What Will Melania Trump Do In The UK? The First Lady Has Plans Of Her Own
A much-anticipated meeting is finally happening across the pond: The British Prime Minister's office confirmed Friday that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will meet with Queen Elizabeth II during their trip to Britain on Friday the 13th, according to USA Today. But what will Melania Trump do in the U.K.? Is she just accompanying the president for publicity, or is she a huge fan of the Queen?
So far, details about the subject of the Trumps' meeting with the Queen are scant. They will reportedly arrive on Thursday afternoon via Air Force One after the NATO summit in Brussels, The Sun reported. The couple will then attend what the Sun described as a "lavish" dinner and concert at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Trump and Melania will reportedly spend the night in the U.S. Ambassador's Winfield House in Regents Park.
The next day, Trump will visit with Prime Minister Theresa May, though it's unclear where. The Sun reported that they will visit an "undisclosed" defense site, while both USA Today and The Guardian reported they will discuss foreign policy at May's country retreat, Chequers.
As for what Melania will be up to, The Daily Mail reported that Melania could "well be the key to ensuring the visit is still a success ... thanks to her positive effect on his public image." Melania's spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, also told USA Today that Melania might have a few solo engagements on Friday morning, but details haven't been confirmed.
While the president meets with May, Melania will be "hosted" by May's husband Philip, Downing Street confirmed to The Sun. The pair's itinerary is just as unclear as the rest of the schedule, but The Telegraph reported that the two would embark on a "special spouses' program" for the first half of Friday. The details of the program haven't yet been released, but The Sun reported that Philip went on a similar "spouses" tour in Hamburg, Germany, last year during the G20 Summit, which included a boating tour with the spouses of other leaders.
Whatever the two do together, Philip is likely to have one big goal: shield Melania from the 50,000 protestors who plan to gather in London on both Thursday and Friday, according to Esquire. The Guardian reported that every location President Trump is visiting will be "out of sight and earshot" of the protestors, so there's no doubt that Philip and Melania's itinerary will aim to achieve the same.
Still, it's unclear whether both pairs will be far enough away to avoid the giant floating "Trump baby" balloon, which was created by activist Leo Murray and approved by the Greater London Authority, Esquire reported.
On Friday afternoon, Trump and Melania will then reportedly go to Windsor Castle, where they will meet with Queen Elizabeth II. USA Today noted that because the meeting is in the afternoon, "it is likely there will be tea involved."
Not only have news sources speculated about what the first lady will wear to meet the Queen, The Sunday Express also noted that Melania will have to choose a formal greeting: she could curtsy, nod, or shake hands with the Queen — but she can only do the latter if the Queen offers a handshake, because royal etiquette states that the Queen should not be touched. Although First Lady Michelle Obama broke that royal protocol in 2009 when she put her arm around the Queen, the Queen just smiled and did the same to the first lady in return, according to USA Today.
Given Melania's public reactions to physical affection or touch in the past, though, I'd say she'll probably stick with a curtsy.