President Donald Trump wants to ride in the Queen Elizabeth II’s gold-plated royal carriage when he visits London in autumn — an insistence that has thrown British security forces into a tizzy.
The carriage “would not be able to put up much resistance in the face of a rocket propelled grenade or high-powered ammunition,” one security source told the Times of London, noting that tens of thousands of people are expected to protest Trump’s visit.
“Armour-piercing rounds would make a very bad show of things,” the source added.
Still, the White House regards the carriage procession to Buckingham Palace as an essential bit of pomp for his state visit to the U.K., currently planned for the second week of October, The Times reported Saturday.
Other world leaders have been treated to the traditional Horse Guards welcoming parade — in which the Queen’s ornate carriage is drawn down The Mall to Buckingham Palace by six white horses, each with its own top hat-wearing rider.
President Obama spared his hosts the trouble in 2011, instead speeding to the palace in a bullet and bomb-proof car.
But China’s Xi Jinping opted for the buggy ride in 2015 — though he chose to ride in an armor-plated closed carriage, rather than the Queen’s open and gold-plated version.
That same year, Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto also took the Queen’s gilded carriage for a spin.
Now, sources are warning The Times that even without the carriage ride the security demands for Trump’s visit will dwarf those needed by other recent state visits.
“The vehicle which carries the president of the United States [during any state visit] is a spectacular vehicle,” the source told the newspaper.
“It is designed to withstand a massive attack like a low-level rocket grenade. If he’s in that vehicle he is incredibly well protected and on top of that it can travel at enormous speed.
“If he is in a golden coach being dragged up the Mall by a couple of horses, the risk factor is dramatically increased.
“There may well be protections in that coach such as bulletproof glass, but they are limited. In particularly it is very flimsy.”
More than 1.8 million Britons signed a petition demanding that the state visit be abandoned altogether because it will “cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”
Trump demands a carriage ride with the Queen during his UK visit – MarketWatch