Here's Why Things Could Get Very Awkward When Prince William Meets Trump
The prince remembers the president's comments about Princess Diana.
With President Donald Trump making his official state visit to the U.K. this week, he is scheduled to meet with several members of the royal family. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were on hand to welcome President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Buckingham Palace when they arrived in London.
Prince Harry will join the Queen at a private lunch for the Trumps on the second day of their visit. As has been previously reported, Meghan Markle—a vocal critic of the president before marrying the prince—isn't going to be at any of the festivities because she's on maternity leave, caring for newborn, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.
Prince William's and Kate Middleton's names are conspicuously absent from the official itinerary and aren't on the published guest list for the lavish banquet that the Queen will host in Trump's honor at Buckingham Palace.
One royal insider told me that while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will in all likelihood attend the state dinner, no one is expecting William to engage in any lengthy conversation with the president beyond the usual pleasantries.
"William and Harry are aware of the horrible comments Mr. Trump made about their mother after her death and were thoroughly disgusted at the time," said the source. "They have not forgotten it."
In 1997, shortly after Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris, Trump was interviewed by radio personality Howard Stern. At the time, he said the late princess (whom he called "Lady Di") was a "great beauty." He also said he would have had sex with her "without hesitation." Then he jokingly told Stern that Diana was "crazy."
Trump also bizarrely bragged that had Princess Diana been dating him instead of Dodi Fayed, the Princess' boyfriend at the time of her death, she would not have died in the crash. "If you look at this tunnel—and I really know that tunnel well, I've been through that tunnel many times—you can't go more than like 30, 40 miles," Trump said at the time.
The royal insider told me, "To have shown that level of disrespect with sexist comments about the Princess of Wales was shocking enough, but to call Diana 'crazy' was just beyond the pale."
The "crazy" comment is especially noteworthy, given that William (along with Harry, Kate, and Meghan) have taken up the cause of destigmatizing mental health issues. Both princes have spoken publicly about the devastating effect Diana's death had on their lives.
"William is still fiercely protective of his mother. He remembers when Trump was relentlessly pursuing her, sending her countless showy bouquets of red roses—which she gave to staff—and invitations to dinner," a close friend of Diana's told me. "She laughed it off at the time, but told me she found him very creepy. William will, I'm certain, be polite to the president as he would be to any world leader, but beyond that, he has nothing to say to him."
And for more on the royals, find out Why The Palace Is Worried About William and Kate.
Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.
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