Buckingham Palace has made a formal request to have a doctored image of Queen Elizabeth II wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat and a QAnon brooch removed from a "Trump Train" bus that was seen at a rally held by Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene in Florida last week.
A Palace spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that they were aware of the fact that the Queen's image was being used, saying "representations asking for [the photo's] removal have been made."
The bus is owned and operated by a Trump supporter named Buddy Hall. According to its GoFundMe page, the Trump Train was created as an "unofficial campaign tour bus to support the 2020 reelection of President Trump."
Despite not being officially affiliated with any political candidate, the bus was a constant fixture at Trump campaign events during the 2020 election cycle. An image posted to the official Trump Train Facebook page shows Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, posing in front of the bus with Hall in July.
The latest iteration of the bus, as seen in Florida last week, boosts an as-yet-unannounced 2024 campaign for Trump. The former president has spent the months since his election loss lying about the results, insisting without evidence that the election had been stolen and raging at any Republicans who don't go along, including Pence. Gaetz and Greene, who led the Florida rally, are both close Trump allies — at the rally, both Republicans declared Trump the reigning leader of their party.
On May 1, Hall wrote that the bus's current display would be removed in two weeks "taking TRAITOR PENCE OFF replacing with DESANTIS, Candace Owens, Don Junior, Laura Trump, General Flynn, Rand Paul and many others."
In an interview with BuzzFeed News Thursday, Hall said that the Queen's image had also been removed from the bus as part of this redesign, which began shortly after the "America First" rally.
But he said that he had not heard from the Palace and that removing the picture had always been part of the plan.
"I'm taking it off anyways," he said.
When BuzzFeed News reached out to the Palace for clarification about to whom these "representations" had been made, a spokesperson said, "We will not be commenting further."
On Monday, HuffPost reported that the website hosting company GoDaddy, whose logo is displayed on the bus, also reached out to Hall ordering its removal.
According to the Trump Train's official Facebook page, the doctored picture of the Queen has been on the bus for more than a year, but it seemingly escaped notice until the bus's appearance at last week's "America First" rally.
A spokesperson for Greene told BuzzFeed News that they were not affiliated with the bus but did not see any problem with the fact that the Queen's image was being used. "You do know what a meme is right? Isn’t that what Buzzfeed is all about?"
"We’re sure Her Majesty has greater concerns than motor vehicle traffic in [the retirement community where the rally was held] The Villages — Florida," Harlan Hill, a spokesperson for Gaetz said.
The original image of the Queen was taken by Getty Images photographer Christopher Furlong on April 1, 2011, in Anglesey, Wales.