A former Foreign Office chief has hit out at the PM's 'ill judged' move saying it has exposed the monarch to a furious row about the US president's travel ban on nationals from seven mainly-Muslim countries.
Lord Ricketts, the top mandarin at the department until 2010, said he could not see why Mr Trump was 'specially deserving' of an honour which his predecessors had to wait years for. He suggested the full ceremonial visit should be delayed and a lower-key political trip happen instead.
The intervention comes amid signs that Buckingham Palace is uncomfortable with Downing Street's handling of the situation. Aides are said to have made clear that the Queen was only acting on the recommendation of the PM.
Lord Ricketts, who was permanent secretary at the Foreign Office from 2006-10, said the state visit invite was 'premature' and had put the Queen in a 'difficult' position
More than 1million people have signed a petition demanding President Trump's state visit to the UK is cancelled. Pictured, President Trump with an executive order in the Oval Office
Fears the monarch could be dragged into the furore grew last night as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in London and other major UK cities to express their anger over Mr Trump's executive order.
Senior Tories and Labour MPs have joined forces to urge Mrs May to withdraw the invite - extended when she visited Washington last week for talks with the US commander-in-chief.
But a defiant Mrs May used a press conference in Dublin last night to insist the visit will go ahead this year.