34-year-old's American-born wife once said she would leave the country if the "divisive" Mr. Trump was elected US president.
And speculation was rife that the prince had been angered by the comments apparently made by the president, after learning of the remarks Meghan made in 2016.
Harry, 34, had been a last minute addition to the proceedings after aides initially suggested that neither he nor his wife would take part.
This was partly due to the recent birth of their son, Archie, and also the fact that they do not normally get involved in State visits due to their position in the royal pecking order.
The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall @ClarenceHouse The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge @KensingtonRoyal, The Duke of York and The Earl and Countess of Wessex are also in attendance at the #USStateVisit banquet at Buckingham Palace. pic.twitter.com/rSWSNV1FKn— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 3, 2019
Harry is now seventh in line to the throne and has only ever attended one State banquet previously.
Meghan is on maternity leave, having given birth to the couple's first son just a month ago.
But her omission would no doubt have come as a relief, with her previously describing Mr. Trump as a "misogynist" and "divisive" in a 2016 interview when working as an actress.
She said she would consider moving permanently to Canada, where she was then living while filming the TV drama Suits, as she didn't want to live "in that kind of world he is painting."
But to the surprise of many, Buckingham Palace suddenly announced with little more than a week to go that Harry would now join the Queen and other dignitaries for lunch at the Palace following the Trumps' arrival by helicopter.
A spokesman declined to comment further but it appeared that pressure had been put to bear on the couple to at least show willing given the significance of the Queen's VIP guest.
Royal sources stressed that Harry had shaken hands with Ivanka and her husband Jared, as well as with John Bolton, the President's National Security Advisor.
They also insisted that there was no "scripted procession" for members of the royal family to walk around and view the exhibition.
The lunch with Mr. Trump, held in the Blue Drawing Room, was the least visible of the events held by Buckingham Palace yesterday.
"This evening, we thank God for the brave sons of the United Kingdom and the United States, who defeated the Nazis and the Nazi regime, and liberated millions from tyranny. The bond between our nations was forever sealed in that great crusade." pic.twitter.com/wqXT8ZGik1— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 3, 2019
All the guests at the lunch were expected to attend a display of artifacts from the Royal Collection, the treasure trove of art, antiques, and artifacts held by the Queen on behalf of the nation, in the Picture Gallery afterward, which is captured by the media.
Harry's appearance was notably fleeting, though.
Although he chivalrously walked Ivanka in, the prince ducked out of joining the group as they politely walked around the display.
In doing so he left the US President's daughter to be rescued by a female member of staff from the Royal household.
"On behalf of all Americans, I offer a toast to the eternal friendship of our people, the vitality of our nations, and to the long-cherished and truly remarkable reign of Her Majesty The Queen." pic.twitter.com/R50gayneD5— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 3, 2019
She quickly paired her up with the Duke of York, who could later be heard chatting to her about golf as they looked at pictures taken of royals through the ages at St Andrew's.
Meanwhile, the rest of the royal party - including the Queen, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of York, Duke of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester - walked off smiling towards the cameras.
At one point Harry could briefly be seen leaning back on his heels and stretching his arms as he chatted to one of the Queen's most senior courtiers, Earl Peel and Lord Chamberlain, before making a fairly hasty exit.
There was no official comment from Buckingham Palace last night.
Ahead of his visit to the UK, Mr. Trump allegedly called the prince's wife's comments "nasty" in an interview with The Sun.
When told she had made critical comments about him, the president told the newspaper: "I didn't know that. What can I say? I didn't know that she was nasty."
But he also praised the Duchess, saying she makes a "very good American Princess" and claiming he was glad she was part of the Royal Family.
"It is nice, and I am sure she will do excellently. She will be very good. I hope she does [succeed]," he said.
His words were twisted out of context in the media, however, and framed as an example of his outspoken attacks on his female critics.
But Mr. Trump later denied making the comment, tweeting: "I never called Meghan Markle 'nasty'. Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!"