President Joe Biden formally met with Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday. According to Insider, the president possibly broke royal protocol while meeting with the monarch. Biden's apparent faux pas tied back to his attire for their meeting, as he donned one accessory that could be considered a royal protocol breach.
Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have been in the United Kingdom for the past few days for the G7 summit, which is being held in Cornwall. The president met with the Queen during a reception for the event that was held on Friday. But, President Biden and the First Lady were formally introduced to Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle on Sunday. The monarch reportedly hosted them at the residence for tea. Insider noted that this was not President Biden's first meeting with Queen Elizabeth. He first met her in 1982 when he was a senator from the state of Delaware. Biden was able to be reintroduced to the Queen more recently as a world leader.
There are specific royal customs that individuals are encouraged to follow when meeting with the Queen. Those customs include bowing or curtsying to her and referring to her by "Your Majesty." However, when the president and his wife met the monarch on Sunday, they did not bow or curtsy to her. They also did not shake her hand, which would be adhering to traditional standards. But, Biden's possible faux pas came as he left his sunglasses on when he met the Queen. He kept the sunglasses towards the beginning of their visit, but he removed them halfway through when the National Anthem was playing.
Grant Harrold, who previously worked as a royal butler to Prince Charles, explained to Newsweek why people should remove their sunglasses when meeting with the head of the royal family. He said, "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." Even though certain customs are encouraged, the royal family's official website has stated that there are no specific rules that people must follow when meeting with Queen Elizabeth or another member of the royal family. They state, “There are no obligatory codes of behavior when meeting The Queen or a member of the Royal Family, but many people wish to observe the traditional forms.”