President Joe Biden sent First Lady Jill Biden to London to represent the United States on Saturday during King Charles II’s coronation.
An American president has never attended a British coronation. One of the first lady’s grandkids, Finnegan Biden, accompanies her on the trip.
Elizabeth was crowned in June 1953, when Jill Biden was just 2 years old. Queen Elizabeth II ruled the country for seven decades until her passing in September 96.
The first lady is pursuing soft diplomacy while she is in London. She met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty while spending a portion of Friday at No. 10 Downing St., the prime minister’s official house. The women also met with veterans’ families participating in a health and fitness initiative.
Before attending a reception King Charles III is hosting at Buckingham Palace on Friday, the first lady is also visiting with employees at the American embassy in London.
Jill Biden will sit among several hundred heads of state, foreign royals, and other visitors invited to witness Charles and his wife, Camilla, be proclaimed king and queen on Saturday as the United States representative at the coronation at Westminster Abbey. She will next attend a reception that American Ambassador Jane Hartley is hosting.
Before her flight return to Washington, Jill Biden will also socialize at a Sunday luncheon hosted by Sunak and Murty at their Downing Street home.
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Although Mr. Biden has drawn some criticism for skipping the coronation, the White House has supported his choice with precedent. Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, although Dwight Eisenhower, president at the time, was absent.
Since Vice President Biden joined the office, the president and Prince Charles have interacted at international climate conferences and during the queen’s burial last year.
According to the White House, the president expressed interest in seeing the king in the United Kingdom when Mr. Biden called to tell him he was sending the first lady to the coronation in April.
Presidents are frequently replaced by first ladies when they are unable to attend.
“I love seeing the first lady as our representative and I would have been thrilled for any first lady to attend,” said Lindsay Reynolds, who was first lady Melania Trump’s White House chief of staff. “I don’t think it is a slight in any way for the president to not be attending.”
Most of the first women in the modern century, including Jill Biden, interacted with British royals because the late queen had seen all American presidents since Eisenhower except Lyndon Johnson.
The thirteenth and last American president to meet the monarch was Mr. Biden. They crossed paths when he traveled to England in 2021 with his wife to take part in a summit of the Group of Seven international leaders. The queen also invited the Bidens to take tea at Windsor Castle.
After the queen passed away, Jill Biden stated over the phone to The Associated Press that spending time in her living room was similar to spending time with one’s grandmother.
“And she said, ‘Let me pour the tea,’ and we said, ‘No, no, let us help,’ and she said ‘Oh, no, no, no, I’ll get this. You sit down,'” the first lady said. “And it was just a very special moment with a very special woman.”
She first met Kate, the wife of Prince William, during that tour at a preschool in southwest England where they participated in a roundtable discussion on the need for early childhood education for future success. They acquired knowledge of handling pet bunnies as well.
Through their shared work and support of military veterans, the first lady has also had numerous encounters with Prince Harry, William’s brother. She has accompanied Harry to the Invictus Games, a sporting event he started for wounded or ill military veterans.
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