- Donald Trump will make his first official State Visit to the United Kingdom between June 3 and June 5, 2019.
- Trump met with Queen Elizabeth in July 2018, but this was described as a "working visit," per CNN. Trump's 2019 visit is set to be a much more formal affair.
- Royal fans are calling into question whether the queen personally invited Trump, or if his visit was instructed by the British government.
Donald Trump will finally be undertaking an official state visit to the United Kingdom in June 2019, after initially being invited for a state visit by the queen way back in 2017. Although the Trumps met with Queen Elizabeth in July 2018, the "working visit" didn't have any of the trappings of a state visit—something which will be rectified upon their return to England.
The royal family's official Twitter account announced the news on April 23, writing, "The President of The United States of America, President Donald J. Trump, accompanied by Mrs Melania Trump, has accepted an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen to pay a State Visit to the U.K."
But whether or not Queen Elizabeth personally invited Trump for a state visit to the U.K. is a matter of much contention. Here, we examine whether the queen makes decisions regarding foreign visitors, or if she's instructed on who to invite for state visits by the British government.
The queen technically hosts visitors during state visits.
As every announcement regarding Trump's forthcoming visit proclaims, the queen has extended an invitation to the President of the United States. CNBC explains that "Trump has accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to visit the U.K." and it's true that the monarch will play host during the trip.
However, the Daily Mail's Rebecca English reports that the queen "would not host her visitors overnight as the East Wing has been closed," while Buckingham Palace undergoes "a massive ten-year, £365million programme of renovations." English notes that "aides insisted there was no snub intended," and that Queen Elizabeth would ordinarily host guests during state visits, if accommodation was available.
Despite the fact that the Trumps probably won't be staying with the queen, she will still host a state banquet for her American visitors.
The queen acts on the advice of government.
Per the royal family's official website, "Foreign Monarchs, Presidents or Prime Ministers are invited to visit The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office." Basically, although it is the Queen who extends any invitations, she is advised on who to invite to the U.K., and when the visits should take place.
Regarding Trump's visit, royal historian Cepe Smith tweeted, "HMQ is not responsible for the invitation for a State Visit to the U.K. by The President of the United States. The decision is made by Government. As Head of State she undertakes to host State Visits which are requested by Gov." As the royal family's official website explains, "Her Majesty does have important ceremonial and formal roles in relation to the government of the U.K.," which includes hosting State Visits.
State visits are meant to further national interests.
As the BBC reported in 2017, when Trump's state visit was initially announced (and subsequently postponed), "They have political purpose and are used by the government of the day to further what it sees as Britain's national interests."
The White House confirmed that the trip "will reaffirm the steadfast and special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition to meeting the queen, the president will participate in a bilateral meeting with prime minister Theresa May," per TIME. Understandably, the 2019 state visit is intended to continue the close relationship the U.K. shares with the U.S., and will presumably allow some important meetings to take place.
As for what happens during a traditional state visit, the royal family's official website explains, "Firstly, the Queen and other Members of the Royal Family greet visitors with a ceremonial welcome, which usually takes place on Horse Guards Parade."
It's also worth noting that the queen traditionally holds a state banquet in the Buckingham Palace Ballroom. Before the 150 guests eat dinner, Queen Elizabeth "makes a speech and proposes a toast to the visiting Head of State, who replies and in return proposes a toast to Her Majesty."
But regarding who made the decision to invite Trump to England, it seems that the plan belongs to the British government, rather than being the Queen's personal decision.