/Trump, first lady mingle with the queen and royal family members at palace NATO reception

Trump, first lady mingle with the queen and royal family members at palace NATO reception

First lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump, Prince Charles and his wife, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall met at Clarence House for tea on Dec. 3, 2019 in London, ahead of a reception for NATO leaders at Buckingham Palace.

President Donald Trump has left no doubt over the years that he is a big fan of Queen Elizabeth II, so when she hosted a 70th anniversary reception at Buckingham Palace Tuesday evening for NATO leaders, the president and first lady Melania Trump were there to mingle.

For the NATO reception, the dress code was cocktail attire, and cameras caught what the Trumps were wearing when they arrived at the palace: Melania Trump was in a buttercup-yellow dress with a floor-length cape dropping from her shoulders and faced with magenta-colored material. The president wore a dark business suit with a royal-blue tie. 

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at a reception for NATO leaders hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on Dec. 3, 2019 in London.

Despite their current embarrassment over sex allegations against Prince Andrew, the royal turnout for the reception was impressive, starting with the future king, Prince Charles, and his wife, Duchess Camilla of Cornwall.

The Prince of Wales, 71, is taking an ever more prominent role in high-level occasions now that his father, Prince Philip, 98, has retired, and his mother moves further into her 10th decade.

Earlier on Tuesday, he and Camilla,  wearing a bright red dress, hosted the Trumps for tea at Clarence House, the second time the president and first lady met the royal heir at his London residence. 

The queen, who also held three audiences earlier on Monday to receive diplomats from two countries and also NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, was wearing a cream-colored dress with pearls and a large diamond sunburst brooch at these earlier meetings. 

Charles’ daughter-in-law, Duchess Kate of Cambridge, 37, was also present at the palace reception but without her husband, Prince William. According to a post on Twitter, she was dressed in a green dress.

William, 37, the second in line to the throne, is on a four-day official visit to Kuwait and Oman as he, too, takes on more responsibility representing his grandmother and Britain abroad.

Even more interesting is who wasn’t there from the royal family: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, 59, the queen’s second son, who ordinarily would be present for such a reception.

But Andrew stepped away from all royal duties two weeks ago after an interview he did with the BBC was widely attacked for failing to adequately explain his longtime relationship with American convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and whether he had sex with a 17-year-old two decades ago.

Asked about Andrew and his troubles, Trump denied knowing him even though he has met him several times, including most recently in June according to photos. Even earlier, in 2000, Trump was pictured with his then-girlfriend Melania Knauss alongside Andrew and Epstein at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

“I don’t know Prince Andrew, but it’s a tough story,” Trump told reporters in London earlier Tuesday. “I don’t know him, no.”

Prince Andrew with President Donald Trump and Dean of Westminster John Hall during Trump's visit to Westminster Abbey on June 3, 2019 in London.

Also missing from the reception: Prince Harry, 35, and Duchess Meghan of Sussex, 38, who are taking a family-time break with their new baby Archie until the New Year.

But they were unlikely to have been at the reception anyway. The former Meghan Markle, an American ex-actress who was no fan of Trump before marrying Harry in May 2018, skipped meeting him in June, only a month after she gave birth.

The schedule for the reception was fairly typical for this sort of royal event: The queen, Prince Charles and Camilla formally received the NATO leaders and their partners, then they all posed for a group photograph.

After that they joined Duchess Kate, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (the queen’s youngest son), her daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and some of the monarch’s close cousins to welcome the guests in the State Rooms of the palace.

It was Trump’s third encounter with the queen in two years, although this time wasn’t as focused on him as the first two meetings were, in June this year and in July 2018.

He had to share the 93-year-old monarch with NATO heads of government and heads of state and their partners from the 29 countries that make up the alliance, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. 

Trump regularly complains, including before he left for London on Monday, about how much the U.S. contributes to NATO in comparison to other members. .  

President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth II toast during state banquet at Buckingham Palace, June 3, 2019.

“It has not been a fair situation for us, we pay far too much,” he told reporters, holding an umbrella as he left the White House. 

But the British queen is a different story. He called her “that great, great woman” in his toast at the palace banquet she hosted for him and members of his family, who were treated to a pomp-and-ceremony state visit in June.

The previous July, when he and the first lady met the queen for tea at Windsor Castle, he was just as effusive, calling her an “absolutely a terrific person.”

In 2017, Trump told The Times in London that he may have gotten his love for the queen and for Britain from his Scottish-born mother, Mary Anne MacLeod, an immigrant to the U.S. who died in 2000.

“Any time the queen was on television, an event, my mother would be watching. Crazy, right?,” Trump said. “My mother sort of had a flair, she loved the queen, she loved anything — she was so proud of the queen. She loved the ceremonial and the beauty, because nobody does that like the English.”