As the Harry and Meghan carnival rumbles on, the Queen has found an unexpected source of support: Donald Trump. During an interview with Nigel Farage, Trump said of Meghan: ‘I’m not a fan of hers. I wasn’t from day one…she is trying do things that I think are very inappropriate.’ Meanwhile, he painted the Duke of Sussex as her plaything: ‘I think Harry’s been used and been used terribly. I think it’s ruined his relationship with his family, and it hurts the Queen…I think some day he will regret it.’
If Trump doesn’t like Harry and Meghan, there’s no doubting his affection for the Queen. He described her in the interview which is due to air tonight on GB News as ‘a great woman, such a great person, a historic person’. Trump has never ceased to extol his admiration for Her Maj. In June 2019, after a state visit to the United Kingdom to commemorate D-Day, he boasted: ‘I have such a great relationship, and we were laughing and having fun. And her people said she hasn’t had so much fun in 25 years. Then I got criticised for it because they said we were having too much fun.’
It is easy to see why Trump idolises the Queen, and the institution of the Royal Family. For a narcissist and blowhard who has never knowingly been sick of self-love, it is desirable to have one organisation that he can direct his approval and admiration towards that does not have his name emblazoned upon it. Given that royalty appears to embody the superficial trappings of celebrity and fame that he holds dear – the parades, the pageantry, the private jets, the bling – he is happy to seize upon association with the British royal family by any means he can, not least through his own Scottish heritage. He would have made a fine Loyalist during the American War of Independence.
Whether the Queen found the 54th president’s company as convivial as he did hers is uncertain. The conspiracy-minded found signs of apparent dissent in such details during the state visit as her wearing a Burmese tiara (which, according to legend, possesses prophylactic properties guarding the wearer not only against illness but also against evil); and in a gift to Trump of Churchill’s Second World War book: the irony being that Churchill was (back then) regarded as a staunch anti-fascist, whereas Trump had notoriously praised ‘fine people on both sides’.
Yet it seems more likely that rather than subtly trolling the president, the Queen dealt with him in the same civil, professional fashion that she had handled the previous eleven American heads of state. (She never met Lyndon B Johnson, due to her pregnancy with Prince Edward.) While it is acknowledged that, of her prime ministers, Churchill and Wilson were her favourites, it’s unclear which president she had the greatest rapport with, although it’s known that she enjoyed meeting Reagan and Obama. Nobody, however, believes that Trump can expect any future invitations to Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, to his chagrin.
Trump’s recent comments attacking the Queen’s grandson and his wife will have been noted – and not in a good way. As the former president flails about in a vain attempt to remain relevant, his efforts to insinuate himself with the monarch are likely to be every bit as fruitless as his attempts to regain his Twitter handle.
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