The long-awaited meeting between King Charles III and President Joe Biden finally happened on Monday, July 10. After lots of headlines about the president’s coronation snub in May, the Windsor Castle visit appeared to be warm and congenial — maybe a bit too warm by royal protocol standards.
After Joe Biden exited his Marine One helicopter, he was ushered onto the greens of Windsor Castle where the Welsh Guards marching band ceremoniously played “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was at that pomp and circumstance moment when the president appeared to have given Charles a pat on the back — and it happened several more times during their meeting. As royal watchers know, a person is not supposed to touch any part of a monarch’s body unless they’ve been permitted to do so, like an extended hand for a handshake.
Well, leave it to Joe Biden to break that royal protocol. However, no one should make a big fuss over it because it appears that the king is OK with the breach. A Buckingham Palace insider told The Daily Beast, “His Majesty the King is entirely comfortable with that kind of contact—and what a wonderful symbol of warmth and affection it was between both the individuals and their nations.” So, the hand-on-the-back touch is much ado about nothing.
However, King Charles III has been working hard to make the royal family feel more relatable, and this could be a small way he’s modernizing the monarchy. There will always be formal occasions when royal protocol must be strictly followed, but with the two men in power positions, it looks like the palace is finally adapting to contemporary times.
Before you go, click here to see every time Queen Elizabeth has met the US Presidents!