Such engagements would normally be for Prince Andrew to undertake but no longer
As the Queen hosted world leaders to mark 70 years of Nato cooperation and collective spirit, her Buckingham Palace reception was counterpointed by political discord and protest.
Outside, hundreds of anti-Donald Trump and anti-Nato demonstrators blocked roads in central London. Inside, the Duke of York was absent from the guest list, having quit public life in the wake of his car-crash Newsnight interview addressing Virginia Giuffres allegations.
As a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot, who was appointed vice-admiral on his 55th birthday, Nato engagements would normally be his gig. But not for the foreseeable future. However, the prince has categorically and consistently denied Giuffres claims.
Donald Trump arrived after having tea with Prince Charles. Rush-hour traffic had meant the president and first lady, Melania Trump, arrived for their Clarence House tea with Charles and Camilla 40 minutes later than expected.
The US president had earlier displayed uncharacteristic restraint when declining to comment on the scandal surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, a guest at his Mar-a-Lago resort. I dont know Prince Andrew, but thats a tough story, its a very tough story, he said when asked at a breakfast press conference.
The president had obviously forgotten the Palm Beach party in 2000 he had attended, along with the royal and the now disgraced financier, as shown in a photograph taken at the Florida bash. Multiple photographs also show him with the prince during last years state visit.
Invitees to the reception included the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, whose advance stated mission was to directly confront the president over the NHS. He had written to Trump on Tuesday morning, voicing opposition to the idea that Americas big pharma would muscle its way into Britains health service in any UK-US post-Brexit trade deal.
Trump was unlikely to be well disposed. Earlier he had insisted the US wouldnt touch the NHS if you gave it to us on a silver platter. He is also no fan of Corbyn, having previously opined it would be so bad for Britain if Corbyn were to become prime minister.
The Queen was joined by 29 leaders of Nato countries for a group photograph, including the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.