Queen Elizabeth II reportedly contradicting London Mayor Sadiq Khan by “refusing to retract” an invitation to President Donald Trump to visit the United Kingdom is misleading. The UK Prime Minister invited Trump to visit the country; however, Queen Elizabeth did not intervene to cancel that invitation. Rather, the Queen does not intervene in political disputes.
Where did this misleading information originate? The Patriot Beacon reported on June 7, 2017, that Queen Elizabeth had publicly contradicted Khan by “refusing” to retract an offer of an official state visit to Trump after Khan had suggested calling it off. You can read text from that false story below.
After the terrorist attack in the United Kingdom over the weekend, London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan called for Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to his city to be cancelled based on what he said was the American president’s “alarmist” reaction to the attack. Days later, however, Queen Elizabeth shut Khan down in a big way.
Breitbart reported that the Queen refused to retract her invitation for Trump to meet with her at Buckingham Palace, ruining Khan’s plans to stop Trump from traveling to London.
“[The president] appreciates Her Majesty’s gracious invitation,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said when asked if Trump would still meet with the Queen.
This sends a huge message to Khan, as it shows that the Queen has no intention of submitting to him and the agenda he is inflicting the city of London.
A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace confirmed to Snopes that a formal invitation to visit the UK had not been extended to Trump by Britain’s royal family. It would seem that Press Secretary Sean Spicer apparently was mistaken in referring to “Her Majesty’s gracious invitation.”
However, Queen Elizabeth has not refused to retract her invitation. Rather, the Queen never formally extended one to Trump. Nor has she made a public statement on the matter, either before or after Khan called for Trump’s official visit to be cancelled. The Queen never intervenes in political disputes.
In January 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May extended an invitation to Trump to visit, but it is unclear whether this will be a state visit or official visit. In the UK, a state visit is one where Queen Elizabeth formally hosts a foreign dignitary. An official visit means the foreign dignitary is invited to visit the country, but is not formally hosted by the Queen.
In a Channel 4 News interview, Khan was asked if he thought Trump’s state visit should be called off:
Well, my position remains the same – I don’t think we should be rolling out the red carpet to the President of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for.
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) June 6, 2017
In addition, there are a couple of other inaccuracies in the Patriot Beacon article. For example, it cites the conservative web site Breitbart as reporting “that the Queen refused to retract her invitation for Trump to meet with her at Buckingham Palace.” In that June 6, 2017 article it does not say that but rather quotes Spicer’s response to a question on Khan’s call for a cancellation:
Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked at the daily White House press briefing on Tuesday about London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s saying that President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK should be cancelled after the president criticized the mayor’s remarks about the terror threat there.
Khan said there was “no reason to be alarmed” by an increased police presence in London following yet another terror attack on Saturday on the London Bridge.
“[The president] appreciates Her Majesty’s gracious invitation,” Spicer responded, referring to the invitation extended to Trump by Queen Elizabeth.
The Breitbart article also does not describe Queen Elizabeth as refusing to retract her invitation or taking any action. However, the Patriot Beacon article claims that Khan had called for Trump’s visit to be cancelled on the basis of Trump’s “alarmist” response to the London Bridge attack. Khan never described Trump’s response as alarmist, but said instead that his call for the visit to be cancelled was because Trump’s policies “go against everything we stand for”.