Sitting at my computer at this moment, my gaze wanders around the room to identify all the things that identify me as an anglophile. Queen Victoria has a mug and a bust, and there’s a smaller bust of her son, Edward VII. Behind me in the corner is a collection of figurines of Henry VIII and his six wives, plus Elizabeth I and Eleanor of Aquitaine for good measure. And then there are the portraits of those six wives that pretty much dominate the room.
The Duchess of Windsor, as close to British royalty as we Americans had before the Duchess of Sussex, has her space, too. Fittingly, the best memorabilia associated with her is kept in a French vitrine outside the room where the English royals look down from the walls and most of the nooks and crannies.
Wallis, not the Duchess but the maltese who runs this house, and her littermate brother Edward have chosen a spot directly under the painting of the first of the wives as the best place in the house to have an accident. I call that fitting.
Naturally, a state visit to the United Kingdom by the American president is a keen focus of interest to me. And based on the press this week, to a lot of other folks as well. Though America eschewed a royal system in favor of a republican one (albeit with some aristocratic overtones), there’s a bit of fascination when we collide with the Brits. After all, as American cousins, we don’t want to come off like a bunch of country bumpkins, do we?
So when the Trumps met the Windsors, a bit of comparison seems in order. Not of the “who wore it better” variety—there’s been more than enough commentary on Trump’s lack of competent tailoring—but what do these folks have in common? Well, more than one might think.
For example, Prince Andrew was tasked with hosting the tour of Westminster Abbey for Donald and Melania Trump. Not quite the honor it was when the Duke of York was second in line to the throne (he’s down to eighth), but still royal enough. Do you suppose they ever got the chance to compare notes about their mutual friend Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire pedophile?
What of Prince Phillip? It has long been rumored that he was unfaithful to the Queen in the early years of their marriage. If true, Trump can meet your unfaithfulness and raise you two.
But garden variety indiscretions can be considered isolated incidents. What about actually marrying one’s mistress following a public scandal about the affair? Prince Charles and Trump both check that box and brought proud proof of their behavior to the state dinner in the form of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Tiffany, Daughter of Marla. (Bless both their hearts for entirely different reasons.)
So, by my count, it takes three royals to come up with the sexual improprieties that Trump was able to rack up all by himself. That is something he might take as win, don’t you think?
There’s so much more that could be said, and has been said, about other aspects of this visit. Ivanka’s hat, the presence of Trump’s other adult children, and the absence of the only real American royal from any of the events to name of few. One can only imagine the reaction of that other Wallis, the one who only reached a quasi royal rank at her internment at the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore.
I hear her saying in that raspy, southern belle voice, “Poor Lilibet. The next King of England and his Queen Consort, both divorced after their adulterous affair and now married to each other. And he’s to be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. And his son has married a divorced biracial American who, to make things worse, was an actress. Now here poor Lilibet is, giving a state dinner for the American president who claimed he could have nailed Diana, Princess of Wales—the mother of the future King of England. I could go on, but if you’ll look around, you’ll see that my namesake has said it all for me with that little tribute she’s presented right under the portrait of Catherine of Aragon.”
Wallis, you are so right. After all these years, we’ve finally caught up with the Windsors. But somehow, it’s not quite what I expected.