Prime Minister Theresa May has put the Queen in a "very difficult position" and should delay a state visit extended to President Donald Trump to protect her from controversy, the former head of the Foreign Office has said.
In a letter to The Times on Tuesday, Ricketts argued it was unprecedented for a US president to receive such an invitation in their first year in office and said the "state visit" should be downgraded to a lower level "official visit"
"It would have been far wiser to wait and see what sort of president he would turn out to be before advising the queen to invite him," Ricketts said, urging the PM to "move fast" to protect the Queen from further controversy.
Trump's executive order temporarily banning Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries has sparked protests across the UK, with protesters gathering everywhere from London to Scottish capital Edinburgh, according to Breitbart.
Shortly before the President signed the order, May said during a joint appearance with Trump that he would be coming for a state visit at an unspecified date. According to ABC News, while the British PM invites heads of state on the queen's behalf, it is the queen who acts as hostess. Such visits usually include elaborate events and a stay of several days at the queen's official residence, Buckingham Palace. Buckingham Palace officials said the queen would not comment on plans for Trump's visit, as it is"months away" and that a date has not been chosen.
So far, more than 1.7 million people have signed a petition asking the UK to withdraw the president's invitation to a state visit to Britain: "Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen," reads the petition.
According to The Guardian, Prince Charles, who has spoken out about religious intolerance in the past, has said he is willing to meet Trump to discuss interfaith relations if the state visit by the President went ahead, saying: "It is not his style to turn his back."
"The prince has gone into the Middle East over recent years at the government's request and has been the honest and neutral broker," a source told the outlet. "He has listened, reported back and convened. If that is required now with President Trump, the only people who can decide is the government.
"For this country, it would be helpful for [Trump] to sit down with the Prince of Wales."