Image source: NY1
On Sunday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to London’s Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.
The Biden’s signed condolences books at Lancaster House when they visited her coffin.
The US President described the Queen as “the same in person as her image–decent, honorable, and all about service.”
After signing the condolence book on Sunday evening, Biden said, “We’ve had an opportunity to meet with an awful lot of consequential people.”
“But I can say that the ones who stand out in your mind are those whose relationship and interaction with you are consistent with their reputation.”
The US President has been known to speak about his losses, and he expressed his condolences to the United Kingdom and the Royal Family.
“It’s a loss that leaves a giant hole, and sometimes you’ll think you’ll never overcome it,” he said.
“But as I’ve told the King, she’s going to be with him every step of the way.”
Biden added that the Queen’s mannerisms brought back memories of his late mother, saying:
“She had that look, like, ‘Are you okay? Is there anything I can do for you? What do you need? Also, ‘Make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.’”
The US President wrote a lengthy message in the condolence book.
Meanwhile, Jill Biden shared that she was overwhelmed by the love and respect she witnessed for the Queen in London.
The Bidens were accompanied by Jane Hartley, the US ambassador to the UK, earlier in their visit to Westminster Hall.
They also attended a reception at Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening for visiting foreign leaders hosted by King Charles III.
“We really talked about the woman, and who she was, and what she meant really to the whole world,” shared Jill Biden.
She had conversations about the Queen with King Charles III and the royal family.
The US President arrived in London on Saturday for a two-day visit to honor the longest-reigning monarch.
He was joined by leaders from dozens of other nations to pay their respect.
The last time Biden met the Queen was in 2021.
They first met in 1982, when Biden was a young senator.
His mother, an Irish-American, instructed him: “Don’t you bow down to her.”
From then up until their meeting last year, he never bowed down, but he shared that he had great respect for the Queen.
“She was a great lady,” he said on the day she died. “We’re so delighted we got to meet her.”
Last year, the Queen’s decision to travel to the Cornish coast to meet world leaders at the G7 summit surprised everyone.
It also showed other leaders of her desire to remain engaged in global affairs.
That week, while hosting Biden and the first lady for tea at Windsor Castle, the Queen asked about two authoritarian leaders: President Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin.
“I loved her sense of curiosity,” Jill Biden said regarding their time alone with the Queen.
“She wanted to know all about American politics, so she asked Joe question after question.”
Biden and the King
During the Sunday evening reception, President Joe Biden saw Charles for the first time since becoming King.
They met previously and spoke over the phone last week.
Before becoming King, Charles was the Prince of Wales and was a passionate campaigner for issues that aligned with Biden’s goals, including combating climate change.
The two are also close in age (Biden at 79 and Charles at 73) and have a shared experience of being in the public eye for decades before becoming the heads of state for their respective countries.
During their call, Biden talked about the American people’s admiration for the Queen and shared that he wished to continue a “close relationship with the King.”
The Queen’s funeral & security
When Biden and other world leaders arrived to remember the late Queen, security in the British capital went up to its highest level in a long time.
White House aides declined to provide security details for the US President’s visit, but shared they are collaborating with their British counterparts to ensure the demands of presidential security are met.
Before the death of the Queen, plans for her funeral were put in place, allowing US advisers insight into what would happen in the coming days for security arrangements.
The White House revealed it received an invitation only for the President and first lady.
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