2 Bidens Arrive in UK for Coronation, Neither Named Joe

Jill Biden, granddaughter Finnegan meet with Akshata Murty ahead of Saturday's event
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2023 1:23 PM CDT
2 Bidens Arrive in UK for Coronation, Neither Named Joe
Akshata Murty, wife of the British prime minister, greets Finnegan Biden and first lady Jill Biden on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, May 5, 2023.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

No US president has ever attended a British coronation, and that will remain the case this weekend as Joe Biden sends his wife to the coronation of King Charles III in his place. While former President Donald Trump says it's a "very disrespectful" move and suggested the president wasn't "physically" up to the trip in an interview with GB News, Biden's decision is keeping with tradition, per the Hill. It notes that President Eisenhower sent a delegation to Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953. Jill Biden has already gotten down to "a bit of soft diplomacy," per the AP. She headed to No. 10 Downing St. for her first meeting with Akshata Murty, the wife of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on Friday.

"Welcome, welcome!" Murty said in greeting Biden, before turning to shake hands with her grandaughter Finnegan Biden, who is also to attend the coronation. The women later met with military veterans participating in a health and wellness program, as well as primary school students wearing paper crowns, per the AP. Jill Biden is to visit staff at the US Embassy before attending the king's reception at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening. She'll join hundreds of heads of state in attending Saturday's coronation at Westminster Abbey, followed by a reception hosted by US Ambassador Jane Hartley. She's to return to Downing Street for a luncheon on Sunday before flying back to Washington.

"It's an honor to represent the United States for this historic moment and celebrate the special relationship between our countries," Jill Biden tweeted before her flight on Thursday. President Biden has received criticism for skipping the coronation, and not just from his predecessor. However, Lindsay Reynolds, who was first lady Melania Trump's White House chief of staff, tells the AP she doesn't "think it is a slight in any way." Jill Biden previously met Queen Elizabeth II during a 2021 visit to England. The queen invited the Bidens to have tea with her at Windsor Castle, which Biden later remarked felt like being with one's own grandmother. (More King Charles III coronation stories.)

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