It is a presidential rite of passage. Queen Elizabeth, 95, has met every US President since World War II except Lyndon Johnson. Biden is the first in two decades, however, to come from what he described as hard roots.
“It’s a long drive from Scranton Joe, the Amtrak commuter, to dinner … with Queen Elizabeth, but they’ll get along wonderfully,” said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “The wonderful thing about Biden is that he’s comfortable with himself in any setting.”
Brinkley said Biden will do whatever he can to follow protocols and good manners. “Protocol is the modus operandi of our current president,” he said.
Biden and the Queen have met at least once before, in 1982, when he was a Democratic senator from Delaware, the state his family moved to when he was 10.
Sunday’s visit – which is expected to include an arrival ceremony with a review of troops and the performance of both countries’ national anthems – comes three days after what would have been the 100th birthday of the Queen’s late husband. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, died two months ago at the age of 99. This will be the Queen’s first face-to-face meeting with a head of state since her death.
But in the UK, the media has focused more on Biden’s Irish Catholic legacy than on the Queen’s lingering grief or the president’s more humble beginnings. There has been speculation that Biden’s faith could have an impact on relations with the Queen given that Brexit, which Biden opposed, could jeopardize the peace process in Northern Ireland.
“It’s more of a foreign policy moment than a class moment; as with so many other things in Biden’s presidency, it might have been different even 20 years ago, but the Irishman has been lessened by the burden of being president in 2021, ”a Biden adviser said. “He will no doubt console her for the loss of Philip, but the real question for the nation of Elizabeth is how to deal with the same kind of forces we face – Brexit in their case, Trumpism in ours. . ”
Biden has experienced grief in his own life, enduring two decades apart. His first wife and granddaughter died in a car crash in 1972, and one of his adult sons, Beau, died in 2015 from brain cancer. He often seeks out those who have suffered losses to console them.
“There will come a day, I promise you, when the thought of your son, or your daughter, or your wife or your husband, will bring a smile to your lips before bringing a tear to your eye”, he says repeatedly when speaking. to those who have lost someone. “It will happen. My prayer for you is that this day comes sooner rather than later.”
On Thursday, the day of what would have been the prince’s birthday, Biden acknowledged the occasion before delivering a speech on the Covid vaccination campaign.
“I want to express our condolences on behalf of Jill and I to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, all of the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom,” he said. “Today would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday, and I know there are a lot of people who feel his absence today.
Two days later, the UK celebrated the Queen’s birthday, a date given by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement. “Queen Elizabeth’s life of leadership and dedication in service is an example to all nations. Under his leadership, the UK has met great challenges and enjoyed long-standing stability. “
Biden has traveled to Europe to attend several meetings – the G-7, NATO and summits with leaders of the European Union and the European Council – in England and Belgium. His last stop will be in Geneva, where he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The visit with the Queen – a rite of passage for American presidents – will be the most solemn of her stops.
“A meeting with the Queen is highly sought after by US Presidents and Joe Biden is no exception,” said Nile Gardiner, former adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who is now director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage conservation foundation.
For Biden, sticking to protocols will be one of the main goals. In 2018, then President Donald Trump, who boasted of the Queen’s fun with him, was criticized for walking in front of her and turning his back on her as they examined a guard in the city. ‘honor.
In 2009, then-first lady Michelle Obama briefly put her arm around the Queen’s back as the two complained about their sore feet at a reception for the G-20 world leaders group. in London.
In 2007, then-President George W. Bush got it wrong, saying that the Queen had helped the United States “celebrate their bicentennial in 17 …” before making up for it, and quickly correcting the date in 1976.
“She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child,” he said at the time.
No such incident occurred when the Bidens saw the Queen on Friday. She made Biden and other world leaders laugh by posing for a group photo, asking, “Are you supposed to sound like you’re having fun?”
“Yes”, replied British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We had fun despite appearances.
The Queen later spoke to the Bidens at a reception at the Eden Project, an eco-park that claims to be home to the world’s largest rainforest in captivity. She was joined by her son, Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and her grandson, Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge.
Earlier today, the First Lady and Duchess of Cambridge visited a school to highlight early childhood development programs. It was the first time they had met.
“Joe and I are both looking forward to meeting the Queen,” Jill Biden told reporters. “It’s an exciting part of the visit for us. We’ve been looking forward to this for weeks and now it’s finally here. It’s a great start.”