Erm, I think the faux pas was the bandleaders. Toasts are normally long winded. To assume the President of the United States would simply state 'A toast to the Queen' is implying that he has the class and culture of a Bush.
The Queen looked embarrassed because the band made her look bad.
Posted by: Go Galt. Please. | May 25, 2011 7:46:49 AM
You guys take the royal family much more seriously then we do! You do realize they are made up of a bunch of con artists? With barely any education between the lot of them?
Please take them! We don't want them!
Posted by: Rowan | May 25, 2011 7:51:39 AM
Hey, I'm as big a critic of the President as they come but I thought the anthem was actually a great backdrop to the toast. The Queen could have played along...instead the dour old sot grumpily ignored the President's gracious words to her. She made a small faux pas into something much more noticeable.
Posted by: 207guy | May 25, 2011 7:55:20 AM
Oh who cares - we fought to get out of the monarchy from the beginning.
Posted by: Seriously | May 25, 2011 7:59:53 AM
I spoke too soon. Apparently, the president did break protocol by not standing silent while 'God Save The Queen' played. But, in his defense, I would point out that the regal response to having your toast to the Queen interrupted is to storm out of the room and send the troops in to conquer the country. Or at the very least, burn and pillage a bit.
Posted by: Go Galt. Please. | May 25, 2011 8:05:36 AM
They must have used the same band as the one they use at the Oscars.
Posted by: Chadd | May 25, 2011 8:05:38 AM
Posted by: shanesoho | May 25, 2011 8:34:38 AM
Poor Barry was just a bit nervous because Camilla kept tweeting him pics of her shaved snatch with the caption "veto this"
The problem is clearly with the song. In England, "God Save The Queen" is the equivalent of the national anthem. In America, a President is allowed to speak during "My Country 'Tis Of Thee."
Posted by: jpeckjr | May 25, 2011 9:11:19 AM
@GO GALT: It was probably a breach of protocol to interrupt the President with music too and I am not sure what official protocol says to do when the song starts playing while you are talking. Awkward! At least he didn't barf on her like Bush 1 did with the Japanese Prime Minister. Now THAT was funny!
Posted by: Chadd | May 25, 2011 9:17:49 AM
i don't understand what was awkward.
Posted by: jim morrissey | May 25, 2011 9:21:31 AM
Queeny actually says at the end 'Thank you that was very nice' She seems geninunely fond of the Obamas. She has actually broken protocol with Michelle by fondly embracing her, and she never normally gives any mention of the kids....I honestly think there is a warmth between them that apparently allows them to not stand on ceremony so much. I thought it seemed dignified and respectful. I also happen to think Obama is the best president America could ever possibly hope for so i am kind of biased. He is a ton of class with a steely magnetism about him that we love in the UK.Even Philip (who is an old codger full of hate) seems to like him. Lots of love a Brit.
Posted by: Paul | May 25, 2011 9:28:18 AM
Andy, this may be the very definition of a mountain out of a molehill.
Posted by: brenda | May 25, 2011 9:37:23 AM
A simple mistake, no harm done. Things happen.
Posted by: Matt26 | May 25, 2011 9:38:47 AM
No one in London is making anything out of this except that there is genuine respect for the president from the queen downwards.
What matters is real manners and he has that to the utmost and that is one of the reasons he is so popular, he has the kind of old fashioned good manners that us brits expect from americans and it is nice to see it displayed by a powerful man.
Posted by: arch | May 25, 2011 9:44:10 AM
I'm not a fan of Obama, and I no nothing of stodgy aristocratic protocol, but it seems the music started early. What I found most amazing is that Camilla didn't budge until the servant came to move out her chair. These are people who have servants to put their toothpaste on their toothbrush, it's amazing that people are not ashamed of that!
Posted by: The Iron Orchard | May 25, 2011 10:10:13 AM
1) The Queen and royal family are raised, from birth, on protocol.
2) An American president isn't raised on protocol, and is elected primarily as the leading political figure in the country, and more formally as head of state [which mostly involves things a figurehead is responsible for in many other countries like the UK.] I'm sure American presidents are given crash courses on 'protocol', and there are people whose job is to make sure 'protocol' is followed. Obviously, no one is perfect. Not Obama. Not Bush. And judging by the way Gordon Brown was treated, not the people in the president's protocol office.
What is amusing though is if me or you [most of us at least] did something similar, especially if it involved our job, we'd take a long time to live it down. People have lost their jobs for lesser things. But the president will just 'laugh it off'.
Posted by: ratbastard | May 25, 2011 10:36:29 AM
When I was 20, while my family and I were visiting friends in England, I was a guest at a Rotary Club meeting in Newcastle. Our friend was vice-chairman of the club. At the end of the meeting, we were all asked to stand for a loyalty toast to the Queen, the equivalent of saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag in the US.
I stood politely, but did not raise my glass for the toast. I said to our friend, the vice-chairman, "I hope no one was offended that I did not toast loyalty to the Queen. She's a lovely person, but I don't feel particularly loyal to her."
His response: "Well that question was rather settled at Yorktown, wasn't it?" And we had a good chuckle.
Posted by: James | May 25, 2011 10:40:05 AM
I'm tired of these "obama & the queen" stories. OMG he gave her an ipod. OMG he messed up a toast. Next thing you know he'll be curtseying incorrectly! oh the horror... its all so ridiculous.
Posted by: Wes | May 25, 2011 10:52:00 AM
There is a long American tradition of flubbing royal protocol, almost as if by plan. When Prince Albert visited the US (first royal visit to the US) he got off the boat and they took him to a pub! Reportedly he loved his trip here.
Posted by: anon | May 25, 2011 11:12:47 AM
Ah schucks he's so wonderful who cares.
Posted by: Bear | May 25, 2011 11:38:27 AM
@Chadd Technically, the band starting up like that would be the same as telling the President to shut up. Horribly offensive. Etiquette is about making people feel comfortable, by supplying them with rules on how to behave in any situation. The president was obviously uncomfortable. The Queen was likewise uncomfortable.
But, as has been pointed out, things are more relaxed now. The Queen's husband and Obama played doubles ping-pong with poor children earlier in the day, for example. (The kids won, btw)
But I guess my main point was the US MSM has tried to portrait this as a major faux pas by Obama, and they are wrong, wrong, wrong. Obama handled himself with (American) style and grace, deciding HE made the mistake. As the Brits put it, he took the piss. That is, he allowed the String Orchestra of Scots Guard to piss on his leg, and he grinned about it.
Posted by: Go Galt. Please. | May 25, 2011 11:57:27 AM
@Rowan: if you give us Harry w/no strings attached we'll take the rest of the barely educated con artists too.