11 Times The Royals Clashed With U.S. Presidents

The royal family might not be politicians, but they've brushed shoulders with some of the most powerful and important people in history, including various presidents of the United States of America.

The royals have famously hosted and visited various presidents, and some visits were more, shall we say, interesting than others. For one, the Newcastle Evening Chronicle (via Vanity Fair) reported that President Lyndon B. Johnson once spent an evening with Princess Margaret foxtrotting till dawn to "Everything's Coming Up Roses" at the White House in 1965. While the two seemed to get on swimmingly, Margaret didn't visit the U.S. again — probably due to the exorbitant amount of money the trip cost. The Telegraph reported that the British Ambassador to America, Lord Cromer, didn't want the princess returning to the States because her uninhibited behavior put the royal family's reputation at risk — perhaps he wasn't a fan of Margaret doing the foxtrot with Johnson, no matter how amusing we might find it.

One monarch that most U.S. presidents had the honor of meeting was Queen Elizabeth II. After her death, tributes poured in from all over the world, most notably from former President Bill Clinton, who said that the queen "was an amazing woman" and that "it was wise not to underestimate her" (via CBS News). Of course, it hasn't always been smooth sailing when it comes to the relationship between the royal family and U.S. presidents, and there have been a few instances where things got a little rocky.

1. The Queen Mother was reportedly offended when President Jimmy Carter kissed her on the lips

If there's one thing we all know, it's that you don't touch the queen, or any royal, unless they hold out their hand for you to shake. Former President Jimmy Carter learned this the hard way when he came under fire for allegedly kissing Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother on the lips when he met her.

The infamous kiss took place in 1977 when Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, and The Queen Mother welcomed President Carter and NATO leaders to Buckingham Palace for dinner. British media outlets later reported that Carter kissed The Queen Mother on the lips when he greeted her, even citing a quote The Queen Mother apparently gave to her royal biographer: "He is the only man, since my dear husband died, to have had the effrontery to kiss me on the lips," she reportedly said (via The Washington Post). The Mirror also reported that The Queen Mother later said: "I took a sharp step backwards – not quite far enough."

Carter was reportedly mortified by the reports, saying that he kissed The Queen Mother "lightly on the cheek." In his biography, "A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety," Carter set the record straight, saying that he was upset with how the British media twisted the truth. "I was distressed by these reports, but couldn't change what had happened – nor did I regret it," Carter wrote (via The Washington Post).

2. Queen Elizabeth II got off on the wrong foot with First Lady Jackie Kennedy

Most of us know at least one person we love to hate, and it turns out Queen Elizabeth II did too. Allegedly, the queen wasn't fond of former president John F. Kennedy's wife, Jackie Kennedy.

It all started when the Kennedys were set to have dinner with the royal family. Jackie was apparently quite eager to meet and take pictures with Princess Margaret and Princess Marina of Greece but apparently didn't seem all that interested in or fond of Queen Elizabeth. She later told her writer friend Gore Vidal that "the queen was pretty heavy-going" (via The Washington Post) and that she didn't sense a warm relationship between the queen and Prince Philip. Eek!

The tension originally took root when Queen Elizabeth denied the first lady's request to invite her brother-in-law, the Polish Prince Stanisław Albrecht, to dinner. The monarch reportedly would've had no qualms about inviting the prince had it not been for the fact that Jackie's sister was his third wife. The queen did not approve of this, but Jackie, however, kept pushing and the decision was left up to a couple of diplomats who ended up ruling in Jackie's favor. Obviously, the queen was not happy with this. As a result, she allegedly removed Margaret and Marina from the guest list to ensure that Jackie wouldn't get her photo opportunity.

3. Queen Elizabeth II threw shade at President George H.W. Bush when he failed to adjust a lectern for her

Queen Elizabeth II was no stranger to the term "short people problems." While she was paying a visit to the United States in 1991, President George H.W. Bush failed to realize that the queen would not be able to see the crowd over the lectern that was adjusted for his height. After welcoming and introducing the queen to a joint meeting of Congress, he gave her a chance to speak, but the monarch's hat was the only thing the crowd could see.

Now, we all know that Queen Elizabeth was capable of cracking a smart joke every once in a while, and she did just that when she addressed the crowd. "I do hope you can see me today from where you are," she started her speech (via AP News), causing laughter and applause to erupt from the crowd. President Bush later apologized, saying that it was a slip-up from his chief of protocol, Joseph Reed. He added that he felt bad about the incident. "It wasn't fair to her and I'm just sorry that it was overlooked," Bush said. Reed tried to make light of the whole thing in a statement, saying that he thought the queen's extravagant hat deserved a moment in the spotlight. "I thought the queen's hat was so elegant that I wanted Washington and the world to see it," Reed said, adding: "Wasn't it beautiful?"

4. King Charles III and Prince William were upset by comments Donald Trump made about Princess Catherine

It might be safe to say that the royal family wasn't exactly thrilled when Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016 — and with good reason.

Back in 2012, a topless photograph of Princess Catherine appeared in Closer magazine. Catherine was vacationing with Prince William at a chateau in France when the paparazzi took a nude picture of her while she was sunbathing. As if the bad publicity was not enough, Donald Trump felt the need to weigh in, taking to Twitter to voice his opinion. "Kate Middleton is great — but she shouldn't be sunbathing in the nude — only herself to blame," Trump tweeted (via Newsweek). "Who wouldn't take Kate's picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!" he added. Come on, Donald! It's not exactly anyone's business what Catherine does on vacation.

Needless to say, Trump's tweets ruffled the royal family's feathers. In royal biographer Christopher Andersen's book "The King: The Life of Charles III," he reveals that Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry were terribly upset about Trump's tweets, especially because he made it out to be Catherine's fault that she was photographed without her consent. Andersen added that Charles asked several of his American friends about the possibility of having Trump impeached once he was president, saying that he was "detached from reality" and "a ghastly, awful man" (via Newsweek).

5. Prince William and King Charles III refused to meet Donald Trump while he was visiting the U.K.

Writing critical tweets about Princess Catherine back in 2012 did not exactly put Donald Trump in the royal family's good books, and it showed later on. Prince Harry, Prince William, and King Charles III teamed up to try and keep Trump from visiting the U.K. back in 2017, about a year after he was elected president. The three royals "burned up the phone lines between Clarence House and Kensington Palace, with all three princes agreeing to work behind the scenes to discourage Trump's visit," royal biographer Christopher Andersen writes in his book "The King: The Life of Charles III" (via Newsweek).

Trump didn't end up visiting the U.K. in 2017 because he was the subject of various protests in the country at the time. Whether the royals also had a hand in Trump postponing his visit is something we'll probably never know for sure. Trump did, however, make a state visit to the U.K. in 2018, but William, Charles, and Harry were nowhere to be seen. Instead, Queen Elizabeth II set out to meet Trump on her own. Prince William spent the day playing polo for charity while Charles attended a few events. "They simply refused to attend. It's a very, very unusual thing for the Queen to be there on her own," an insider told the Sunday Times.

6. King Charles III was disappointed that Donald Trump got his title wrong

When you're a world-famous royal and the sitting president of the United States gets your title wrong, it's got to sting a little. Donald Trump is known for his frequent spelling blunders, and he had the internet talking after getting King Charles III's title woefully wrong on one occasion. 

The typo occurred while Trump was tweeting up a storm in 2019 about his visit to the United Kingdom. Upon listing all the people he met with, he referred to then-Prince Charles as the "Prince of Whales" (via People). What ensued was a slew of tweets and memes making fun of the typo. Charles, however, did not find it amusing.

According to the book "The King: The Life of Charles III" by royal biographer Christopher Andersen, Charles was "disappointed" by the misspelling of his title. Camilla, Queen Consort, however, confided in one of her American friends that she found the whole thing hilarious and "couldn't stop laughing" once she saw Trump's blunder. Andersen writes that Camilla admitted that Charles found it incredibly disappointing. "I think he just felt as if he'd been wasting all that time talking to the man," Andersen wrote (via Newsweek).

7. Meghan Markle once slammed Donald Trump during a TV interview and he clapped back

Meghan Markle doesn't shy away from speaking her mind, and when she made an appearance on "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" in 2016, she didn't hold back when the subject of Donald Trump came up, calling him "divisive" and "misogynistic" (via Vanity Fair).

Trump didn't take too kindly to her words, and when he was presented with the opportunity to clap back, he did just that. In 2019, reports were swirling that Trump called Meghan "nasty" ahead of a trip to the U.K. Then in 2022, while appearing on "Piers Morgan Uncensored," Trump made his feelings about Meghan abundantly clear. "I'm not a fan of Meghan, and I wasn't from the beginning," he told Morgan during the interview (via The Sun). "Poor Harry is being led around by his nose," he continued.

Trump also said that Queen Elizabeth II should have stripped Harry and Meghan of their titles when they left the royal family. Then he took another jab at Harry. "Harry is whipped like no person I think I've ever seen," Trump said. He also said that he believes Harry is an embarrassment to the royal family and that his relationship with Meghan will end badly, citing his apparent ability to make accurate predictions as proof that their relationship will come to an end in the near future. Neither Harry nor Meghan commented on the interview, but as they say — silence is golden.

8. Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. would not pay for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's security detail

In 2020, Donald Trump took yet another jab at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry when they moved to the United States after their brief stay in Canada. Trump took to Twitter to let Harry and Meghan (and the world) know that the United States will not be assisting them financially when it comes to their personal security. "It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!" Trump tweeted.

As it turned out, the former president had nothing to worry about — Harry and Meghan were never planning on asking him for any assistance and had already taken steps to hire and pay for their own security. The couple's spokesperson released a statement that set the record straight, confirming that Harry and Meghan have "no plans to ask the U.S. government for security resources" (via the Evening Standard). It's unclear why Trump thought the former royals would ask for financial assistance.

9. It is widely believed that Queen Elizabeth II trolled Donald Trump on one occasion

It's widely known that Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed a good-natured joke every once in a while, so it wasn't too big of a stretch for people to believe that she was subtly trolling former president Donald Trump during one of his state visits to the U.K. 

Shadow foreign secretary at the time, Emily Thornberry, told CNN that the country as a whole wasn't exactly jumping up and down with excitement over Trump's visit. "I don't think that this president, given his behavior, deserves the honor," Thornberry said.

Many shared Thornberry's opinion, and rumors quickly spread across the internet that Queen Elizabeth shared the country's views and was trolling Trump through her accessories and the gift she gave him. Many pointed out that the Burmese Ruby Tiara the queen chose to wear during Trump's visit is believed to protect against evil. The gift the queen gave Trump was also widely speculated to be a subtle jab. It was a first-edition copy of Winston Churchill's book "The Second World War." Trevor Noah from "The Daily Show" even pointed out what an unusual gift this was. "That's right, the queen's gift for Donald Trump was a book," Noah said explaining that Trump's aversion to reading is common knowledge (via YouTube). "Either she doesn't know Trump, or she's trolling him," he said. We're leaning toward the latter.

10. President Joe Biden broke royal protocol when he wore sunglasses while meeting Queen Elizabeth II

While paying a visit to Queen Elizabeth II in 2021, President Joe Biden forgot to take off his sunglasses while greeting the queen, and according to a palace insider, that's a big no-no, even when you're a member of the royal family. Oops.

Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden paid a visit to Windsor Castle for a military Guard of Honor, after which they joined the queen for tea. All went as planned except for the fact that President Biden kept his sunglasses on throughout the big meetup. "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 royal butler Grant Harrold (via Newsweek). "It doesn't matter who you are, even royals remove sunglasses when they meet royals," he added, saying that Biden breached royal protocol when he kept his sunglasses on. 

It appears the queen wasn't too offended, because she still had the president and his wife over for tea after all the formalities were dealt with. Needless to say, Biden will likely leave his sunglasses at home next time he's set to meet a member of the royal family.

11. Princess Diana had to ward off unwanted affection from Donald Trump

One of the alleged reasons why some royal family members are not fond of former president Donald Trump is because of the way he pursued Princess Diana after her divorce from King Charles III. Diana didn't want anything to do with Trump, but the former president isn't very adept at taking a hint or respecting boundaries.

Journalist Selina Scott revealed how Trump pursued Diana in a column she wrote for the Sunday Times in 2015 (via People). Apparently, Diana was bombarded with flower deliveries after her divorce from Charles — all from Trump. Scott says Trump saw Diana as "the ultimate trophy wife" but the princess was uncomfortable with the attention. "It had begun to feel as if Trump was stalking her," Scott explained in her column, adding that Diana confided in her that Trump gave her "the creeps."

After Diana's death, Trump still couldn't stop talking about her. During a radio interview with Howard Stern, he went as far as to say that he could have persuaded Diana to have sex with him if he wanted to. Now, Trump is set to publish a letter Diana allegedly wrote to him in his upcoming book "Letters to Trump." He told Breitbart News that everyone mentioned in the book, including Diana, "kissed my a**." Princess Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, clapped back at Trump's claims in a tweet saying Diana "clearly viewed him [Trump] as worse than an anal fissure." Oof!