The Queen's Not-So-Subtle Nod to Barack Obama You May Have Missed During Trump's U.K. Visit
Was Her Majesty taking a dig at Donald Trump?
While receiving the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar for an audience at Windsor Castle on Thursday, the day Trump arrived in England, the Queen donned the American State Visit Brooch. The vintage ornament, a small green flower, was a gift from former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama during their state visit in 2011.
The Obamas reportedly hand-picked the personal gift — which featured 14-karat yellow gold, diamonds and moss agate — at Washington D.C.’s Tiny Jewel Box store.
Queen Elizabeth wore the brooch during the Obamas’ visit for a reciprocal dinner at Winfield House in London following the state visit.
Despite reports that Prince Charles and Prince William “refused to attend” Friday’s royal meeting with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump, a palace spokesperson tells PEOPLE that the heirs to the throne were never supposed to take part.
“In line with standard practice for guest of government visits the President was received by The Queen as Head of State. The arrangements were mutually agreed between the Palace and the U.K. and U.S. governments,” the spokesperson says. “There was never a suggestion that other members of the royal family would take part.”
Adds Dickie Arbiter, former spokesman for the Queen and author of On Duty with the Queen, “It was always going to be a short visit and as soon as you have too many people it gets longer. It was a courtesy call – that’s all it was.”
The Trumps were welcomed at the Quadrangle of the castle, where a Guard of Honor gave a royal salute and the U.S. national anthem was played. The Queen and President Trump inspected the Guard of Honor before watching the military march past. The president and first lady then joined the Queen inside the castle for afternoon tea.
But the meeting didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. Tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of London — about 20 miles from Windsor Castle — it what was dubbed “The Stop Trump March.”
Carrying signs that read “Trump Not Welcome” and “Dump Trump,” the crowd made it clear that not everyone in the U.K. supported the country’s diplomacy.
- Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Memorably, Prince George stayed up late to greet the commander-in-chief clad in a bathrobe, matching gingham blue pajamas and slippers before taking a ride a rocking horse – a gift from the Obamas when he was born.
The special evening – which followed lunch Buckingham Palace with the Queen – was arranged by William on behalf of all three royals, and “they were delighted that [the First Couple] were able to accept,” a palace source told PEOPLE.
“The three of them have built up a relationship with the President and First Lady over the years,” added the source.
Harry also hosted Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha – along with grandma Marian Robinson – for tea at Kensington Palace back in June 2015. In October 2015, the Obamas played host to a visiting Prince Harry – where the chemistry between Michelle and the royal was on adorable display.