The two most famous people in the world meet for the first time next week. Queen Elizabeth II has invited President Trump to Windsor Castle on July 13.
The prospect of this encounter has caused much dismay in Britain, where Trump is widely reviled. There are many protests planned during the visit. The authorities have even approved a request to fly over London a blimp fashioned in the form of a bleating infant Trump in diapers.
Many Brits thought it was just asking too much of the monarch meet Trump personally. But in the end diplomatic priorities overrode fears that these two heads of state were just too far apart in manners and style.
The Queen, it was felt, had to grit her teeth and do the polite thing. After all, during 66 years on the throne she has – by conservative estimates – personally met more than one million people. That includes handshakes and a few words exchanged, but it’s pretty staggering.
However, the idea that these two live on different planets is mistaken. They have far more in common than most people realize.
This becomes clear when you start to think about how the conversation between them could go.
LOCATION: The Queen’s private audience room, Windsor Castle. The Queen stands beside a small table that is set for tea—tea for two. In the background a private secretary hovers discreetly. The door opens, a flunkey announces: the President of the United States, the Right Honorable Donald Trump.
TRUMP, hand extended: “Majesty. Have to tell ya, this is a helluva set!”
THE QUEEN, puzzled: Set?
“This place. Nobody ever built me a set like this. Not yet. We’ll see what happens. Watched the show. Big fan. Big. The production values were terrific.”
(Tight smile) Please sit. The show?
“The wedding. Incredible. Incredible ratings, bigger than Roseanne. Incredible.”
“Loved Harry’s uniform. Love his looks. Right from central casting. Real cute, that military uniform. Ivanka is making copies as we speak. You have some of the best people. Great military. Great military. You know, the military are the only people I trust. I love them. They love me. You know what? I was so impressed when Macron put on a great show for me, military, tanks, planes…I decided to have one for myself. The French do good parades. On the battlefield, not so good…”
“Good looking wife, too…Macron…. (surveys the room)… so, this is medieval, right? Really old?”
The first part of the castle was built by William the Conqueror…. he was French, you know.
Construction began in 1070, with additions over the centuries. Forty British sovereigns have lived here.
“Forty?” (takes another survey). “Who would have guessed? That’s what I like about you people, keep it in the family. Family. Family are the only people I trust.”
Actually, it was not the same family. There have been a number of dynasties. (Effort to smile). Some have not ended too well, I’m afraid.
“Is that so? I think I read about that, once. The Tower. Chopped, right? But you’re okay? Your son inherits, right?”
Yes, he does. As you inherited from your father, I believe?
(frowns, juts jaw) “Not bigly. A few dimes. I built the business. I didn’t need help.”
Do have some tea. Have a ginger biscuit. Charles makes them.
(picks up biscuit, looks at brand logo on package) “Duchy? Who’s Duchy?”
Duchy of Cornwall, that’s Charles’s own little bit of England. Duchy is Charles’s hobby. He produces food for the supermarkets. (Sips tea). Only the better class of supermarket, of course.
(stunned) “Really? “(looks again at package). “Don Junior could take a tip from this…Ivanka has the marketing brains…Classy branding, I have to say…what’s this symbol?”
It’s a portcullis. A kind of gate on a castle. We raise it to let people in…and lower it to keep other people out. (icy smile).
“You raised it for the new girl. Right?”
New girl?...oh, Meghan? We adore Meghan. She has made Harry very happy…all of us adore her…and she has such a nice dog.
“Ginger biscuit, huh?…maybe I should import these…for you, no tariffs! “
“Have to tell ya, I do a good line in food myself…steaks…and you wouldn’t believe my chocolate cake. I served it at Mar-a-Lago, my place in Florida, to President Xi Jinping. You know him?”
I am afraid I do. His people were very rude to my ambassador when they came to Buckingham Palace.
“Yea, well…. He smiles a lot.”
(takes another biscuit)
“Majesty…if I may, the new girl. I just wonder. Did you check the birth certificate? Have to ask. Sometimes these people, well…you understand…”
I’m afraid I don’t.
“…sometimes these people aren’t born where they say they are born, sometimes they are really born in Africa.”
Really? We love Africa. Of course, one doesn’t travel as much as one did…state visits can be very tiring, don’t you find? But, of course, you are new to all of this…
(mind elsewhere) “So you have this place…Buckingham Palace…how many other places? “
Well, there’s Sandringham. We love Sandringham, good shooting for Philip, but the rooms are rather hard to keep warm, we feel the cold more than we did, Philip particularly. Then there is Osborne House, a small place on the Isle of Wight, that was Victoria’s favorite…we find it rather like a museum, not a home…
… but then there is Balmoral. We love Balmoral. In Scotland. My heart is always in Scotland.
(sudden flare of interest). “Scotland! Love Scotland! The golf courses…I have the best, the very best, Turnberry…bit of a dump when I bought it, but I put the best people in there, the very best. Only one problem, you know…guests steal the bathrobes.”
Oh, I quite understand. We have had that problem at Buckingham Palace. Absolutely the worst case was…when was it?....1978, I think. We had those dreadful people the Ceausescus from Romania, those were the most terrible three days of my life. Before they arrived President Giscard d’Estaing of France called me, the Ceausescus and their entourage had been staying at the Elysee Palace. He warned me—such a kind man—that they had stolen lamps, vases, even bathroom fittings.
“You have to be kidding…”
No, not at all. We had to lock up the family silver!
(Suddenly a more relaxed feeling between them.)
“You know, Majesty, you have a great real estate portfolio, I have a great real estate portfolio…built it all myself. Only person I trust, myself.”
(picks up biscuit package, twirls it)
“What a great brand we could have, together…Trump-Windsor!…I can see it in gold…between us we have the best name recognition in the world…what a show…nobody does soap opera like you do…the ratings…together we could have one hell of a brand…and the franchises. Forget about biscuits.”
Do you know, Mr. President, it’s interesting that you should mention names, is it not? Our names are not our original names, are they?
(pause for sip of tea)
We both have German blood, do we not? Mr. Drumpf? That was the family name, was it not? Drumpf?
“Majesty, you have German blood? I didn’t know that.”
Going back a long way…Hanoverian, then Saxe-Coburg Gotha…we changed it to Windsor in the Great War…in the circumstances, it did not sit well. I’m sure you understand. We could not afford any confusion about where our loyalties lay.
“Majesty, this is big. Better than big. This is yuge! Yuge! My mother was Scottish. She came from the islands, the Hebrides, her name was Mary Anne MacLeod.”
Really? How extraordinary. My mother was the daughter of Lord Glamis, of Glamis Castle, in Scotland.
(looks around critically toward hovering secretary)
Why was I not told this? Scottish blood…German blood…my goodness! We do rather have a lot in common!
(Long pause for mutual revelation)
Trump-Windsor? Windsor-Trump, surely?