Aides to King Charles told The Daily Beast that the king positively welcomed an apparent breach of protocol Monday when President Biden patted the king on the back as they met at Windsor Castle amidst much pomp and ceremony.
A source at Buckingham Palace told the Royalist: “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.”
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The back-patting incident happened shortly after Biden stepped off helicopter Marine One for a meeting with Charles which the palace, in another departure from established norms, widely briefed was going to be dominated by a discussion about climate threats.
As he arrived at the quadrangle of Windsor Castle, where he was greeted by the marching band of the Welsh Guards playing the Star Spangled Banner, Biden appeared to pat the new king on the back.
Historically it is forbidden to touch the monarch’s body without permission or invitation (such as an extended hand), however the rule has been broken before.
In 1992, Paul Keating, the then-Prime Minister of Australia was dubbed the “Lizard of Oz” by the British media after he put his hand around Queen Elizabeth II’s back.
Courtiers today, however, played down the incident and also said that the president walking a few steps ahead of the king while inspecting the guard of honor was “in fact the correct protocol” for such an engagement, contrary to some reports.
In an undoubtedly significant break with tradition, however, the palace actively briefed that a private meeting, over tea, between Biden and the king would be dominated by discussions of the environment and climate change, arguably controversial at the king is supposed to sit above politics.
The emphasis that the palace placed on the relaxed and friendly nature of the encounter will be seen in some quarters as an attempt to push back against claims that there is an unusually antagonistic relationship between Biden and the British establishment in general.
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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